Bitcoin and cryptocurrency markets continue to be hammered in trading, amid fears that a regulatory clampdown will burst the bubble.
Indeed, by late afternoon in London Bitcoin was down 10%, having recovered somewhat back above US$12,000. Nonetheless, the leading cryptocurrency has still lost almost 40% of its market value since the dizzy heights seen in December.
Perhaps more acutely, investors have seen close to US$4,000 come off the price of a Bitcoin over recent days.
At the same time, Ripple - the ‘establishment’s cryptocurrency’ - has given back about 60% of its market value over a two week period. At US$1.41 per unit, Ripple’s XRP token was down some 23% on Tuesday Morning.
Ethereum, meanwhile, was almost 12% lower, changing hands just above US$1,136.
Neil Wilson, analyst at ETX Capital, explains that the “regulatory noose” appears to be tightening around the neck of the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency market, and technical analysis of the price charts don’t bode particularly well for speculators.
“Explaining moves in bitcoin is always tricky but this plunge back to the December 22nd low may well be a result of recent signs that regulatory pressures are building,” Wilson said in a note.
“With bitcoin breaching $12,000, the next real technical support is around $10,000, where it traded in late November and early December before lifting off to $19k.
“But at send time bitcoin had bounced off support to pare losses and trade just shy of $12,200 in what is looking like a particularly volatile session, even for this asset.”
Wilson added that the regulatory crunch is coming “sooner rather than later”.
“China is said to be targeting websites and mobile apps that offer exchange-like services, in a bid to block access to platforms that deliver centralised trading on cryptocurrencies.
“In addition to developments in China, South Korean Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon reiterated on Tuesday that the government is actively considering an outright ban on crypto trading.
“Meanwhile there may be growing consensus among European regulators to act in concert. We note that the Bundesbank has called for a global regulation for Bitcoin, while France’s finance minister is seeking to draft tougher rules for cryptocurrencies.”