No obvious reason for the slide, but analysts pointed to the seizure of $2.3 million worth of cryptocurrency ransom paid to Darkside hackers
The price of bitcoin fell sharply on Tuesday, approaching a symbolic $30,000 threshold it has not crossed since January and dragging other cryptocurrencies in its wake.
The world’s biggest crypto fell as much as 8.6% to $31,501, a level not seen since mid-May. It recovered somewhat in late-morning Asia trading on Wednesday to be $32,986.70, down just 0.8% in the previous 24 hours, according to Coindesk.
The second-largest cryptocurrency, ethereum, lost 11.2% of its value, falling to $2,361. It also recovered on Wednesday, trading at $2.470 around 11am Hong Kong time, according to Coindesk.
“Numbers that should be staggering for a single day’s performance are no longer a shock to those of us invested in the crypto universe,” Hugh Shields, an analyst at SpreadEx.com said.
There was no obvious reason for the slide, but some analysts pointed to the seizure of $2.3 million worth of bitcoin belonging to the Darkside hackers by US authorities as a possible factor.
“Bitcoin and most cryptocurrencies are suffering a new bout of weakness,” Steen Jakobsen, Saxo Bank’s chief investment officer, said.
“One prominent story hitting the crypto market is that US authorities have succeeded in recovering most of the bitcoin used to pay for the ransomware attack on a major US gasoline pipeline,” Jakobsen added.
Former US president Donald Trump also called bitcoin a “scam” that was “competing with the dollar” during an appearance on Fox Business television.
“Moves by governments around the world to regulate the crypto space… are causing waves of concern,” analysts at Hargreaves Lansdown said.
US traders locked in $4.1 billion in profits trading bitcoin last year, according to estimates from Chainalysis.