Bitcoin fell sharply over the Thanksgiving weekend, dragging the wider cryptocurrency market down with it, including ripple (XRP) and ethereum’s ether, as last week’s huge sell-0ff surged back, destroying hopes the bitcoin market had found a floor.
The bitcoin price dropped to a low of $3,604 according to CoinDesk’s bitcoin price tracker, before rebounding back over the psychological $4,000 mark. The bitcoin price is currently hovering around $4,000 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange, as the volatility seen throughout November continues to cause chaos for traders, investors, and exchanges.
The bitcoin price is now off some 80% from highs of almost $20,000 late last year, while other major cryptocurrencies ripple (XRP) and ethereum are down by similar amounts. Bitcoin has lost some 40% of its value in just two weeks of November, the worst bitcoin price drop since April 2013.
The bitcoin price falls over the weekend do not appear to be linked to any particular fresh news but a continuation of the sell-off sparked earlier this month by the fork of the bitcoin cash cryptocurrency that ignited a civil war between the bitcoin rival’s two factions.
Low trading volumes over the holiday weekend, however, mean the market is more vulnerable to so-called “whales” moving large amounts of bitcoin, ripple (XRP), or ethereum. When a major coin holder sells it can trigger automatic computer controlled sell orders leading to sudden sell-offs.
Bitcoin’s 24-hour trading volume fell under $4 billion for the first time on Saturday evening, the first time trading volumes fell under $4 billion since November last year.
Ripple, the common name for the XRP digital token, has held up better than most over November’s sell-off, boosted by deals it continues to ink with the traditional financial services industry to provider cheap and speedy cross-border transactions.
Ripple (XRP) recorded significant falls over the weekend, though has led the rally this morning, popping 10% higher.
Despite many bitcoin faithful arguing bitcoin is merely on discount for Cyber Monday today ahead of a so-called Santa rally (which traditionally sees stocks around the world move high in the run-up to Christmas), others are losing faith in the future of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as this year’s $700 billion rout tightens its grip.
Some think the latest bitcoin price plunge will be short-lived and can be remedied with increased institutional involvement and regulatory oversight of the cryptocurrency space.
“Bitcoin’s latest plunge is evidence of the need for greater regulatory oversight to give a boost to investor confidence,” said Herbert Sim, the chief commercial officer at Cryptology, a cryptocurrency exchange based in Singapore. “There is already a huge amount of capital tied up in cryptocurrencies, in excess of $100 billion, so why allow it to continue being a rogue market?
“In order for the space to move forward and investor confidence to settle, regulators need to put standards in place to separate the weeds from the roses in the cryptocurrency world. Having oversight of the cryptocurrency Wild West will legitimize, and subsequently stabilize the industry, which will allow it to reach the next step of maturity.”
“There’s still a lot of people in this game,” Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia Pacific at Oanda, told Bloomberg last week. “If we start to see a run down toward $3,000, this thing is going to be a monster. People will be running for the exits.”
Sonny Singh, the chief operating officer of U.S. cryptocurrency payments processor BitPay, thinks Fidelity, which last month announced it’s launching off a stand-alone company dedicated to bringing cryptocurrencies to institutional investors, and Bakkt, an ICE-backed cryptocurrency platform scheduled to go live in January, will push enough institutional money into the crypto market to trigger a bull run in 2019.
“Around the world, you’re seeing adoption of bitcoin and cryptocurrency products. There are different use cases all over the world,” Singh told the newswire. “If these traditional incumbents launch their products as expected you’d see a price of maybe around $15,000 to $20,000 [per bitcoin] by the end of next year, but that depends when these products are launched because nothing moves fast in fintech.”