- Bitcoin hits its lowest level since November as investor interest sours on the world’s largest cryptocurrency.
- The digital currency dropped as low as $5,799.62 Friday, bringing losses to almost 60 percent this year.
- “There’s no real spark in the market right now to get it moving, it’s just more sellers than buyers,” says Matthew Newton, analyst at eToro.
Bitcoin prices dropped to a low not seen since November as investor sentiment fails to rebound after hacks in recent weeks and crackdowns from global regulators.
The world’s first and largest cryptocurrency skidded as low as of $5,799.62 as of 8:30 a.m. ET Friday, its lowest level since mid-November, according to data from CoinDesk. The digital currency is down 57 percent in 2018 after climbing more than 1,100 percent last year.
While no single headline seemed to trigger a price drop Friday, bitcoin began sliding last week after Japan’s financial regulator ordered several cryptocurrency exchanges to improve their practices against money laundering.
Security breaches have also weighed on prices. In the past two weeks, South Korean exchanges Coinrail and Bithumb have both announced major cryptocurrency hacks.
Brian Kelly, CEO of BKCM, said Friday’s wild trading was partly exacerbated by CME futures contracts expiring. But sentiment has also been sour.
“The market is not reacting to any positive news, but the news flow has been quite positive,” Kelly said.
Among recent positive headlines Kelly mentioned was the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s recent clarification that it does not classify ethereum as a security.
Matthew Newton, analyst at eToro, said it’s not uncommon for bitcoin prices to dip around the futures settlement date. Otherwise, he pointed to a lack of excitement and volume in cryptocurrency markets.
“There’s no real spark in the market right now to get it moving, it’s just more sellers than buyers,” Newton said. “It needs something to get markets back to life, like some development on the technology or regulatory side.”
Other top cryptocurrencies have struggled this week. Ethereum is down about 13 percent for the week, while XRP dropped 14 percent. Litecoin fell 14 percent this week, and bitcoin cash is down 16 percent.
The total cryptocurrency market capitalization has dropped by 61 percent this year, according to CoinMarketCap.com.