Bitcoin tumbled below $8,500 as a miserable 2018 continued for cryptocurrencies, with investors confronting a mounting list of concerns about the future of the industry.
The largest digital currency dropped about 10 percent to $8,145 at 11:02 a.m. in London, the lowest since Nov. 21, according to consolidated Bloomberg pricing. Rival coins Ripple, Ether and Litecoin tumbled at least 16 percent as losses continued to spread across cryptocurrencies.
Since reaching a record high of $19,511 on Dec. 18 shortly after the introduction of regulated futures contracts in the U.S., Bitcoin has wiped out more than half its value amid waves of negative news. Setbacks included escalating regulatory threats from authorities around the world including India, South Korea, China and the U.S., a record $500 million heist at Japanese exchange Coincheck Inc., fears of price manipulation and Facebook’s ban on cryptocurrency ads.
“Bitcoin is in trouble,” Lukman Otunuga, a research analyst at foreign exchange broker Forextime Ltd, wrote in a note Friday. “Price action suggests that bears are clearly in control, with further losses on the cards as jitters over regulation erode investor appetite further.”
Japanese authorities raided Coincheck’s offices Friday morning, a week after the robbery, hauling out documents and computers as evidence. The inspection was conducted to ensure security for users, Finance Minister Taro Aso said.