After a subdued start to Thursday, cryptocurrency prices came under selling pressure, with market participants speculating about large blocks of cryptos being offloaded, driving bitcoin’s value lower.
Bitcoin, the world’s No.1 digital currency, had traded in a tight $200 range Thursday before giving up $220, or 2.3% within 20 minutes.
The price of a single bitcoin
was last trading at $9,137.30, down 1.3% since Wednesday’s levels at 5 p.m. Eastern Time on the Kraken exchange. Despite the Thursday mid-afternoon decline, bitcoin remains above $9,000—a level that market technicians view as a point of support, with additional buyers tending to emerge as it nears a breach at that line.
“Very quiet. The bulls will say it’s an accumulation phase. The bears will say it’s the markets turning cautious based, at least in part, on Buffett, et all,” wrote Jeff Koyen, President of 360 Blockchain USA in an email to MarketWatch. Koyen added that he’s inclined to think the former.
What’s behind the move?
The speed of the early afternoon decline could represent a single large seller, or whale, with one possible culprit: the Mt. Gox trustee. A website that tracks the wallet of the trust of the now-defunct bitcoin exchange shows a further 8,000 bitcoins and 8,000 Bitcoin Cash have been shifted to cold storage; often a sign that a transaction is pending.
Another market analyst noted, that despite the sharp decline there are a number of support levels between $8,500 and $9,000, which is likely to limit the extent of the selloff, adding that the decline is likely some short-term stop-loss transactions.
Asia is the crypto-hub
Almost completely unknown a few years ago, cryptocurrencies have exploded into the spotlight, led in part by the surge in the value of bitcoin, which rose more than 1,000% in 2017.
A survey by Dalia Research, a Berlin-based tech startup, showed that Asia remains the most popular continent for cryptocurrency owners.
Surveying nearly 30,000 people across eight countries, 49% of respondents said they have some knowledgeable of cryptocurrencies. Of the countries polled, Japan, 61%, and South Korea, 60, topped the list with the U.S. ranked fifth with 47%.
Additionally, Japan topped the list for cryptocurrency ownership.
“Unsurprisingly, Japan has the highest degree of adoption and is the only country to score in the double digits for ownership, at 11%. This is in line with the general consensus in the cryptocurrency space, where Japan is believed to be leading the world,” wrote Rytis Jakubauskas of Dalia Research.
Altcoins and futures showing marginal gains
Altcoins and futures followed bitcoin spot lower late Thursday. Ether
the second largest currency by market cap fell 0.8%, trading at $736.21, Bitcoin Cash
is down 4.4% at $1,563.00, Litecoin
is off 3.4% at $152.01 and Ripple’s XRP
is down 2.8% at 77 cents.
The Cboe Global Markets Inc.’s May contract
closed down 2.2% at $9,095 and the CME Group Inc. May contract
lost 2.1%, settling at $9,090.