CRYPTO WINTER

Bitcoin’s brutal bear market isn’t yet its worst crash in history

Obsession
Future of Finance
Obsession
Future of Finance

Bitcoin has fallen about 70% from its peak at the end of last year, a plunge that would give most traders a nosebleed (and a headache, nausea, and perhaps other symptoms). Still, the drop isn’t quite as deep as the last time the cryptocurrency took an extended tumble, when it lost some 85% of its value between December 2013 and January 2015, according to CoinDesk data.

Bitcoin fell to $5,845 today, its lowest level against the dollar since October, and down from the December record high of more than $19,000. The digital token has drifted lower as bad news piles up. Regulators in the US and Japan are increasing their scrutiny on trading venues on concerns over money laundering and market manipulation (paywall). Academics have also suggested that manipulation may have contributed to bitcoin’s monster rally in 2017.

While the latest price decline isn’t yet as severe as it was during bitcoin’s first bear market, the destruction of market value has been much larger than the last bust, given how much more money is invested in bitcoin now. By the end of the 2013-15 bear market, bitcoin’s market cap had fallen by more than $10 billion from peak to trough, according to Coinmarketcap.com. This time around, more than $200 billion in market value has gone up in smoke.

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