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- Bitcoin down 5% on Friday to a one month low.
- Analysts say the dip is caused by fears of regulation, rumours of an exchange hack, and news of a big seller in the market.
LONDON – Bitcoin is slumping on Friday, down by 5% in early morning trade to trade at a one month low.
Analysts say that the slump is being caused by a string of bad headlines for the sector this week that have dented investor sentiment.
“Our take on this is that the new investors in the space don’t have enough time to analyse what’s happening,” analysts for the London Block Exchange write in its daily market report on Friday.
“The amount of fake or misleading information reported over the past few days, as discussed in yesterday’s report, made the ‘regulation meets Mt. Gox dump and Binance pump’ narrative far too scary. So much so, in fact, that even the more dedicated (but less sophisticated) traders believe it.”
Charles Hayter, the CEO of CryptoCompare, told BI: “It’s the usual – fears on regulation in the US after ICO subpoenas and exchanges coming under fire, as well as the Binance issues. These are purely behavioural markets and there are huge switches between strong bullish sentiment and fear and panic.”
Here are the three main fears driving down the price:
Regulators around the world have been ramping up supervision of the cryptocurrency space this week, with Japanese regulators suspending two cryptocurrency exchanges and the US Securities and Exchange Commission telling crypto exchanges they must register with it. The SEC earlier this month issued a wave of subpoenas to crypto companies.
Ken Odeluga, a market analyst with City Index, told BI: “The SEC’s sabre rattling continues. At some point, it will mandate criteria that designates some providers as exchanges, and no doubt the regulatory impact will be disruptive.
“Some of the current price gyrations are anticipating how much of a hit to value the SEC could cause by bringing all providers under it’s legal purview, something which looks pretty inevitable, though when is less clear.”
Jameel Ahmad, Global Head of Currency and Market Research at FXTM, told BI: “It appears that authorities are continuing to closely monitor Bitcoin, and signs of further concerns over regulation do have the potential to keep sending the value of Bitcoin lower.”
Mt Gox’s bitcoin being sold
At the same time, market confidence has been shaken by news that the trustees of bankrupt former exchange Mt Gox are liquidating its bitcoin holdings. $400 million-worth has been sold since last September and some market participants have blamed the sales for causing a price crash at the start of the year.
FxPro’s analyst team said is “under pressure” after “the revelation that Nobuaki Kobayashi, the Mt Gox. Trustee, sold off $400 million of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash in the last few months. What’s most alarming is that he still has at his disposal $1.7 billion worth of Bitcoins.”
Finally, Hong Kong exchange Binance was hit by rumours of a major hack earlier this week. It’s CEO publically denied the reports on Twitter, saying user withdrawals were paused only for upgrade work, but the incident has still spooked market participants.
City Index’s Odelgua said: “The latest drop in confidence coincides with murky information around the Binance exchange, which to be fair, said it had reversed some irregular trades, with no losses to investors.
“That is probably correct, though it is natural to see nerves and perhaps some scepticism given that the news closely follows sanctions yesterday by Japan’s Financial Services Agency on seven cruptocurrency exchanges, including two being forced to suspend trading.”
Lower to go?
London Block Exchange’s analysts add: “On the other hand, more people may just be losing trust – or finally realising their losses for cash – as the good old ‘hodl’ becomes less appealing for professional investors.”
HODL stands for “hold on for dear life” and has become a mantra to many longterm bitcoin investors who believe they should hold the cryptocurrency and ride out any price dips.
Cryptocurrency markets have increasingly been attracting more traditional investors, lured by the volatility and potential returns in the sector. These investors are likely to have more active trading strategies that are less likely to simply provide price support.
FxPro’s team said on Friday morning: “The sheer number of sellers on the crypto market is particularly notable. Yesterday we observed an increase in volume amid falling prices, which might be a sign of increased interest in selling, that often precedes further decline.”