Bitcoin sinks, approaches USD30K

LONDON (AFP) – The price of bitcoin fell sharply on Tuesday, approaching a symbolic USD30,000 threshold it has not crossed since January and dragging other cryptocurrencies in its wake.

At around 15.45 GMT, bitcoin fell 8.6 per cent to a value of USD31,501, a level not seen since mid-May, when the volatile cryptocurrency temporarily lost 30 per cent in one session.

The second-largest cryptocurrency, ethereum, lost 11.2 per cent of its value, falling to USD2,361.

“Numbers that should be staggering for a single day’s performance are no longer a shock to those of us invested in the crypto universe,” analyst at Hugh Shields said, calling the market an “anomaly”.

No concrete reason appeared to explain the price drop on Tuesday, but some analysts pointed to the seizure of USD2.3 million worth of bitcoin belonging to the Darkside hackers by United States (US) authorities as a possible factor.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez speaks on stage during the crypto-currency conference Bitcoin 2021 Convention at the Mana Convention Center in Miami, Florida. PHOTO: AFP

Former US president Donald Trump also called bitcoin a “scam” that was “competing with the dollar” during an appearance on Fox Business television.

“Moves by governments around the world to regulate the crypto space… are causing waves of concern,” analysts at Hargreaves Lansdown said.

Since the end of 2020, the price of bitcoin had been boosted by the interest of professional investors, from investment funds to large Wall Street banks. The electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla has also invested some of its cash in it.

Between the beginning of last year and a peak in mid-April of USD64,870, the price of bitcoin gained nearly 800 per cent. But since then, the cryptocurrency has fallen in value by more than 50 per cent.