There were no good spots for investors to hide in this week’s global equities rout, as cryptocurrencies joined the selloff with a jaw-dropping $18 billion price plunge over three days.
The total market capitalization for cryptocurrencies was $201 billion on Friday, down from $219 billion on Tuesday, CNBC reported, citing CoinMarketCap.com.
Bitcoin, the largest digital currency, fell almost 7 percent Thursday to the lowest since mid-August, before paring its loss to 5 percent to end the week near $6,200. Rival coins Ether, XRP and Litecoin retreated 11 percent to 13 percent.
The biggest stock sell-off since February rolled from the U.S. through Asia Thursday, with most benchmarks across the region tumbling at least 3.5 percent. Concern about the impact of the U.S.-China trade war, 10-year Treasury yields touching a 2011 high and the Federal Reserve’s monetary tightening are all contributing to market nervousness.
“The global sell-off in equities has indeed spilled over to the crypto space,” Ryan Rabaglia, head of trading with cryptocurrency dealing firm OSL in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg.
“The days of crypto being the safe-haven play and having a high degree of detachment from the rest of the world are seemingly diminishing,” he said.
Increased institutional attention on the cryptocurrency space has led to greater correlation with traditional assets, although this trend is not expected to last, he said.
The recent selloff began after reports that cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex was going to suspend all deposits from fiat currencies, CNBC reported, citing Brian Kelly, founder and CEO of BKCM.
Cryptocurrencies have given up more than $600 billion in value from a January peak as the boom in initial coin offerings last year fades further into memory. Mainstream adoption of digital currencies has failed to materialize this year amid a series of exchange hacks and increased regulatory scrutiny.
“It is clear by now that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies represent the mother of all bubbles,” Nouriel Roubini, chairman at Roubini Macro Associates and a professor at NYU Stern School of Business, said in prepared testimony for a U.S. Senate Banking Committee hearing on cryptocurrencies and blockchain scheduled Thursday in Washington. “No asset class in human history has ever experienced such a rapid boom and total utter bust and implosion.”
In a scathing testimony, Roubini argued the blockchain technology that underpins Bitcoin and other cryptos is “the most over-hyped and least useful technology in human history” and “nothing better than a glorified spreadsheet or database.”
Coinbase Inc., one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, took an even bigger hit than the broader market, according to data collected Tribe Capital. The fintech-focused venture firm said it found the number of monthly U.S. customers buying and selling on the platform in September declined about 80 percent from December, when the price of Bitcoin reached its all-time high of nearly $20,000.
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