The price of bitcoin has plummeted $15,000 from its recent all-time high, falling below $50,000 for the first time since March.
The cryptocurrency reached as low as $48,500 on Friday morning but has since recovered slightly. It is currently trading at just over $49,000.
The price crash comes amid a record-breaking run for bitcoin, which has seen it rise from below $5,000 in March 2020 to a series of new peaks throughout 2021. The latest all-time high of $64,486 was hit on 14 April.
Other major cryptocurrencies have also experienced significant losses in recent days, with more than half a trillion dollars wiped from the market according to CoinMarketCap.
Ethereum (ether) managed to buck market trends by hitting a new record high on Thursday, however it has since fallen by more than 10 per cent in value.
The scale of bitcoin’s latest dip, which is the largest in monetary terms but not percentage, has led to comparisons with the great crypto market crash of late 2017 and early 2018, though some analysts claim it is not the same.
“Any comparison with the crypto winter of 2018 belies the amazing growth of the digital token ecosystem,” Paolo Ardoino, chief technology officer of cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex, told The Independent.
“The quantum technological leap that has taken place – both in terms of market structure and the advances in different protocols – may make today qualitatively different. Time will tell.”
Bitcoin still remains way up from this time last year, and even the start of 2021. On 1 January, the cryptocurrency was trading below $30,000 and took until mid February to break above $50,000 for the first time.
Its price has been strengthened by a massive increase in institutional investment, as well as renewed interest from retail investors.
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