Support forums for suicide prevention are being shared on cryptocurrency forums amid concerns for the mental health of bitcoin investors after a major market downturn.
The price of bitcoin dropped to around $6,000 on Tuesday, down from above $8,000 at the beginning of August. At its peak in December 2017, bitcoin was trading at close to $20,000, after shooting up by around 1,900 per cent in value in 2017.
Such dramatic gains saw interest in bitcoin spike as new investors rushed to buy cryptocurrency in the hope of making a quick profit. In early January, however, the price of bitcoin collapsed to around half its value in a matter of weeks.
It has since continued to slide, in what has been the cryptocurrency's worst ever start to a year since its 2009 inception. Previous price crashes have led to reports of people taking their life in relation to cryptocurrency, prompting people to share links and phone numbers to support services.
The latest crash takes bitcoin back to the same prices it was trading at in November 2017, however investors in other cryptocurrencies have been hardest hit. In the last 24 hours, ethereum and bitcoin cash plummeted by almost 20 per cent, amid speculation of a mass sell-off.
The price falls sparked fresh concern for people who may have lost significant sums of money. One post to the popular r/cryptocurrency forum on Reddit shared helpline numbers and website links for the US Suicide Hotline and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
"If you feel you might be suicidal, and live in the United States, I urge you to call the Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255 or navigate to Suicide Prevention Lifeline for a live chat and additional resources.
Some cryptocurrency analysts have also warned that the market collapse may not yet be over.
"Looking ahead, I don't think we're at the end of the cycle just yet, and I can see bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies continuing to fall before a meaningful return back up," said Clement Thibault, a senior analys at that investment platform Investing.com.
However, others believe that the technology underpinning bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies mean there is a a good chance the markets could recover.
"While market swings of this nature are certainly not uncommon, they are often extremely discouraging for investors that have not weathered the storm of crypto volatility before," said Sheffield Clark, CEO of bitcoin ATM operator Coinsource.
"An enormous amount of new money entered the market late last year as the industry was booming, and those new investors are likely hurting right now. As any believer in this technology will tell you, however, bitcoin isn’t going away."
For US readers, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 1-800-273-8255 and the Crisis Text Line is 741741. If you have been affected by this article in the UK, you can contact the following organisations for support:
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