Bitcoin price in free fall as cryptocurrency plunges past seven-month low

What is Bitcoin and why is its price so high?

The price of bitcoin has hit a seven-month low, dropping by $400 over the last few hours to below $6,500.

Bitcoin's price crash follows a hack on a cryptocurrency exchange earlier this week that resulted in a mass sell-off and also coincides with new research that suggests the value of bitcoin was artificially inflated in 2017.

The 2018 low comes after steadily decreasing prices since the world's most valuable cryptocurrency hit a high close to $20,000 in late 2017.

The sharp drop in bitcoin prices has been reflected across the cryptocurrency markets, with all of the top 10 most-valuable digital currencies falling between 7 per cent and 13 per cent over the last 24 hours, according to CoinMarketCap.

One of the hardest is ethereum, which fell below $500 for the first time since April.

Bitcoin's price reached close to $20,000 in late 2017, resulting in a surge of interest in the cryptocurrency

Bitcoin was trading at around $600 at the beginning of the week, before news that South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Coinrail caused its price to drop.

"Hacks on exchanges aren’t a new thing and prices of cryptos will recover as they have done so before," David Sapper, COO of Blockbid, told The Independent.

There was a brief revcovery on Tuesday, however a new study published on Wednesday by a researcher at the University of Texas seems to have caused the price to fall even further.

The study suggests that the highs of late 2017 were artificially inflated by traders manipulating the market.

Despite the latest price crash, some enthusiasts remain optimistic that bitcoin's value will rebound.

More to follow...

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