Cryptocurrencies hastened their decline on Thursday, with the total market cap falling to its lowest level in over a week as bitcoin and the major altcoins backtracked.
Fresh Selloff Hits Crypto Market
Ninety-two of the top 100 cryptocurrencies tracked by CoinMarketCap were trading lower Thursday afternoon. The combined market capitalization for all coins fell 6% to $430 billion, the lowest since Feb. 13.
Bitcoin broke below $10,000 for the first time in nearly a week, and was last seen trading at $9.891. Even with the decline, bitcoin is maintaining its bullish outlook insofar as prices hold above the technically important $9,000-$9,200 region. Although downside is expected to persist in the short term, a bounce back toward $11,000 is expected. This is confirmed by the oversold Relative Strength Index (RSI), which also points to a rebound.
As the following chart illustrates, the value of bitcoin peaked near $11,800 earlier this week before the recent bout of profit-taking took hold.
Ethereum, the world’s no. 2 cryptocurrency by market cap, fell below $800 for the first time in almost two weeks. At the time of writing, one ether was worth around $793, which represents a decline of 4% from the previous close.
Like bitcoin, ether is also grappling with oversold levels. However, the recent low is much shallower than the one Ethereum experienced in early February when prices fell toward $550.
Meanwhile, Litecoin tumbled to a session low of $188.73, more than offsetting a 50% gain earlier in the week. At the time of writing, the coin was down 6.5% at $192.59.
Elsewhere in the market, Ripple plunged nearly 9% to $0.93, while bitcoin cash fell fell nearly 8% to $1,210.
No Immediate Catalyst for the Decline
Like previous corrective phases, there was no immediate catalyst for the market’s sharp reversal, a sign that technical traders were largely responsible for the downshift. Since peaking above $518 billion on Saturday, the crypto market has declined 17%, all but reversing the previous week’s sharp rally.
On the regulatory front, the French government just announced it will be cracking down on unregulated cryptocurrency trading. In a statement issued by Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF), the nation’s financial market watchdog, regulators said they had noticed a growing trend in unregulated futures and derivatives trading involving cryptocurrency.
“The AMF concludes that a cash-settled cryptocurrency contract may qualify as a derivative, irrespective of the legal qualification of a cryptocurrency,” the AMF said in the statement, as reported by CCN. “As a result, online platforms which offer cryptocurrency derivatives fall within the scope of MiFID 2 and must therefore comply with the authorisation, conduct of business rules, and the EMIR trade reporting obligation to a trade repository.”
MiFID stands for Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, a harmonized regulatory framework for the European Union’s financial markets. MiFID 2 was launched earlier this year to provide more transparency on traders and go after non-compliance more aggressively.
Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.