In Brief

Bitcoin price: why the cryptocurrency has fallen once again

Mass sell-offs as two new digital coins enter the market

Cryptocurrency prices have taken a tumble once again over the past week, bringing the market to its lowest point of the year. 

Bitcoin’s value has slumped from around $6,400 (£4,990) last Monday to roughly $5,300 (£4,135) today - significantly lower than the high of $20,000 (£15,600) recorded last December. 

According to ranking website CoinMarketCap, the value of bitcoin rival Ethereum has also plummeted, from $210 (£164) per coin last week to around $155 (£121). 

The latest drops are being blamed on a “hard fork” - a change whereby the digital asset will effectively divide in two to form a new cryptocurrency - in bitcoin and its sister token bitcoin cash, according to Forbes

Bitcoin ABC and bitcoin SV were created last week in a bid to improve on bitcoin’s existing technology, which has undergone few upgrades since being created nearly ten years ago.

The move has sparked mass sell-offs that have knocked billions off the value of bitcoin and other digital currencies including Ethereum and banking-focused coin Ripple.  

The crisis comes days after Changpeng Zhao, chief executive of cryptocurrency trading platform Binance, told US broadcaster CNBC that he expected bitcoin to enter another “bull run” similar to that which saw the December high. 

“It’s really hard to predict” what would trigger the next price boom but “it will happen sooner or later”, Zhao said.

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