Leading cryptocurrencies bitcoin, ripple (XRP) and ethereum (ETH) are in the red as of 4.28pm GMT (UTC), according to CoinMarketCap. Bitcoin is exchanging hands at £3,999.68 ($5,136.46) per virtual token and is down by 8.38 percent on yesterday’s price. Following on highs of £5,061.45 ($6,500) on November 7, bitcoin has shown its volatility by falling by around £1,090 ($1,400) in just 12 days.
Bitcoin is down about 21 percent on November’s high and around 70 percent down on its January 6 peak of £13,471.25 ($17,300).
The slump in bitcoin’s market performance marks the lowest BTC price since October 18, 2017.
Bitcoin’s bearish moves on the crypto market mirror a wider decline in the overall crypto market capitalisation.
On Monday, November 12, CoinMarketCap valued the cryptocurrency markets at over £164.3billion ($211billion).
Today, the total market cap was pegged at just over £130billion ($167billion) at 4.42pm GMT.
Will bitcoin plunge below £3,893.42 ($5,000) before Christmas?
The bearish performance of the crypto markets ahead of the busiest commercial period of the year has some investors concerned about the volatility of the digital currency.
According to market analysts at trading platform eToro, nine out of the 10 leading cryptocurrencies have suffered losses this week and further dips could be unavoidable.
Mati Greenspan, eToro analyst, warned investors to prepare for further sell-offs in the coming days.
He said: “The next logical level of support is at $5,000 but if that doesn’t hold, the next logical support levels isn’t until $3,500.
“With all the falling prices lately, this definitely fits the definition of a buyers market.”
Bitcoin’s poor performance comes after a period relative stability, with BTC prices hovering around the £4,672 ($6,000) mark since September.
Omkar Godbole, crypto analyst at CoinDesk, expressed his concern bitcoin’s recent market performance points towards a future downturn.
Mr Godbole said bitcoin is now looking “increasingly weak on the technical charts”.
In his opinion, the digital token risks dropping below its support level of £3,893.42 ($5,000) in the “near term”.
Why are bitcoin prices falling today?
Some analysts have pointed towards a fork, or split, in the bitcoin derivative biotin cash (BCH) as the culprit behind the wider market slump.
A cryptocurrency is said to fork whenever a sister cryptocurrency splits off during a software upgrade or update.
Bitcoin cash split into bitcoin ABC and bitcoin SV on November 15, despite a lack of clear consensus between the supporters of both tokens.
Analysts at eToro said: “The hard fork on the bitcoin cash blockchain, which took place last Thursday, continues to impact the world’s 4th-largest cryptocurrency.
“While the majority of cryptos registered significant losses over the past week, BCH registered the largest weekly losses, falling more than 25 percent.”
Bitcoin Market Price Chart in RealTime