Bit­coin leads cryp­tos in value drop

National Post (National Edition) - - FP INVESTING - Eric Lam and ViL­dana Ha­jric

Cryp­tocur­ren­cies con­tin­ued their epic slide with a fresh bout of losses Fri­day af­ter the U.S. SEC dashed hopes that a Bit­coin ex­change­traded fund would ap­pear be­fore the end of this year.

Bit­coin, the largest dig­i­tal to­ken, slumped as much as 10 per cent, tak­ing it down past US$3,250 to the low­est level since Septem­ber 2017, ac­cord­ing to con­sol­i­dated pric­ing com­piled by Bloomberg. Smaller ri­vals in­clud­ing Ether, Lite­coin and XRP were hit even harder. The Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto In­dex sank as much as 12 per cent.

“As we head to­ward the end of the year it feels as though the sell-off is still to be con­cluded,” said David Thomas, di­rec­tor and co­founder at Glob­alBlock. “There is fur­ther scope for more down­ward pres­sure.”

The Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Com­mis­sion plans to de­cide by Feb. 27 whether to ap­prove a pro­posed ETF from fi­nan­cial-tech­nol­ogy com­pany SolidX Partners Inc. and as­set man­ager Van Eck As­so­ciates Corp., the agency said Dec. 6.

The pro­posal was set to get a de­ci­sion from the SEC in De­cem­ber af­ter pre­vi­ous delays and the new time­line is a fresh blow to an in­dus­try that’s seen prices fall through­out 2018. A key im­ped­i­ment has been a lack of main­stream in­sti­tu­tional adop­tion, along­side con­tin­u­ing se­cu­rity and reg­u­la­tory con­cerns.

“Sen­ti­ment in the mar­ket is re­ally bad, any neg­a­tive news has an ex­po­nen­tial ef­fect,” said Ti­mothy Tam, co­founder and CEO of CoinFi, a cryp­tocur­rency re­search firm.

Cryp­tocur­ren­cies have erased al­most US$730 bil­lion in value from a peak in Jan­uary, ac­cord­ing to data from CoinMar­ketCap.com.

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