Bitcoin's value dropped nearly $400 in the blink of an eye.
Business Insider has further details:
Having been steady at about $7,350 a coin during most of trading during both Asian and European morning hours, bitcoin lost more than $200 in mere minutes starting about 5:50 a.m. ET, or 10:50 a.m. BST.
It took another leg down an hour later, falling below the psychologically significant $7,000 mark.
By midday in London, or 7 a.m. ET, the largest crypto by market value was trading at $6,984 a coin, a fall of 5.1% on the day.
At the time of publication, Bitcoin market value was down 5.32 percent.
Other crypto followed suit. According to Business Insider, Ether took the biggest hit, sustaining a -12.2 percent loss at $257.45. Ripple, Bitcoin cash and Litecoin values all also fell over 10 percent.
Here's how people are reacting on Twitter:
Prior to the free fall, major cryptocurrencies had seen strong gains over the past several days, but none have come close to the buzzworthy $19,000-plus value Bitcoin hit late last year.
Analysts haven't been able to point to a clear cause of the crash. Forbes reports that investors may have gotten spooked ahead of a major decision from the SEC.
...Investors [have] cold feet ahead of the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission's (SEC) decision expected later this month on whether to grant approval for a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) — something the SEC has previously rejected due to fears around bitcoin's wild price swings and price manipulation.
CEO of crypto payment startup Abra told CNBC the reason the SEC has insofar denied crypto ETF is because the crypto industry does not fit the applicant archetype.
Bill Barhydt suggested that the SEC has rejected crypto ETF applications because “people who are doing the applications don't fit the mold of who the SEC is used to approving."
Tany Abrosimova of FX Street proposed a different explanation.
The news that ShapeShift, a popular platform for instantaneous Bitcoin exchange, introduced membership, might have added fuel to the fire. The new system implies that users will have to provide their personal data.
Now the registration is optional, but soon it will become obligatory. The company positions the new initiative as a sort of loyalty program that will offer users additional benefits like favorable exchange rates, rewards for FOX token transactions.
If one thing's for sure, it's that the crypto market is still extremely volatile. Invest wisely.