Bitcoin has dropped suddenly this morning, dragging down the wider cryptocurrency market, including Ripple's XRP and ethereum—though tron, currently the 8th largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, has leaped higher.
Bitcoin has sunk back to around $3,800 according to latest prices from the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange, down around 5% over the last 24 hours, after rising sharply earlier this week. Ripple (XRP) is down just over 2%, while ethereum is off by a little over 8%. Bitcoin cash is leading the major coins lower, dropping over 10%.
It was not immediately clear what had sparked the sudden sell-off, though last night the Bloomberg newswire reported it could be "make or break time for bitcoin."
According to Bloomberg analysis, bitcoin is on the verge of major move that could see it rise sharply higher, or ditch suddenly lower.
“After bitcoin’s leap to $4,000 earlier this week, it seems that we’re now seeing a reversal of this surge which in turn, is also causing XRP and ethereum’s price to fall," said Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst at brokerage, eToro.
“While bitcoin was unable to hold on to Sunday’s momentum, it’s important to remember that this price decline still remains within the broader $3,000 - $5,000 range, meaning the significance of this should not be overstated.”
"It’s unlikely that the bottom is in for bitcoin," Travis Kling, founder of the crypto hedge fund Ikigai, told Bloomberg. "I am certainly willing to change my mind, but the preponderance of evidence leads us to believe that we’ll see more lows before we head higher."
The cryptocurrency sector has been on edge this week since ethereum classic, an off-shoot of ethereum, suffered a so-called 51% attack. Many traders and investors are fretting over the possibility of bitcoin or another major token being hit by a similar attack, something that's deemed highly unlikely by analysts.
Ethereum classic, which split from ethereum in 2016, is currently the 18th largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization.
Meanwhile, bitcoin and cryptocurrency investors who have weathered the so-called crypto winter have been somewhat cheered by a positive start to 2019, with many eagerly looking forward to major global stock exchanges offering bitcoin futures contracts and the highly-anticipated Bakkt bitcoin platform.
The bitcoin price is now down almost 80% from the near $20,000 peak it hit in December 2017, though many of bitcoin's biggest supporters continue to talk up the digital currency's long-term prospects.
Tron, which is today the lone major cryptocurrency in the green, has doubled its price over the last month, as investors are lured to the token.
The Tron blockchain platform, led by sometimes controversial chief executive Justin Sun, is aiming to unseat ethereum as the biggest platform for decentralized applications. Tron celebrated its one millionth user account last month.
Last night it was reported Tron has hired a former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission supervisory attorney David Labhart as its chief compliance officer.