Following a meteoric rise to just shy of $US20,000 ($25,108) per coin less than two months ago, Bitcoin, the oldest and most valuable cryptocurrency, fell below $US10,000 ($12,554) on both the Coinbase and Bittrex exchanges for the first time since early December. It's far from the only digital token plummeting.
Nearly every cryptocurrency is down, most by double digit percents, according to Coin Market Cap. The crash seems driven by fear of looming regulations from Germany, stricter laws in South Korea, and an increasing involvement by the SEC. Reddit community r/CryptoCurrency is directing US-based community members to the Suicide Hotline while panic ensues.
Researchers also found earlier this month that Bitcoin's $US850 ($1067) increase in price during the Mt Gox days was likely driven by a single individual. With a ton of venture capitalists entering the field, those price swings have grown more drastic - and those wealthy investors are unlikely to be the ones taking a hit today.
Bittrex lists Bitcoin's 24-hour low at $US9450 ($11,863) while Coinbase shows $US9969.01 ($12,515) around 9:33AM AEDT. On both exchanges, Bitcoin is now hovering just above those figures. Coinbase has previously shown a willingness to halt trading during slumps. It remains to be seen if speculators will be frozen out this time around.