Crypto Downtrend Intensifies as Market Sheds $16 Billion from Last Week’s High

Cryptocurrency prices extended their slide mid-morning, as bitcoin plunged below $3,900 and the major altcoins fell between 4-10%. At the time of writing, the crypto market cap was $11 shy of a new yearly low, a sign that the bears were still very much in control.

Crypto Markets Slump

The crypto-market downtrend has accelerated in the last hour, with all but a few stablecoins registering firm losses. The combined cryptocurrency market cap is currently valued at $125.9 billion, down $8 billion over the past day. The market has now given back roughly $16 billion from last week’s high.

Bitcoin’s daily loss now amounts to 6.5%, with roughly half the decline occurring in the last hour. The BTC price was last spotted at $3,891.49 according to CoinMarketCap.

XRP fell 4.7% to $0.3515, breaking below the stable support zone near $0.3600.

Losses for the nos. 3-6 cryptocurrencies ranged from 6.8% to 9.8%, with EOS registering the biggest percentage drop among the four. The EOS price is now trading below last year’s levels.

Bitcoin SV fell 7.5% to $92.90. Litecoin shed 9.1% to $30.81.

Within top-50, ICON and Chainlink were the biggest losers percentage-wise, falling 10.8% and 12.1%, respectively.

Nasdaq Bitcoin Futures: “It’s Happening”

A senior executive at Nasdaq has confirmed that the world’s second-largest stock exchange operator will begin offering bitcoin futures in early 2019, a sign that the institutions were moving full steam ahead with crypto derivatives despite the year-long bear market.

Joseph Christinat, Vice President of Nasdaq’s media team, told Express UK that the new derivatives platform will be launched in the first half of 2019.

“Bitcoin Futures will be listed and it should launch in the first half of next year – we’re just waiting for the go ahead from the [Commodity Futures Trading Commission] but there’s been enough work put into this to make that academic,” he said. “We’ve seen plenty of speculation and rumours about what we might be doing, but no one has thought to come to us and ask if we can confirm it, so, here you go – we’re doing this, and it’s happening.”

Although Hacked already confirmed Nasdaq’s intent to launch a bitcoin futures operation, Christinat was the first company spokesperson to acknowledge the matter publicly. VanEck, the company partnering with Nasdaq to compile pricing data for the new futures contract, described the product as “bitcoin futures 2.0” for its transparency and pricing characteristics.

Bitcoin futures trading reached a record high last month, with short-sellers accelerating the digital currency’s massive drop. BTC lost more than a third of its value in November, eventually bottoming at new 14-month lows.

Institutions have shrugged off bitcoin’s recent skid, arguing that current prices have no bearing on their intent to foster a growing market. 2019 is shaping up to be the year of institutional trading for bitcoin as Nasdaq joins Intercontinental Exchange and Fidelity in entering the market.

Trading on virtual currency exchanges has also tilted in the direction of futures in recent months. BitMEX, a leading cryptocurrency derivatives platform, has become the undisputed market maker for bitcoin trades. At the height of the downtrend, more than 40% of bitcoin’s exchange-based volume was processed through BitMEX. That figure has since fallen to about a quarter.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi