Update: Crypto Selloff Deepens as Bitcoin Hits New Yearly Low

The cryptocurrency market underwent a massive selloff Wednesday, as bitcoin breached new lows for the year and major altcoins booked double-digit losses across the board. Bitcoin cash experienced the largest percentage drop, effectively erasing gains made in the run-up to Thursday’s hard fork event.

Market Update

Cryptocurrencies have given up a combined $25 billion in value over the last 24 hours, as markets approached new lows for the year. The selloff intensified through the late morning session, driving the crypto market cap to a low of $187 billion. At the time of writing, cryptoassets were worth $188.4 billion collectively, according to CoinMarketCap.

Trade volumes surged 33% to $17.6 billion as investors rushed to liquidate their positions amid the selloff. All major exchanges reported a sharp rise in daily turnover, with volumes on Huobi, Bitfinex and LBank surging 100% or more in the last day.

Bitcoin’s price collapsed more than 10% on Coinbase to reach a session low of $5,530. At the time of writing, BTC/USD was worth $5,675.

Bitcoin cash, the fourth largest cryptocurrency by market cap, relinquished a whopping 18.1% to reach $433. In doing so, it completely reversed all the gains made in the last two weeks.

Ethereum fell 12.1% to $184, XRP lost 11.9% to $0.4576 and Stellar XLM declined 12% to reach $0.2303. With the exception of USDT, a dollar-backed stablecoin, all cryptoassets in the top-20 lost 7% or more on Wednesday.

The following snapshot, courtesy of CoinMarketCap, highlights the extent of the selloff.

Bitcoin Dominance Grows

While bitcoin certainly wasn’t spared from the latest rout, its share of the overall market climbed back above 54% on Wednesday, a sign that remaining capital was consolidating in the largest asset store. Bitcoin’s dominance rate has since fallen back to around 53.1%.

Extended periods of volatility for altcoins and tokens have provided bitcoin with a linchpin of support since the bear market began earlier this year. This has been most recently demonstrated by narrower price ranges and sharp declines in volatility for the leading digital currency. As Hacked recently reported, bitcoin’s volatility index fell this week to its lowest level in over two years.

Although there was no immediate catalyst for the rapid decline in market prices, anxiety over the future of bitcoin cash likely factored into the equation. The protocol’s primary implementation, dubbed bitcoin cash ABC, has won support from major industry players ahead of Thursday’s hard fork. However, recent data show that the network’s hash rate has tipped in favor of bitcoin SV, a competing protocol being pushed by Craig Steven Wright, Calvin Ayre and some very large mining pools. This information may have contributed to a sharp spike in SV futures prices on Wednesday.

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 Hacked.com and Contributor to CCN.com, 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