The cryptocurrency markets continued to sour on Thursday, as the first quarter’s bearish wave continued to reverberate throughout the nascent industry. A variety of altcoins sunk to year-to-date lows and large-cap coins like Ethereum and Ripple were not immune from the bloodbath.
Altogether, the cryptocurrency market cap shed another $17.8 billion — a daily decline of six percent — reducing it to a lean $281.3 billion and placing the $300 billion threshold further out of reach.
The Bitcoin price led the retreat, though it was not its headliner. The flagship cryptocurrency dropped five percent to $7,485, once again beating the index and recapturing a modicum of market share even as its total valuation ebbed further into the red. At present, Bitcoin has a total market cap of $127.9 billion, which translates into a 45.4 percent share of the index.
Ethereum and Ripple fared even worse, as each of the two largest altcoins fell to a year-to-date low during intraday trading.
The Ethereum price is currently trading at $412 on Bitfinex, up from a daily low of just $395. After today’s eight percent decline, Ethereum has a $40.7 billion market cap and a 14.5 percent share of the index (down from ~20 percent in February).
The Ripple price, meanwhile, dipped to about $0.53 on European cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp. That represents a 24-hour decline of just under six percent and leaves XRP with a $21.3 billion market cap.
The bearish trend continued almost uniformly down the charts, as fewer than 10 cryptocurrencies managed to rise against the value of the US dollar.
In fact, Tron — currently ranked 10th by total market cap — was the only top 25 coin or token to return a single-day gain (excluding Tether, which is a stablecoin). Tron rose just under 10 percent for the day, raising its price to $0.05 and market cap to $3.2 billion.
But though the bears are currently having their way with the charts, the bulls have not been deterred from their optimistic long-term forecasts.
As CCN.com reported, Wall Street strategist and Bitcoin bull Tom Lee advised clients in a recent note to HODL rather than attempting to time the market. He predicted that positive catalysts, including clarity on regulatory matters, will spur on a new market rally later in the year.
Abra CEO Bill Barhydt, meanwhile, recently predicted that institutional investors are poised to begin making a splash in cryptoassets, raising Bitcoin and altcoins alike.
“All hell will break loose,” he said adding that “Once the floodgates are opened, they’re opened.”
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