February was tough for the cryptocurrency markets, with March shaping up to be almost as bad. After hitting a weekly high of $11,670 on March 5, Bitcoin’s (BTC) price dropped as low as $8,560 on Friday, March 9.
Friday's losses among the other top 10 cryptocurrencies reached around 16% according to data from CoinMarketCap.com. All top 25 cryptos by total value reported weekly losses through Friday. Total market cap for all 1500+ cryptocurrencies hit a March low of $344 billion on Friday.
The market downturn comes on the heels of a March 7th statement from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that cryptocurrency is considered a security and that all cryptocurrency exchanges are, therefore, required to register with the SEC. Downward pressure on the cryptocurrency markets continued on March 8th with the announcement of ‘Punishment Notices’ for seven Japanese cryptocurrency exchanges issued by the Japanese Financial Services Agency.
NEO was especially hard hit with a loss of 35% for the week, going from $130 on March 2 to as low as $86 on Friday, March 9. Ethereum (ETH), the top altcoin, dipped below $700 for the first time since February 6. Even good news for TRON -- a strategic partnership with Trip.io to advance blockchain applications in the travel industry -- failed to stop its price from falling to $0.03 on Thursday, down from $0.05 on Feb. 10.
A majority of technical market analysts say that negative regulatory headlines will likely continue to outweigh positive headlines, which will heighten worries about regulatory pressure on exchanges, causing Bitcoin to face additional weakness for the near future. Things may get worse for bitcoin investors before they get better.
The good news is that most market observers predict that the regulatory progress will help strengthen the market for Bitcoin over the long-term. On Friday, March 9, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton and Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Chris Giancarlo testified before the US Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, causing a small cryptocurrencies market rally after the hearing turned out to be surprisingly supportive of the industry.
Also on Friday, Matthew Newton, noted analyst at crypto retailer eToro, summed up the driving forces on the last month or so of the Bitcoin rollercoaster ride, “The recent price fall was driven by two factors. Firstly, Bitcoin was trending higher for about a week but failed to break a technical level, which caused a slight selloff. This was then accelerated by the news that Binance, the crypto exchange, might have been hacked, though markets recovered once the exchange allayed fears that funds were safe. Regulatory news coming out of US and Japan may also have impacted cryptocurrencies again, but shouldn’t be cause for alarm. Cryptocurrencies are still in the early stages of development. As the market grows, regulatory scrutiny is to be expected. Appropriate regulation should ultimately help promote best practice and afford protection to the consumer."
By: BGN Editorial Staff