Bitcoin fell 5.0% to $4,559.4 by 11:05 AM ET (04:05 GMT) on the Bitifinex exchange. The world’s largest digital coin has now lost more than 25% of its value within a week. XRP/USD plunges 10.5% to $0.44106 on the Poloniex exchange. Ethereum slumped 8.5% to $135.67, while Litecoin declined 9.2% to $33.789 on the Bitifinex exchange.
While the trigger for the latest sell-off is unclear, it has coincided with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s penalties against two crypto companies that did not register their initial coin offerings (ICO) as securities.
The two companies, Airfox and Paragon Coin, will each have to pay penalties of $250,000 to compensate their investors; Bloomberg reported citing SEC’s statement.
“The whole move by the SEC has seemed like a nail in the coffin, and with talk about price-rigging the market, it’s getting nasty,” said Marc Ostwald, global strategist at ADM Investor Services International in London.
on Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that the U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether cryptocurrency’s rally last year was fueled in part by manipulation.
Meanwhile, others blamed fears that a “hard fork” in Bitcoin cash may have driven down demand for the virtual coin.
The most recent drop in Bitcoin came after several months of stability around the $6,500 range.