Investing.com - Cryptocurrencies slumped on Thursday, as a global selloff continued amid worry that the crypto bear market is here to stay.
Bitcoin fell 8.82% to $6,416.60 on the Bitfinex exchange, as of 8:57 AM ET (12:57 GMT), not far from an earlier low of $6,366.60.
Cryptocurrencies overall inched up, with the coin market cap of total market capitalization at $202 billion at the time of writing compared to $239 billion on Wednesday.
Ethereum, the second-biggest alternative currency by market cap, slumped 14.97% to $224.24, while XRP, the third-largest virtual currency, decreased 7.37% to $0.28313 and Litecoin was at $54.995, down 13.06%.
Financial giant Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) is retreating on its plan for a Bitcoin trading desk, Business Insider reported on Wednesday. The financial institution will instead focus on other projects such as holding digital coins on behalf of large fund clients, but could look into a trading desk in the future.
As alternative currencies have risen in popularity, many Wall Street companies are looking for ways to get into the burgeoning field. But with Bitcoin down almost 70% since its peak of nearly $20,000 in December, that interest is dying down.
Meanwhile, trading platform ShapeShitf said on Tuesday that it will ask users for personal information, prompting worry among crypto enthusiasts that other platforms will follow suit. Part of the allure among some investors for Bitcoin and other alternative coins is their anonymity and decentralization away from government control. But as regulators around the world struggle with oversight of the sector that could change.
In other news, the price of Bitcoin in Iran hit a record high of $24,000 on the Iranian exchange EXIR following news that the Iranian government has agreed to recognize the mining of digital coins as an industry. The Central Bank of Iran is expected to draft a policy framework for cryptocurrencies in the next two weeks. The government hopes the potential use of alternative coins will help smooth trade between Tehran and its partners in the wake of renewed U.S. sanctions.
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