Bitcoin’s value plunged on Tuesday, falling to $11,300—the lowest value the virtual currency has seen in 2018. Bitcoin’s value is down more than 20 percent over the last 24 hours, and down 42 percent from December’s all-time high of around $19,500.
Bitcoin’s fall was part of a broader crypto-currency selloff. Every major cryptocurrency has suffered double-digit losses over the last 24 hours, according to CoinMarketCap. Ethereum is down 21 percent. Bitcoin Cash is down 25 percent. Litecoin is down 20 percent, while Dash is down 21 percent, and Monero is down 25 percent.
It’s hard to say what causes cryptocurrencies to go up or down on any given day. In recent months, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have exhibited classic signs of a speculative bubble, with millions of ordinary investors flooding into the market in hopes of making an easy buck. That helped to push Bitcoin to new heights, but it also heightened the cryptocurrency’s already significant volatility.
As a result, it has become common for particular cryptocurrencies to get “hot” and see their value soar for no apparent reason. It also means that crashes can become self-perpetuating, as inexperienced investors react by panic-selling [to reduce their losses], pushing the value down further.
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