- Bitcoin is still the largest cryptocurrency, but its influence is waning.
- The digital currency has slumped to its lowest levels in two months, and has lost more than $72 billion in market cap this year.
2018 has been a swift departure from the previous year for cryptocurrencies, whose prices previously seemed to only move upward.
Bitcoin, the flagship digital coin that represents 33% of the total cryptocurrency market capitalization, according to CoinMarketCap.com, was trading at $9,314 Thursday morning, less than half its all-time high of $19,843 set in December.
Thursday’s decline was spurred by comments from India’s finance minister, who said the country’s "government does not consider cryptocurrencies legal tender or coin and will take all measures to eliminate use of these crypto-assets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payment system."
Facebook's announcement that it would ban all ads for cryptocurrencies and ICO's, as well as reports that two major exchanges, Bitfinex and Tether, had been subpoenaed by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), also helped to spook cryptocurrency markets this week
Ethereum was the only major coin to finish January in the green. The second-largest cryptocurrency saw gains of 45% during 2018’s first month, compared to a loss of 25% for bitcoin, and respective declines of 45% and 35% for Ripple’s XRP and bitcoin cash.
"The state of cryptocurrency is incredibly strong," Andy Bromberg, CEO of CoinList, an ICO hosting platform, told Business Insider in an email this week. "Looking far beyond the prices, we're seeing an increasing number of high-quality projects in the space, with experienced teams, impressive early technological breakthroughs, and rigorous legal structuring.
"We expect to see this continue into 2018 as the industry matures and professionalizes -- a necessary step for it at this time."
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