Bitcoin tumbles 10% to hit lowest level in nearly 4 weeks

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Cryptocurrency prices are trading sharply lower on Thursday, with most major coins showing double-digit declines.
In Thursday trading a single bitcoin, BTCUSD, -0.34% the largest cryptocurrency, was fetching $3,637.10, down 9.2% since Wednesday’s level at 5 p.m. Eastern Time on the Kraken crypto exchange. The cryptocurrency traded to an intraday low at $3,577, its lowest level since Dec. 18.
The broad-based selloff has erased more than $15 billion off the total value of all digital currencies, which currency stands at $122.6 billion, according to data from CoinMarketCap .
“After a positive start to 2019 with prices drifting gently higher, selling returned with a bang to the cryptocurrency space, backed by a sizable pickup in volume. Double-digit losses were recorded in some coins, while Ripple (the XRP coin) overtook Ether to become the second-largest token by market capitalization,” wrote Nick Cawley, analyst at Daily FX.
“The selling was accompanied by heavy turnover — just under $20 billion — normally a bearish sign, especially after the quiet market conditions this week to date. The cryptocurrency market as a whole lost just under $9 billion in one hour.”
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Altcoins, cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin, are showing significant losses on Thursday. Ether has lost 14.9% to $127.90, Litecoin LTCUSD, -0.84% was off 14.7% to $33.42, Bitcoin Cash BCHUSD, -1.12% was off 15.3% at $133.90 and XRP, XRPUSD, -0.77% was trading 10% lower at 33 cents.
Bitcoin futures finished Thursday in the red. The Cboe Global Markets February contract XBTG9, -0.14% XBTG9, -0.14% XBTG9, -0.14% closed the session down 9.9% at $3,590, and the CME Group February contract BTCG9, -0.14% ended trading down 9.7% at $3,595.
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Aaron Hankin Aaron Hankin is a MarketWatch reporter in New York who covers cryptocurrency and financial markets.