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Bitcoin plunges almost 35%, prompting Coinbase exchange to suspend trading

23 December 2017

Just before the holidays, the price of Bitcoin has taken a major downturn.

The value of Bitcoin, the world's largest cryptocurrency, has fallen over -15 percent today, down nearly 30 percent from its record high of almost $20,000 reached earlier in the week. On Friday morning the price of bitcoin dropped below $12,000, which is around 40% off its recent high, while other crypto-currencies are falling as much or further.

The major sell-off Friday punctuates a year in which bitcoin has seen stellar growth, prompting new investors to buy in, and igniting a flurry of media attention, even as the virtual currency is known for massive price swings. Tech Crunch's Jon Russellreports that most other prominent cryptocurrencies also fell, including Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash (which is, confusingly, separate from Bitcoin proper).

Update, Dec. 22, 1:10 p.m.: CNBC reports that Coinbase "temporarily disabled" buying and selling at 11:11 a.m. Some businesses, hoping to seize on the bitcoin mania, have changed their names to include the word blockchain, the technology that undergirds the virtual currency.

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Yesterday, Bitcoin Cash jumped to $8,500 on Coinbase's exchange on Tuesday afternoon, hours before the San Francisco-based exchange launched trading in bitcoin cash.

This "high traffic" is largely in reference to activity in the Bitcoin market.

"The vast majority of long-term holders of bitcoin are still way in the money and have shown no sign of cashing out", Michael Jackson, a partner at venture capital firm Mangrove Capital Partners, said in an emailed comment Friday.

UBS has called bitcoin a "speculative bubble" and JPMorgan Chase's CEO Jamie Dimon has said that bitcoin is a "fraud" that "won't end well".

Bitcoin plunges almost 35%, prompting Coinbase exchange to suspend trading