Just under $2 billion has been wiped off the value of bitcoin in under three days as a fight over the future of the technology underpinning the cryptocurrency wages on.
Bitcoin was trading at around $1,142.60 at time of publication, giving it a market cap of $18.53 billion, according to CoinDesk data. This is down from highs of $1,255.32 on Tuesday, which valued the total bitcoin pile at $20.36 billion.
Meanwhile, rival cryptocurrency ether is up over 84 percent from highs of $29.87 on Tuesday to trading at all-time highs of around $55 on Friday, according to Coinmarketcap.com. The market captilization shot from $2.68 billion to $4.95 billion. It is the only other cryptocurrency to be valued at over $1 billion.
Much of the inverse price movement stems from traders' worries over the future of bitcoin and the underpinning blockchain technology.
To understand the issue, it's key to look at how bitcoin transactions are processed. Transactions by users are gathered into "blocks" which is turned into a complex math solution. So-called miners, using high-powered computers work these solutions out to determine if the transaction is possible. Once other miners also check the puzzle is correct, the transactions are approved and the miners are rewarded in bitcoin.