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Bitcoin had its worst first quarter in history with over $119 billion wiped off its value

  • Bitcoin and ethereum had their worst first-quarter price performances in history in 2018.
  • Ripple, or XRP, was the worst-performing cryptocurrency out of the top three in the first quarter of 2018 however, down 77 percent.
  • Cryptocurrencies have been hit with increasing regulatory scrutiny and an advertising crackdown from internet firms Google, Facebook and Twitter.

Bitcoin and ethereum just had their worst first-quarter price performances in history, but ripple fell the most out of the top three major cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin fell from $13,412.44 to $6,928.85 in the three months ended March 31, marking a more than 48 percent decline, according to data from industry website CoinDesk, which tracks the price across a number of exchanges. The cryptocurrency's previous biggest decline came in the first quarter of 2013 when it fell 37.9 percent from $770.44 to $478.72. CoinDesk has only tracked the price since 2010.

Over $119.9 billion was wiped off the market capitalization or value of bitcoin in the time period.

Ethereum meanwhile saw a 47.7 percent decline in price in the first quarter of 2018 from $755.76 to $394.65, according to Coinmarketcap.com, another site which tracks the price of various digital currencies across exchanges. The site first started tracking ethereum in the middle of 2015. In the first quarter of 2016, and 2017, ethereum was over 1,100 percent and 550 percent higher, respectively.

Ripple, meanwhile, was the worst-performing cryptocurrency among the major coins in the first quarter of 2018, down 77 percent. Its price fell from $2.30 to $0.509565, according to Coinmarketcap.com. But this was not ripple's worst first quarter, which actually occurred in 2014 when it fell 96 percent.

Cryptocurrencies have been hit because of increasing regulatory scrutiny and an advertising crackdown on major internet platforms.

Regulators in China and South Korea have come down hard on cryptocurrencies. In the U.S., the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been trying to bring cryptocurrencies under its laws. And central bankers across the world, including Mark Carney of the Bank of England, have called for more regulation in the space.

Meanwhile, technology giants have moved to ban advertising around cryptocurrencies. In the first quarter of the year, Google, Facebook and Twitter banned cryptocurrency ads.

At the same time, the amount of new money coming into cryptocurrencies is slowing, which could mean that the growth may not be as fast as previous years, according to a recent academic paper by Spencer Wheatley and Didier Sornette, professors of entrepreneurial risks at ETH Zurich.

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