Part of bitcoin's appeal has been its anonymity. But that use case is also coming under fire. This week, industry veteran and Erik Vorhee announced that his cryptocurrency exchange ShapeShift would begin requiring customers to share personal information.
Rumors on Reddit of a bitcoin "whale" moving $1 billion worth of the cryptocurrency added to fears. One person with a massive holding of bitcoin deciding to sell could theoretically rock the markets.
"In these cases, perception can be worse than reality," said eToro senior market analyst Mati Greenspan. "Bitcoin's volumes across global crypto exchanges are now firmly above $6 billion per day, so even if this pirate whale decides to breach, it probably wouldn't make much of a splash."
Still, Greenspan pointed out that this week's price moves are actually "quite normal" for crypto assets, which have been marked by volatility since nearing a high of $20,000 in December, according to CoinDesk.
"In fact, if anything, the crypto markets remain stable as ever," Greenspan said.
Prices had been relatively steady through August, hovering around the $7,000 range after dipping below $8,000 in July. The cryptocurrency has lost more than half its value this year but is still up 37 percent from a year ago. The cumulative market cap for all cryptocurrencies expressed in U.S. dollars has plunged approximately 70 percent since the beginning of 2018, according to data from CoinMarketCap.com.
European finance ministers are set to discuss the future of virtual currencies on Friday, September 7 at an informal meeting in Vienna. Topics of discussion include "opportunities and the risks involved" and "possible regulation of this global phenomenon," according to the Economic and Financial Affairs Council website.