Bitcoin plunges more than 11 percent to fresh lows for the year

Key Points
  • As of Asia's afternoon trade, Bitcoin had fallen more than 11 percent against the U.S. dollar in 24 hours, according to Coindesk.
  • The moves came following a plunge in the price of bitcoin on Dec. 1.
A woman passes in front of a Bitcoin exchange shop.
Artur Widak | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Bitcoin fell as much as 11 percent against the U.S. dollar in 24 hours by Friday afternoon during Asian hours, marking fresh declines for the world's largest cryptocurrency.

It's been a rough December for the digital token: Its price dropped 8 percent on the first day of the month.

Bitcoin traded at $3,376.27 as of 8:40 a.m. ET Friday, falling 8 percent over the last 24 hours, according to data from industry site Coindesk.

Prices of XRP and Ether, the second and third largest cryptocurrencies by market value, plunged in the same 24 hour period. XRP fell 10.16 percent and Ether dropped 15.56 percent, according to Coindesk.

One analyst told CNBC via email that the cryptocurrency market "definitely seems to be suffering."

"The market is in a general bearish trend that doesn't seem to be letting up driven by what seems to be a general negative sentiment towards crypto," said Zennon Kapron, director at financial technology consultancy Kapronasia. "As the market is heavily retail driven, it's very much at the mercy of group sentiment which causes huge swings."

"Without any positive drivers in the near future, this could continue well into 2019," he said.

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This calendar year has generally been unkind to cryptocurrency prices, with the industry seeing its entire market cap falling almost 86.92 percent from its highs in January, according to data from Coinmarketcap. 24-hour trading volumes have also plunged about 61.63 percent since then.

In recent industry related news, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) posted an update on Thursday regarding the approval process for a rule change proposal for the allowance of a bitcoin exchange traded fund (ETF).

An ETF is a financial product that tracks the price of an asset and is listed on an exchange. It means that investors don't actually have to buy the underlying asset. ETF's are seen as a way for institutional investors to get into cryptocurrency investing in a safer way than buying bitcoin on a crypto-asset exchange.

The ETF in question is the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust, created in a team up between money management firm VanEck and blockchain company SolidX. The attempt is VanEck's third at creating a bitcoin ETF. In the update, the SEC said it was delaying its decision until Feb. 29, 2018.

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"The Commission finds it appropriate to designate a longer period within which to issue an order approving or disapproving the proposed rule change so that it has sufficient time to consider this proposed rule change," Eduardo A. Aleman, assistant secretary in the SEC, said in the release.

The last time the SEC postponed the decision on the VanEck SolidX bitcoin ETF, over $9 billion was wiped off the value of bitcoin.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in the U.S. sought to introduce new rules on Thursday for the cryptocurrency industry aimed at protecting consumers and keeping America ahead in the space.

— CNBC's Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.

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