Crypto sell-off intensifies, with XRP, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash among the hardest hit

A grenade with a Bitcoin symbol painted on.

Bitcoin is still up more than 56% this year. Photo illustration by Josue Evilla – Fortune; original photos by Getty Images

The world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization came back into rare, volatile form on Thursday evening, dropping off a cliff—and pulling the rest of the crypto market with it.

In the past day, Bitcoin is down almost 8%, nosediving from just above $29,000 to a low of approximately $25,400. At the time of publication, the cryptocurrency has partially rebounded, trading above $26,000.

Bitcoin, though, was not the hardest hit in the crypto sell-off. Among the largest cryptocurrencies by market cap, XRP, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash stood out for even greater drops. XRP was down about 13%, Litecoin 13.6%, and Bitcoin about 10% over the past 24 hours. 

The total cryptocurrency market has declined about 6.6%, more than either the NASDAQ or S&P 500, which are down 2.5% and 1.6%, respectively. Approximately $60 billion has evaporated from the total cryptocurrency market cap in the past 24 hours, according to CoinMarketCap.

The sudden floor falling out of the crypto market follows an unusual period of stability as Bitcoin traded near $30,000 for more than a month after rallying in the wake of a flurry of applications for Bitcoin spot ETFs, most notably from BlackRock, in June.

While the reasons for Bitcoin’s drop aren’t immediately apparent, the larger macroeconomic outlook has looked queasy in the past week, especially given recent concerns over the spiraling of China’s state-owned property developers. The sell-off is not, per initial reports, due to hundreds of millions in Bitcoin sales from Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

“While the dip might appear sudden, it was precipitated by a combination of events that contributed to the decline,” James Butterfill, head of research at the digital assets investment firm CoinShares, recently wrote. He pointed to a number of probable causes, including concern over China’s economic outlook, low Bitcoin trading volumes, and the continuing weight of regulatory actions on the market.

Despite the recent downturn in the crypto market and Bitcoin, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency is still riding high after starting the year at less than $17,000. Even after its sudden dip, Bitcoin is still up more than 56% year to date.



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