Over the weekend the cryptocurrency crisis deepened, wiping over $42 billion of market value over the and continuing the slump in Bitcoin to more than 50%.

Bloomberg yesterday quoted some observers who pinned the latest retreat on an exchange hack in South Korea, while others pointed to growing worries about the increasingly authoritarian clampdown on trading platforms in China. Cryptocurrency venues have come under growing scrutiny around the world in recent months amid a range of issues including thefts, market manipulation and money laundering.

Bitcoin has dropped about 12% since Friday and was trading at $6,764.34 as of 11:45 a.m. in London on Monday, bringing its decline since Dec. 29th to 53% said Bloomberg. Most other major virtual currencies have also declined since Friday, sending the market value of digital assets tracked by Coinmarketcap.com to a nearly two-month low of $298 billion. At the height of the global crypto-mania in early January, they were worth about $830 billion.

Matthew Newton, an analyst at eToro said: “The hack in South Korea may have fired the starting gun on yesterday’s price drop. But the major fall happened later on that afternoon, around 6 pm BST, when there was a surge in volume as potentially a large sell order was dumped on the market. Currently, there is no indication of what caused this, but it certainly seems to have accelerated the drop.”

“It’s hard to predict when we’ll see the next surge in price but all signs point towards a maturing market. Recent institutional interest should continue to develop as they educate themselves about the market, market incumbents are scaling their operation and looking to capitalise on the next major move. There are strong communities forming, as graduates are looking to get involved in blockchain and entrepreneurs want to build businesses in the industry. It’s a healthy cycle for the industry and the future looks promising.”

by Bill Boyle
IBS Intelligence Senior Editor