Digital currency markets are staring at yet another losing session, with most major coins in the red late Friday. Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, has lost more than 15% since Wednesday, tumbling to a two-week low of $6,279.08. In late-afternoon Friday trading a single bitcoin BTCUSD, -0.32% last changed hands at $6,423.36, down 0.3% since Thursday at 5 p.m. Eastern Time on the Kraken exchange. A losing session Friday would make it three in a row.
The general consensus was a two-day selloff resulted from a report that Goldman Sachs had put its crypto venture on hold citing regulatory uncertainty. However, late Thursday a senior executive at Goldman Sachs Group GS, -0.26% debunked the report, calling it fake news.
“It wasn’t like we announced anything or that anything had changed for us,” said Marty Chavez, CFO of Goldman Sachs, at the TechCrunch Disrupt Conference. “I never thought I’d hear myself actually use this term, but I’d really have to describe that as fake news.” He went on to say that the bank was still working on a bitcoin non-deliverable forward contract.
If not the Goldman news, then what?
With bitcoin unable to rally after Chavez denied Wednesday’s report, Danny Scott, cofounder of crypto exchange CoinCorner has floated an alternative theory that the selloff was the result of a single seller, or bitcoin whale.
“Many have been speculating that this week’s bitcoin price drop was due to the news that Goldman Sachs would be ditching its cryptocurrency trading plans,” wrote Scott in an email to MarketWatch. “A different theory which we have been following ourselves for the last few days comes from a very old bitcoin wallet beginning to move a large amount of bitcoins (100,000+ BTC). These look to be from MtGox which could match up well with their recent announcement that creditors can now open the claims to any lost funds.”
MtGox was a bitcoin exchange that suffered a hack in February 2014, when more than 800,000 bitcoin were stolen. In the ensuing months, around 200,000 bitcoin were recovered and they have been sitting in a trust account waiting to be liquidated and dispersed to creditors.
No respite for altcoins
It’s groundhog day for altcoins, smaller coins alternative to bitcoin, with most on track to end Friday on a sour note. Ether ETHUSD, -0.21% is down 3.6% at $216.52, Bitcoin Cash BCHUSD, +0.86% was down 2.2% to $497.20, Litecoin LTCUSD, -0.76% wsd unchanged at $56.38 and Ripple’s XRP coin XRPUSD, -1.02% is trading at 29 cents, down 2%.
Futures couldn’t buck the trend, closing Friday in the red. The Cboe Global Markets Group Inc.’s September contract XBTU8, +0.43% finished down 0.1% at $6,402.50, while the comparable CME Group Inc. September contract BTCU8, +0.08% closed the session down 0.6% at $6,390.