Regulatory pressure on the global cryptocurrency market has contributed to negatively impact the value of nearly the entire virtual currencies.
The total cryptocurrency market capitalisation dropped to $308.303 billion in the first week of February from a peak of $830 billion it recorded on January 7. That loss meant that over $500 billion in market value has gone bust.
Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency in the world by market capitalisation, dropped more than $11 billion to 106 billion. The price of bitcoin briefly dropped to a record low of $5,957 on Monday, February 5, only to recover at $6,679.58. It was the first time in 12 weeks (since November 13) the cyptocurrency is seeing such lows.
As at the time of writing the price of a bitcoin was at $7,029.98 on the Coinmarketcap index, representing a slight recovery.
In Nigeria, bitcoin volumes dropped to N1.505 billion on the last week of January, from N1.763 billion it recorded the previous week.
Apart from bitcoin, the other 19 of the top 20 cryptocurrencies on the Coinmarketcap index was a sea of red numbers on Tuesday morning. Tether, at 14th position, was the only virtual currency that saw growth at the time of writing. The altcoin saw a 0.20 percent recovery in the space of one hour.
Ripple (XRP) the third most valuable cryptocurrencies and which was the toast of investors at the beginning of the year, declined to $0.6 from an all time high of $3,84 on 4 January, representing over 80 percent slide. Nevertheless, Ripple remains one of the most sought after digital currency with over $1.131 traded within 24 hours.
Ethereum, which saw an all time high of $1,432.88 on January 13, traded around $577 non Tuesday, marking a near 60 percent decline in a few weeks, according to the Coinmarketcap.com data. It was exchanging hands at $630.44 as at the time of writing.
The biggest loser in the top 100 cryptos by capitalisation, according to Coindesk, is the Ethereum based token called dent (in 75th place). The company aims to liberate mobile data by enabling users to sell or donate excess data via Ethereum blockchain.
British banking group Lloyds increased pressure by banning customers credit cards from buying cryptocurrencies. The ban extends to several of its major subsidiaries such as Halifax, MBNA and Bank of Scotland.
The decision followed the lead of a similar ban placed by four US banking giants JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Capital One, and Citigroup. The ban was aimed at protecting customers from running huge debt from buying virtual currencies on credit.