Cryptocurrencies plunged suddenly in afternoon trading on Wednesday, spurring a guessing game of potential catalyst among enthusiasts and investors. The price of Bitcoin dropped below $10,000 for the first time since July.
The largest digital token fell as much as 5.6%, before trading at $9,686 as of 3:40 p.m. in New York. Peer coins also sold off, with Bitcoin Cash falling close to 4% and Litecoin dropping about 8%.
As with many things crypto, enthusiasts and skeptics alike were quick to point the finger on Twitter and Reddit, though it remained anyone’s guess as to what the catalyst was.
“From our end, it looks like it was a sell-off to cash settle futures that are coming due on Friday for BTC,” said Dave Balter, chief executive of Flipside Crypto in Boston. His firm tracks blockchain transaction data, differentiating between users and speculators, and includes large trades and their originations.
Thin trading volumes likely exacerbated the moves. That made sense to Jeff Dorman, chief investment officer at Arca.