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Bitcoin price tumbles after Elon Musk hints Tesla may have dumped its holdings


An outspoken supporter of cryptocurrencies with cult-like following on social media, Musk holds immense sway with his market-moving tweets. He has been touting Dogecoin and significantly elevated the profile of the coin, which started as a joke and now ranks the 5th largest by market value.

Dogecoin is down 9.6 per cent in the last 24 hours, according to data from CoinMarketCap.com. Tesla didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Musk’s tweet.

Musk’s Sunday social-media escapades were the latest chapter in one of the zaniest weeks in a crypto world famous for its wildness. For die hards, the renewed slumps in bitcoin and other tokens have done nothing to deter crypto enthusiasts who say digital coins could many times their current value if they transform the financial system.

“We’re looking at the long-term and so these blips, they don’t faze us,” Emilie Choi, president and chief operating officer of crypto exchange Coinbase, said last week on Bloomberg TV about the wild swings prevalent in the market. “You’re looking for the long-term opportunity and you kind of buckle up and go for it.”

Seat belts were needed by anyone watching the crypto world in the past eight days. Aside from Musk’s antics that sent Doge and bitcoin on wild rides, a host of other developments pushed around prices.

Tether, the world’s largest stablecoin, disclosed a reserves breakdown that showed a large portion in unspecified commercial paper. Steve Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management announced that it would begin trading cryptocurrencies. And a longstanding critique of the space reared its head again: illicit usage.

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It was reported that the owners of the Colonial Pipeline paid a $US5 million ransom in untraceable digital currencies to hackers that attacked its infrastructure, while Bloomberg also reported that Binance , the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, was under investigation by the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service in relation to possible money-laundering and tax offences.

But, “for many crypto assets such as bitcoin and Ethereum, the long-term story has not changed,” said Simon Peters, an analyst at multi-asset investment platform eToro. “This emerging asset class continues to revolutionise many aspects of financial services, and while nothing goes up in a straight line, the long-term fundamentals for crypto assets remain as solid as ever.”

Bitcoin was already swinging wildly on the weekend before Musk tweeted. The two days tend to be particularly volatile for cryptocurrencies, which – unlike most traditional assets – trade around the clock every day of the week. Bitcoin’s average swing on Saturdays and Sundays so far this year comes in at 4.95 per cent.

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That type of volatility is owing to a few factors: bitcoin’s held by relatively few people, meaning that price swings can be magnified during low-volume periods. And, the market remains hugely fragmented with dozens of platforms operating under different standards. That means cryptocurrencies lack a centralised market structure akin to that of traditional assets.

Bloomberg

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