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Techlash Crushes Cryptos - Bitcoin Tumbles 50% In Q1, Back Below $8k

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Bitcoin has tumbled overnight, back below $8,000, and is now down 48% year-to-date, as cryptocurrencies have accelerated lower this week amid the carnage in tech stocks.

Bitcoin's dead-cat-bounce did not last long...

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But the week has been a bloodbath for all cryptocurrencies...

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And the overnight weakness is most interesting considering the PBOC appeared to ease back away from its blanket bans on cryptos somewhat. Bloomberg reports that the Chinese central bank will promote digital currency research and development, Deputy Governor Fan Yifei said at a national currency, gold and silver work conference, according to a statement on PBOC website.

Overnight also saw two Japanese crypto exchanges choose shutdown as opposed to regulatory compliance. As CoinTelegraph reports, Japan’s financial services regulator continues to reshape the country’s cryptocurrency exchange industry as two operators announce they are closing, local source Nikkei states March 28.

Two Japanese exchanges, Mr. Exchange and Tokyo GateWay, will cease trading once they have returned customer funds, according to Nikkei.

The news comes as financial regulator, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) challenges exchanges to prove their security credentials in the wake of Coincheck’s $530 mln hack in January.

As a result of FSA inspections and requests, several operators have opted to stop servicing the Japanese market, Cointelegraph previously reported.

Prior to their closure, Mr. Exchange and Tokyo GateWay were both in the process of securing a license as part of a scheme introduced by Japan in April 2017.

In a blog post March 29, the former confirmed it had withdrawn its application:

“While this is a regrettable result, at present we have determined that it is difficult to be in a state of readiness to be able to respond to changes in the virtual currency landscape, so we decided to withdraw the application for a virtual currency exchange business.”

Tokyo GateWay’s website is currently offline, with no official correspondence available to confirm the Nikkei report.

The FSA meanwhile continues to drip-feed new market players to Japanese consumers, with 16 exchanges obtaining a license since the scheme opened.

This week, internet giant Yahoo! announced it would seek to launch its own operation by April 2019.

However, that was a drop in the ocean compared to the carnage suffered in cryptos in Q1, with Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Thereum practically cut in half, and 23017's best performer, Ripple, crashing over 70%...

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This is officially the worst quarter for Bitcoin in its history...

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And while one alternative currency tumbles, another rises for the 3rd straight quarter...

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Which only compounds the concerns of the looming 'death cross' in Bitcoin (when the 50DMA crosses below the 200DMA)...

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But there is light at the end of this ugly tunnel of doom for cryptos. CoinTelegraph reports that Cryptocurrency investment app Abra’s CEO forecast that “all hell will break loose” in Bitcoin and altcoin markets this year in a fresh mainstream media interview March 28.

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image courtesy of CoinTelgraph

Speaking to Business Insider two weeks after the startup announced it had raised $40mln in new funding since October, CEO Bill Barhydt said western institutional money would begin to “dip its toes” into crypto assets in 2018.

In doing so, Barhydt continues a popular narrative that institutional investors ‘waiting’ for an opportune moment will transform Bitcoin and major altcoin price performance.

Bitcoin continued to sink towards fresh bi-weekly lows March 29, circling around $7600 according to Cointelegraph’s price trackerEthereum, which has lost 52% of its value in a month, is set to challenge $400 a coin.

“I talk to hedge funds, high net worth individuals, even commodity speculators. They look at the volatility in the crypto markets and they see it as a huge opportunity,” Barhydt nonetheless reports adopting a conspicuously bullish tone.

“Once that happens, all hell will break loose. Once the floodgates are opened, they're opened.”

Even cryptocurrency industry analysts have recently aired caution about short-term price prospects for Bitcoin.

Regular commentator Tone Vays had warned during recent highs that until resistance around $12,000 was cleared, prices would continue to post lacklustre performance - and could even drop lower than current levels.

For Barhydt, however, future potential takes prevalence over short-term volatility between $6000 and $12,000.

“There really is zero large-scale institutional money from the west in crypto right now. That is happening in Japan,” he continued.

“...We're getting closer and closer to real clarity in the West that it's OK putting half a percent of your assets into crypto.”

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