Profit-taking over the Thanksgiving holiday stalled bitcoin’s rally and kept the token from retaking record highs not seen since 2017.
The world’s most popular cryptocurrency sank as much as 5.9%, to $16,242.70, over the last 24 hours. The slide is bitcoin’s biggest since the coronavirus first roiled markets in March, and reverses the weeks-long uptrend fueled by renewed bullishness.
Bitcoin came within $300 of setting a new all-time high as recently as Wednesday when it reached an intraday high of $19,494. With the $19,000 resistance level first cleared on Tuesday, all eyes were on whether the coin could rise above $20,000 for the first time.
“This instrument remains as volatile and highly speculative as ever,” Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda Europe, said Friday. “There may be more reasons to be bullish on cryptos than there were three years ago but some things simply haven’t changed. The wild ride continues.”
The cryptocurrency’s sell-off dragged on other tokens throughout the day. Ethereum fell as much as 8.1%, and XRP sank 15.9% at 24-hour lows.
Bitcoin enjoyed extraordinary momentum heading into the Thanksgiving holiday. Adoption of cryptocurrency trading on PayPal sparked the token’s rally in October, and bullish commentary from Wall Street giants including Mike Novogratz and Rick Rieder further boosted prices. New interest from retail investors extended the surge through November before Thursday’s about-face.
To be sure, bitcoin has still more than doubled in 2020 despite its slump. The magnitude of its rise and fall through the year resembles the boom and bust from 2017. It remains to be seen whether intense price swings pull bitcoin all the way back to around $3,000 as it did three years ago. While some tout a wider investor base as a key support for the cryptocurrency, others are unconvinced bitcoin’s wild volatility will cool any time soon.
Bitcoin traded at $17,054.31 as of 8:20 a.m. ET Friday, up 135% year-to-date.
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