Image: 123RF
Image: 123RF

Hong Kong — Cryptocurrencies continued their slide with a renewed bout of losses on Friday after the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) dashed hopes that a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund would appear before the end of 2018.

Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, slumped as much as 8.2%, taking it down past $3,400 to the lowest level since September 2017, according to consolidated pricing compiled by Bloomberg. The wider Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index sank 8.4% as rival tokens including Ether, Litecoin and XRP also retreated.

The SEC plans to decide by February 27 whether to approve a proposed ETF from financial-technology company SolidX Partners and asset manager Van Eck Associates Corporation, the agency said on December 6.

The proposal was set to get a decision from the SEC in December after previous delays and the new timeline is a fresh blow to an industry that’s seen prices fall throughout 2018. A key impediment has been a lack of mainstream institutional adoption, alongside continuing security and regulatory concerns.

“Sentiment in the market is really bad, any negative news has an exponential effect,” said Timothy Tam, co-founder and CEO of CoinFi, a cryptocurrency research firm.

With the latest rout, Bitcoin has now fallen more than 80% from its record high a year ago and is trading about 50% below its 200-day moving average, the most since January 2015, according to Bloomberg calculations. Cryptocurrencies have erased almost $730bn in value from a peak in January, according to data from CoinMarketCap.com.

Bloomberg