Ripple's XRP tumbles to its lowest price in months

Ripple’s XRP cryptocurrency is tumbling alongside most major coins, falling more than 32% to a low of $US0.742 early Friday morning, it’s lowest levels since December.

At the same time, bitcoin– still easily the largest and most well-known cryptocurrency – also fell to its lowest point in months, briefly falling well below $US8,000.

Other cryptocurrencies are registering similarly steep declines. In fact, the market value of all main cryptocurrencies in circulation has dropped from just under $US500 billion to around $US400 billion in the last 24 hours, as this chart from shows:

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Market capitalisation is an inexact measure of cryptocurrencies, as Business Insider has previously reported, but it at least gives a good idea of the scale of the current sell-off.

Neil Wilson, a senior market analyst with ETX Capital, says in an email: “The wheels are coming off the bitcoin bandwagon. The regulatory crunch appears closer than ever and sooner or later this market could be headed back down to earth. Selling pressure at the moment is intense as there has been nothing but bad news for bitcoin bulls of late.”

This week began with news that major exchange Bitfinex and associated cryptocurrency company Tether had been hit with subpoenas from the US Commodities Futures Tading Commission back in December, and made worse when India’s finance minister spoke out against cryptocurrencies’ use.

The Indian government ““does not consider cryptocurrencies legal tender or coin and will take all measures to eliminate use of these crypto-assets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payment system,” he told lawmakers in the country.

Will Martin and Oscar Williams-Grut assisted with reporting from London.

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