Bitcoin fell to its lowest price in more than a year, ending its run of relative stability. The world’s largest cryptocurrency fell below $5,500 Wednesday. The price had consistently been over $6,000 since August.
Bitcoin rivals like Etherium, Litecoin and XRP all dropped more than 17 percent, Bloomberg reported, while Bitcoin Cash fell as much as 21 percent. The entire cryptocurrency market cap dropped by $15 billion in 24 hours Wednesday, according to CoinMarketCap.com. The total cryptocurrency market cap is down more than 70 percent since the beginning of the year.
The drop comes amid worries that investors may be leaving Bitcoin to raise money to buy Bitcoin Cash, the fourth-largest cryptocurrency after it splits into two separate versions as the result of a disagreement between its two biggest backers, Craig Wright and Roger Ver.
“Both Roger and Craig are advocating a different version of Bitcoin Cash,” eToro market analyst Mati Greenspan told Business Insider. “The end result will most likely be a split in the network resulting in two different versions of Bitcoin Cash when both upgrades go into effect this Thursday.”
Bitcoin Cash is scheduled for a “hard fork” on November 15 when it will split into “Bitcoin ABC,” or core BitCoin Cash, and “Bitvoic SV,” which is short for “Satoshi’s Vision,” CNBC reported. Bitcoin Cash was the result of a split from Bitcoin following a dispute over how to best scale the cryptocurrency.
A group headed by Wright, the self-proclaimed inventor of Bitcoin under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, is expected to take over BitCoin cash Thursday after a software update, Bloomberg reported. That is expected to lead to the creation of a new offshoot by a rival group led by Ver and Chinese mining giant Bitmain Technologies Ltd. About 70 percent of the miners that process Bitcoin Cash transactions are said to back Wright’s version, the outlet reported.
“This seems to be a personality conflict as much as a technology issue,” Lex Sokolin, the head of financial technology strategy at Autonomous Research in London, told Bloomberg. “Since the most contentious (from a philosophical perspective) part of the community amputated itself into Bitcoin Cash, it should not be a surprise that they are capable of further self-mutilation.”
Some cryptocurrency exchanges are already taking sides. Coinbase said it will support Ver’s ABC version over Wright’s SV.
“The chain will split in two, but the economy will support ABC and reject SV (Satoshi’s Vision),” predicted Jonathan Bier, the head of research at BitMex. “SV will have a low price and miners will leave it in a few weeks.”