Bitcoin crashes 15% as cryptocurrency investors pour money into bitcoin cash
The bitcoin sell-off continued on Wednesday after the leading platform for buying and selling the cryptocurrency, Coinbase, announced it was rolling out support for rival bitcoin cash.
“Sends and receives are available immediately. Buys and sells will be available to all customers once there is sufficient liquidity on GDAX. We anticipate that this will take a few hours,” the exchange announced in a blog post on Tuesday.
An update on Bitcoin Cash for our customers: sends and receives are functional. Buys and sells on https://t.co/bCG11KMQ6s and in our mobile apps will be available to all customers once there is sufficient liquidity on GDAX. We anticipate that this will happen tomorrow. https://t.co/8obYSZB1NK— Coinbase (@coinbase) December 20, 2017
Coinbase said in an updated tweet that buying and selling would likely not be available until Wednesday. Bitcoin cash trading has also been suspended on GDAX until noon on Wednesday.
The news sent the value of bitcoin cash soaring more than 50 percent to $3,800 per coin. It then retreated to $3,549 per coin as of 7:20 GMT.
The original bitcoin, which was trading at more than $19,000 on Tuesday, slid to $16,353 in less than 24 hours.
Bitcoin cash split off from bitcoin on August 1 after a group of developers decided to try to improve transaction speeds and costs. The majority of those who supported the conventional bitcoin failed to reach an agreement this fall on their own upgrade proposal – SegWit2x.
At first, the split did not impact the price of bitcoin. The newly minted bitcoin cash became worth around $600 per token. However, since August, the value of all bitcoin cash in circulation has soared from about $10 billion to $60 billion.
Bitcoin payment processor BitPay and major cryptocurrency storage company Blockchain recently said they would support bitcoin cash.
The community of bitcoin supporters have also split into rival camps, with some shifting to bitcoin cash.
The co-founder of Bitcoin.com, Emil Oldenburg, recently criticized the cryptocurrency as the “most risky investment you can make,” after he transferred his investment to bitcoin cash. He has encouraged investors to sell the “high risk” bitcoin, calling bitcoin cash “the future.”
“I’ve actually sold all my bitcoins recently and switched to bitcoin cash,” Oldenburg said. “As soon as people realise that this is how it works, [they] will start selling.”
Bitcoin managed to recover some of its losses on Wednesday, trading just below $18,000 as of 13:00 GMT.