Ethereum Sets New Record; Bitcoin Price Moves Sideways

Even an apology by JPMorgan Chase Inc. (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon was not enough to arrest a slide in bitcoin’s price. The price of a single bitcoin, which had rallied briefly to $15,348.90 earlier this morning, was trading at $14,446.46, down 3.50% from its price 24 hours ago, at 13:43 UTC.

Dimon, who had earlier called bitcoin a “fraud,” said he regretted that characterization of the cryptocurrency at a healthcare conference organized by his company. He also said he was “not interested in the subject at all.” 

With the exception of ethereum, other cryptocurrencies in the top 10 most-traded list were down. Ethereum moved up to the second spot with a 7.3% jump that boosted its overall valuation to $117.7 billion. Its price also set a new record this morning by trading above $1,200. Reports have ascribed investor enthusiasm for the cryptocurrency to the doubling of transaction rates on its network to 10 per second. Earlier, its founder had announced increased funding for research and development to further improve the network. 

Ripple (XFP), which slid to third place in the list, again led the decline, falling by 10.5% to trade at $2.24. It had a market cap of $87 billion at 14:07 UTC.

TRON, which surged into the top 10 only last week, was not far behind with a 9.2% reduction in its price from 24 hours ago. The coin, which was started by a protege of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (BABA) chair Jack Ma, was trading at $0.14, roughly half its value from a week ago. (See also: TRON Surges; Ethereum Tops $1,000 As Bitcoin Price Falls.) 

The overall market capitalization of cryptocurrencies was $710.2 billion, down 7.2% from $766 billion this morning. 

South Korea’s Crackdown and Tron’s White Paper 

The precipitous fall in cryptocurrency markets yesterday occurred because CoinMarketCap, the site that lists prices and valuations, did not include data from South Korean exchanges. It cited price discrepancies from global prices at exchanges in South Korea as a reason.

Cryptocurrency investing has become “irrationally heated” in South Korea, and prices at Bithumb, the country’s largest exchange, often trade at a premium as compared to other venues. (See also: Why South Korean Bitcoin Price Is $1,000 Over Global Prices.) In fact, Ripple’s recent price surge was a direct consequence of trading volumes at the exchange. Even today, Bithumb accounts for 34.3% of overall trading in the cryptocurrency. 

In the meanwhile, TRON, a cryptocurrency that came out of nowhere to garner a $14 billion valuation by January 5, may turn out to be a textbook case of the bubble mania that has gripped cryptocurrency markets. The coin, which aims to construct a decentralized network for content, does not have a product or blockchain in place. Quite simply, investors pushing up its valuation are buying on promises of a product in a white paper.

“Justin is working on promoting Tron first, and working on the product later,” Trustnodes, a site reporting on the cryptocurrency, was told. The site further reported yesterday that Tron's white paper has been plagiarized from IPFS, another, similar blockchain. 

Finally, here’s another sign of the mania. Shares for hard-disk maker Seagate technology (STX) jumped after a Seeking Alpha post claimed that it had invested in Ripple, the payment network responsible for the XRP cryptocurrency.

“While we aren’t certain how much capital Seagate invested nor how much, if any, XRP it owns, given Ripple’s recent meteoric rise, it is conceivable that Seagate is potentially holding a meaningful amount of value in the form of XRP,” wrote Edward Parker, an analyst at BTIG Research. 

Investing in cryptocurrencies and other Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”) is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or other ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns 0.001 bitcoin.

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