Bitcoin has suffered a significant setback after plunging in value by thousands of dollars to take the cryptocurrency’s price to below $10,000.
The losses mean bitcoin has shed more than a quarter of its value over the last seven days, marking the end to a prolonged period of gains that began at the beginning of 2019.
The latest price crash comes after Facebook executive David Marcus appeared at a hearing to face questions about the tech giant’s plans to launch its own cryptocurrency called Libra. Bitcoin lost almost $1,000 in the space of just one hour immediately following the hearing, wiping more than $10 billion from the cryptocurrency’s overall value.
Bitcoin’s current price of around $9,500 remains well up from the start of the year, when it was trading below $4,000, but a long way off its all-time high of close to $20,000, which it reached in late 2017.
During the hearing, Mr Marcus was told by senators that Facebook is “delusional” to believe people will trust the company with their money.
One senator went as far as to say Facebook pushes forward an agenda that promotes “flagrant displays of bulls***”.
Other senators raised concerns that the Libra cryptocurrency could be exploited by criminal organisations to facilitate money laundering, or even finance terrorist activities.
After the hearing, Mr Marcus tweeted that Facebook’s cryptocurrency would not be launched until the firm has “addressed regulator concerns”.
The notoriously volatile nature of the cryptocurrency market means it is difficult to attribute bitcoin’s price movements to a single event, though many investors may have been spooked by the tough stance US lawmakers took on Facebook’s attempt to launch its own cryptocurrency.
“The criticisms of Google, Facebook and all cryptocurrencies have unsettled investors,” Marcus Swanepoel, CEO of cryptocurrency firm Luno, told The Independent.
Despite the losses, many bitcoin advocates remain positive about the future of the cryptocurrency.
One of the most outspoken figures in the space is cyber security pioneer John McAfee, who earlier this week stood by his bet that bitcoin will hit $1 million by the end of 2020.
“Bitcoin is at the mid 10’s and people worry. LMFAO!! Why do you pay attention to weekly fluctuations? Look at the past few months… It’s rising drastically,” he tweeted.