Crypto Extend Losses Amid Reports That Bitcoin Prices Was Manipulated During 2017 By

© Reuters. Cryptocurrency extended losses on Thursday – Cryptocurrency extended losses on Thursday, with Bitcoin now plunged more than 20% since the beginning of the week amid reports that its prices were manipulated during its 2017 peak.

was trading at $6,483.7 by 12:59AM ET (04:59GMT) on the Bitfinex exchange, down 1.8% over the previous 24 hours.

, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, was down 2.4% at $486.1 on the Bitfinex exchange.

’s XRP token slumped 7.1% higher to $0.54960 on the Poloniex exchange.

Meanwhile, lost 4.3% to $95.88.

Tether, one of the highly-traded cryptocurrencies, consistently showed certain patterns involving Bitcoin at crucial moments that helped drove the virtual coin to its peak in December, a report by a University of Texas professor said on Wednesday.

“Tether seems to be used both to stabilize and manipulate Bitcoin prices,” finance professor John Griffin and co-author Amin Shams wrote in a paper released Wednesday.

Bitcoin is now down almost 70% from its record high of $19,511 set in December.

“Things have changed for Bitcoin and the crypto space,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at London-based online trading firm Oanda Corp. “There doesn’t seem to be as much hype, or positive news. Every time we get a negative news story now — after a period of consolidation — we don’t see bullish sentiment come in to support it. It’s almost as if people are waiting to sell it.”

The Justice Department launched a criminal investigation into illegal trading practices that could potentially manipulate the price of Bitcoin and other popular virtual currencies, Bloomberg reported in May.

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