Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Business

Ether plunges after SEC says “dozens” of ICO investigations underway

The Ethereum cryptocurrency is below $500 for the first time since 2017.

The price of ether, the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network, has fallen below $500 for the first time this year. The decline comes days after a senior official from the Securities and Exchange Commission acknowledged that the agency had “dozens” of open investigations into initial coin offerings. The price of ether has fallen 19 percent in the last 24 hours, from $580 to $470.

“We’re doing obviously a lot in the crypto space, and we’re seeing a lot in the crypto space,” said Stephanie Avakian, co-director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, at a conference on Thursday. “We are very active, and I would just expect to see more and more.”

The SEC’s decision to aggressively police cryptocurrency offerings is particularly significant for the Ethereum community because many new cryptocurrency offerings are built on top of the Ethereum platform. People creating a new token on the Ethereum blockchain need to buy ether, the currency used to pay for Ethereum transactions. So if aggressive SEC enforcement ends the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) boom—which seems to be cooling anyway—it would remove a major factor that pushed ether’s value upward during 2017.

Ether has seen the biggest losses of any major cryptocurrency over the last 24 hours, but other coins took losses as well. Bitcoin has dropped 6 percent in the last 24 hours, falling below $7,500 for the first time since early February. Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Monero, and Dash are all down around 10 percent.

Ethereum’s falling price has created an atmosphere of gloom on /r/ethtrader, the subreddit for ethereum speculation.

“‘Buy the dip’ only works in bullish markets,” one Redditor wrote. “This is not a ‘dip’ – It’s a prolonged bearish trend which has seen prices (and volume) get lower by the week.”

By TIMOTHY B. LEE @ arstechnica.com

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