Bitcoin fell after Elon Musk sent a cryptic tweet that appeared to hint to a possible split with the largest cryptocurrency, the latest post from the billionaire to buffet the token’s price.
As of 7:05 a.m. in London, the coin had plummeted 5.4 percent to $36,980. The drop has harmed the crypto sector's recent stabilisation following a collapse in May. The Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index has dropped 5.7 percent.
With a series of social media tweets, Musk has roiled Bitcoin and other digital tokens. Most notably, the tycoon last month overturned a proposal to allow Bitcoin sales of Tesla Inc. electric automobiles, citing the environmental impact of the energy required by the cryptocurrency's computers. This, combined with severe Chinese regulatory rhetoric, resulted in a drop in the sector.
Mr Musk posted “#Bitcoin” with a broken heart emoji and a reference to a phrase from Linkin Park's hit song In the End in his most recent tweet.
Other sections of the market have been affected by Mr Musk's Twitter account: Samsung Publishing, a shareholder in the maker of the Baby Shark viral YouTube song, had its stock rise this week after Mr Musk tweeted about the jingle.
Bitcoin is around $28,000 short of its all-time high of about $65,000 set in mid-April. The most ardent cryptocurrency supporters claim that the token is only consolidating before a surge higher to new highs.
However, Mr Musk's focus on environmental hazards, as well as the way his tweets influence price swings, has harmed the narrative that the virtual currency will eventually gain general acceptance.
Following the suspension of Bitcoin payments to Tesla, Mr Musk later clarified that the business had not sold any of its Bitcoin holdings, rebutting another of his tweets that had sparked speculation over whether Tesla had done so.
The crypto missives have fueled debate as to why the electric-car pioneer is sending them out.
Tesla announced a $1.5 billion Bitcoin investment in February. According to the company's earnings report from April, it liquidated 10% of its Bitcoin holdings.
Despite the drop in May, Bitcoin has gained 285 percent in the last year, while second-placed Ether has gained more than 1,000 percent. The Bloomberg cryptocurrency index has increased by around sixfold.