Bitcoin, the world's biggest and best-known cryptocurrency, slipped below USD 60,000 on Tuesday, taking losses from a record high of USD 69,000 struck on November 10 to more than 12 percent.
Bitcoin was down 5 percent at USD 60,391.3 at 1253 GMT, after earlier falling as much as USD 58,563, its lowest since October 28, while Ether, the second-biggest cryptocurrency by market value, was down 6.8 percent at USD 4,253.08.
Cryptocurrency analysts could not identify any particular news driving the falls, which they said seemed to be driven by profit-taking after a recent sharp run-up.
Bitcoin has more than doubled in value since June, driven by the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies and the launch in the United States of futures-based bitcoin exchange-traded funds.
And on Sunday it went through a major upgrade, called Taproot, that enables its blockchain to execute more complex transactions, potentially widening the virtual currency's use cases and making it a little more competitive with ethereum for processing smart contracts.
"The fall below 60,000, puts (Bitcoin) below the 62,000 support level, slightly into the 'short term' bearish zone," said Sylvia Jablonski, chief investment officer at Defiance ETFs in New York.
"The next key support level is 58,000, but I think it gets bought up here, and demand-driven prices will begin to play out to the upside."
Most investors expect bitcoin to remain between USD 50,000 to 75,000 in the next 12 months, according to BofA Securities' monthly fund manager survey, while 59 percent believe bitcoin is in a bubble.
Jehan Chu, managing partner at Hong Kong blockchain venture capital firm Kenetic, said it could potentially break "the USD 100k level before year's end".
Money pouring into bitcoin products and funds have hit a record USD 9 billion so far this year, and totalled USD 151 million last week in their 13th consecutive week of inflows, data from digital asset manager CoinShares showed on Monday.
Although flows have been positive recently, volumes have been subdued in the second half, averaging USD 750 million daily versus USD 960 million in the first, the CoinShares report said.
First Published: IST