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Bitcoin Cash Skyrockets by 40%, While Litecoin Drops by 10%

By Matthew Frankel, CFP® - Dec 20, 2017 at 3:45PM

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Here's what's moving cryptocurrencies today.

Bitcoin prices have swung wildly over the past day, going as low as $15,700 and nearly reaching $17,700 all within the last 24 hours, but they're currently little changed. However, two of the other major cryptocurrencies are making big moves, one positive and one negative. Here's where the top five cryptocurrencies stand, and what's responsible for the big price moves.

Today's cryptocurrency prices

Here's a look at the five largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, and how much each has changed over the past 24 hours.

Cryptocurrency Name (Code)

Price in U.S. Dollars

Day's Change

Bitcoin (BTC)

$16,635

(3.9%)

Ethereum (ETH)

$802

0.3%

Bitcoin cash (BCH)

$3,741.40

40.1%

Ripple (XRP)

$0.73

0.7%

Litecoin (LTC)

$316.10

(9.8%)

Data Source: www.investing.com. Prices and daily changes as of Dec. 20, 2017 at 2:45 p.m. EST, and prices are rounded to the nearest cent, where applicable.

As you can see, the price of bitcoin itself is down a bit, while the most significant move on the chart is bitcoin cash's 40% one-day rise. In addition, notice that Litecoin dropped by nearly 10%.

Stacks of gold coins with bitcoin logos.

Image Source: Getty Images.

Let's take a look at the reasons behind today's two big moves.

Bitcoin cash is now available on Coinbase

Bitcoin cash, the digital currency that was spun off from bitcoin earlier in 2017 in what's known as a "hard fork," was introduced on leading bitcoin exchange Coinbase yesterday. This immediately led to a spike in bitcoin cash prices, thanks to the higher trading volume, and lower bitcoin prices, presumably because more trader interest was directed to bitcoin cash.

In fact, the 40% gain in the table above doesn't even begin to tell the whole story. It has been an incredibly volatile 24 hours for bitcoin cash. Shortly after it began trading on Coinbase, the price of bitcoin cash spiked to more than $8,000 before retreating.

However, just four hours after bitcoin cash was introduced on the exchange, Coinbase suspended trading of it due to accusations of insider trading by Coinbase employees. Trading has since restarted, but it's been a wild ride so far.

Litecoin's founder has exited the cryptocurrency

Charlie Lee, the creator of litecoin, announced that he has sold off all of his holdings in the cryptocurrency. Like bitcoin cash, Litecoin was another "fork" of the bitcoin network; however, it occurred back in 2011, before most people knew what bitcoin was.

Essentially, Lee said that the sale was to prevent a perceived conflict of interest. And it makes sense. After all, Lee's tweets and other remarks about litecoin can certainly move the market. So, if he were to buy or sell the digital currency, it could be perceived as Lee making the comments for his own personal gain.

Lee says that he's either sold off or donated all of his litecoin holdings recently. And although his reasoning for the sale wasn't necessarily a negative one, traders seem to be interpreting it that way, with the digital currency off by nearly 10% today.

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