Nearly $13 billion wiped off of cryptocurrency market as major coins plunge

A visual representation of the digital Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, is seen on September 04 2018 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

Yu Chun Christopher Wong | S3studio | Getty Images

A visual representation of the digital Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, is seen on September 04 2018 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

The price of major cryptocurrencies plunged on Thursday with nearly $13 billion of value being wiped out in a matter of hours.

Many cryptocurrency enthusiasts hoped 2018 would be a year that regulators warmed up to the idea of professionalizing the trading of digital assets through new financial products like exchange-traded funds. But the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has rejected several ETFs including a highly anticipated one planned by the Winklevoss twins. Other countries, including China, have come down hard on cryptocurrencies.

At the same time, the year has been marked by high-profile hacks on cryptocurrency exchanges as well as a number of scams tied to people carrying out so-called initial coin offerings.

All of those factors have meant that bitcoin, XRP and ethereum have not recovered to the record highs seen toward the end of 2017 and beginning of this year. On Thursday, bitcoin was more than 68 percent off of its record high of $19,783.21, which it hit on Dec. 17 of last year.

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