TRADING activity in cryptocurrency exchanges has halved from its December peak, industry data shows, as retail interest in the -

Virtual coins decline and the prices of many remain far below their very recent highs.

Average traded volumes across cryptocurrency exchanges fell to $9.1 billion in March and to $7.4 billion in the first half of April, compared to-

Almost $17 billion in December, according to data compiled by crypto analysis website CryptoCompare.

Rocketing prices of digital currencies such as Bitcoin fueled a mania in the sector towards the end of 2017 as retail investors across the globe scrambled to get a piece of action.

That triggered regulator warnings and threats to crackdown on the markets.

China, a major market has shut down local cryptocurrency trading exchanges.

Since peaking in December and January, bitcoin's price has more than halved, while the second and third largest cryptocurrencies Ethereum and Ripple's XRP  has lost even more of their value.

But crypto-trading volumes in March and April have only fallen back to their levels of November. they remain as much as 25 times above their levels of March-April last year.

''Volumes are down because there was a hype cycle in December on the back of futures products  coming to market.

You'll find that most of that was retail-driven, with Korea and Japan as major instigators,'' said Charles Hayter, London-based CryptoCompare's co-founder.

''The governments have now dampened some of that irrational exuberance.''

People involved in the industry say trading activity outside of exchanges, an over-the-counter-markets, where large institutional investors tend to trade, has held up far better.

Major exchanges with drops of more than half in daily traded volumes between December and March include Bitfinex, San Francisco, based Coinstamp and  Luxembourg-based Bitstamp and Poloniex, which was recently bought by Goldman Sachs backed cryptocurrency start-up Circle.

The Research Publishing continues to Part 2. [Agencies]


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