2 reasons why Bitcoin is down today

The crypto market sell-off continues, with Bitcoin down once again to start the week.

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This article was originally published on Fool.com. All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

What happened

As the world's largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, and still the most influential token in the crypto market, Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) continues to generate a tremendous amount of attention. The direction this token moves on a given day often sets the tone for the entire market. Such appears to be the case today.

As of noon ET, Bitcoin has declined 1.5% over the past 24 hours. This move has coincided with an overall market decline of 2.7% over this same time frame. While Bitcoin has seen smaller declines than many of the higher-risk altcoins today, investors appear to be pointing to trading volumes and a relatively high concentration of Bitcoin being held by a few individuals as reasons to be cautious today.

So what

Volume is an interesting metric to follow, both in the crypto market and stock market. Investors and traders alike tend to want to know what's driving various moves, and volume can provide some insight into the shorter-term price action of a given asset. In the case of Bitcoin, various significant sell-offs in recent years have been tied to mass selling. The good news: We haven't seen a significant volume spike coinciding with a major decline this year. However, should volumes pick up, and this sell-off continue, a momentum-driven move to the downside could incite more selling than Bitcoin bulls would like to see.

Additionally, a report from The National Bureau of Economic Research has some investors on edge today. This report suggests that a very small fraction (0.01%) of all Bitcoin holders control 27% of the supply of this top cryptocurrency. Concentrated ownership of any asset provides increased risk for those holding smaller stakes. In the case of crypto, these risks are amplified, as it's impossible to know for sure who owns these tokens, and what their intentions are with respect to holding these tokens long-term.

Now what

It's worth noting that Bitcoin is still up significantly on a year-to-date basis. This token is up approximately 60% since the beginning of the year, outpacing the returns of the stock market and providing investors with a tangible diversification thesis to own this token.

That said, it's clear that investors of all stripes are looking to de-risk their portfolios today. Given the inherent volatility that's materialized with Bitcoin over the past decade, investors may be looking to reduce exposure to high-risk assets, and focus on adding heavier exposure to more defensive assets.

Today's report on the relatively high concentration of Bitcoin ownership, along with various volume-related concerns, appear to have investors on edge. Perhaps these concerns will dissipate over the longer term as Bitcoin's investor base broadens and the crypto market continues to mature. However, over the short term, it appears more volatility could be on the horizon for Bitcoin and other tokens as well. 

This article was originally published on Fool.com. All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

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Chris MacDonald has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns and recommends Bitcoin. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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