Update: Since this article was originally published on Thursday morning, Bitcoin has risen by about 20 percent to $3,700. It's still down 25 percent from its September 1 high. The original article follows.
The last year has seen an astonishing boom in the two most popular cryptocurrencies: bitcoin and ether—the latter being the currency of the Ethereum network. The price of bitcoins soared from around $1,000 at the start of the year to nearly $5,000 on September 1. Ether rose from $8 to almost $400 over the same period.
But now both currencies are plunging. Bitcoin has fallen to $3,000—an 18 percent drop in 24 hours and down by 40 percent from the start of the month. Ether is worth about $200, down more than 20 percent in 24 hours and almost 50 percent since September 1. And this is part of a broader cryptocurrency bloodbath, with dozens of lesser-known currencies posting double-digit losses in the last 24 hours.