Bitcoin fell about $530, or 5%, in a 40-minute span after being mostly flat for the day, according to data from industry site CoinDesk, continuing a volatile year for the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency.
Fellow cryptocurrency Ethereum also took a similar dive on Wednesday, dropping about 9% during the same time window. It is not clear what triggered the sell offs.
Bitcoin was down about 4.3% for the day, while Ethereum slumped 8.3%.
Bitcoin is up more than 150% for the year, fueled in part by Facebook’s announcement of Libra, its cryptocurrency project. Some analysts said Libra was creating more awareness about digital asset classes.
However, Libra has faced heavy scrutiny from politicians and regulators, and Bitcoin is now well below the level of more than $12,600 that it was trading at in July.
Ethereum also hit recent highs after Libra was announced, but the price of the digital currency is only up roughly 14% for the year.
Governments around the world are exploring creating their own cryptocurrencies. A senior official for the Chinese government said earlier this month that the country was close to releasing its own digital currency.