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Cryptocurrencies Tumble, With Bitcoin Falling 15% and Ether Down 20%

Yu Chun Christopher Wong | S3studio | Getty Images

Bitcoin prices fell sharply on Friday, while ether prices also dived, wiping off nearly $150 billion from the crypto market.

Bitcoin fell about 15% and was trading around $36,000 late Friday, according to Coin Metrics. Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, dived about 20% to trade around $2,500.

The declines in cryptocurrencies follow Wall Street losses on Thursday. The Nasdaq Composite lost 7.6% this week, and the S&P 500 fell 5.7% for its third straight weekly decline.

Rising rates have prompted investors to shed positions in riskier assets. Earlier this week, the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield traded above 1.9%.

The Federal Reserve have also indicated it plans to begin reducing its balance sheet, as well as tapering of bonds and raising interest rates.

A common investment case for bitcoin is that it serves as a hedge against rising inflation as a result of government stimulus, but analysts are saying the risk is that a more hawkish Federal Reserve may take the wind out of bitcoin's sails.

Bitcoin prices have fallen sharply since November, tumbling more than 40% from a record high of about $69,000.

Some experts warn that the crypto market could be heading toward a downturn soon, as heightened regulatory scrutiny and intense price fluctuations dampened bitcoin's prospects.

Regulators are cracking down on cryptocurrencies too. China completely banning all crypto-related activities and U.S. authorities are also clamping down on certain aspects of the market.

CNBC's Ryan Browne contributed to this report.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that bitcoin's all-time high in November was about $69,000.

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