Cryptos face muted trade as Bitcoin Cash set for key split


After a torrid few trading sessions, cryptocurrencies have taken a breather, with most major coins opening Tuesday at or around yesterdays levels.

The No. 1 digital currency, bitcoin
BTCUSD, -3.60%
bounced off the support ahead of $8,000 and last traded at $8,784.77, down 0.8% since Mondays levels at 5 p.m. Eastern time on the Kraken exchange.


The growth of the cryptocurrency market got a boost Monday when U.S. exchange Coinbase announced a raft of new products to satisfy its growing institutional demand.

There is clear demand from institutional clients and financial services professionals for more specific solutions with regard to cryptocurrencies that address their sophisticated needs, said Adam White, vice president and general manager of Coinbase Institutional in a press release.

Through new products like Coinbase Prime and Coinbase Custody, were building the necessary capability for institutions that allows cryptocurrencies to be traded and stored in a compliant, trusted and efficient manner.


Bitcoin Cash to hard fork today

Expected Tuesday is a hard fork of Bitcoin Cash to the new Bitcoin ABC software. A hard fork is usually a fundamental change of the blockchain, or distributed-ledger technology, underpinning a coin. Typically, a hard fork results in two separate coins created, like when Bitcoin Cash forked from core bitcoin in a contentious split over scalability in August, resulting in core and cash versions of the virtual currency. The cash version represented an upgrade to processing power to 8-megabyte units, rather than the one-megabyte block core bitcoin.


This hard fork of Bitcoin Cash, however, differs from a conventional hark fork in that no new coins will be created and the older version of BCH will carry no economic value and become obsoleteif all goes well. The upgraded BCH will mean blocksizes will be increased to 32MB, resulting in even faster transactions and lower network fees, according to market participants.

What are altcoins and futures doing?

Other alternative coins to bitcoin, or alt coins, are showing small losses to begin Tuesday. Ether
ETHUSD, -2.61%
is down 0.8% at $731.73, Bitcoin Cash
BCHUSD, -5.51%
is off 1.5% at $1,429.30, Litecoin
LTCUSD, -6.99%
is off 3% at $146.63 and Ripples XRP
XRPUSD, -4.93%
last traded at 74 cents, down 0.4%.


Futures have had a quiet start to the trading day. The Cboe May contract
XBTK8, -2.48%
is unchanged at $8,755 while the CME May contract
BTCK8, -2.46%
is up 0.1% at $8,765.


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Quote References BTCUSD -318.08 -3.60% ETHUSD -19.25 -2.61% BCHUSD -80.00 -5.51% LTCUSD -10.56 -6.99% XRPUSD -0.04 -4.93% XBTK8 -217.50 -2.48% BTCK8 -215.00 -2.46% Show all references
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Aaron Hankin is a MarketWatch reporter in New York who covers cryptocurrency and financial markets.

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