On Wednesday, after weeks of relatively quiet price action and low volatility, the cryptocurrency markets sold off to their lowest level of the year. Total market cap plunged to a low of $175 billion on Thursday morning before a small respite. Bitcoin's (BTC) price fell over 10 percent to $5,188 on the Coinbase exchange, Ethereum (ETH) tumbled 14 percent to $165.20, and Ripple (XRP) sank 16 percent to 40 cents. About $30 billion in market cap has been wiped out in two days, and Bitcoin's market cap dipped under $100 billion for the first time since October 2017. Smaller coins like Dash (DASH), Ardor (ARDR), and Wanchain (WAN) fared worse, collapsing up to 8 percent in just the last day.

The cryptocurrency community responded poorly to the new crash that pushed investors deeper into an already prolonged bear market. On Reddit's cryptocurrency subreddit, users posted the suicide support hotline. Some investors announced that they sold all their coins with "weak hands." Others remarked that the moment of capitulation and reversal was near. Others reminded people that there is more to crypto than the price, referring to the technology behind the coins. Some users stated their intention to hold their long positions and weather out the crash. Fear grew as the selling and losses mounted.

Many in the cryptocurrency community blamed the crash on Bitcoin Cash's (BCH) hard fork scheduled today. Bitcoin Cash, which originated as a hard fork of Bitcoin, splits its blockchain today into Bitcoin ABC, the core BCH coin, and Bitcoin SV, a new coin that quadruples the block size to allow greater transaction processing rates. The hard fork occurred because of disagreement in the Bitcoin Cash community over the direction of the coin. Though BCH rose in price after its hard fork from Bitcoin last year, it is possible that this week the hard fork spurred selling thanks to uncertainty over another hard fork and coin dilution.

Some other potential reasons for the selloff include the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) call for countries to explore central bank-backed digital currencies, not decentralized cryptocurrencies. Sweden, Canada, and China are already experimenting with the IMF's idea of state cryptos. Another factor could be spillover from the tech crash in the stock markets that have negatively impacted firms like AMD (AMD  ) and NVIDIA (NVDA  ), which make the specialized graphics cards used to mine coins. Regardless of what the real reasons may be, it seems that the volatility and crash, with a sudden bloodbath that surprised market observers, are here to stay.

The author owns a small amount of BTC.