Investing.com - The price of the digital currency bitcoin fell below the $6,000 level on Sunday to trade down more than $1,000 from an all-time high hit on Wednesday amid a shift by traders to bitcoin offshoot Bitcoin Cash.
On the U.S.-based Bitfinex exchange, Bitcoin hit a low of $5,426.00, its lowest since October 25 before pulling back to trade at $6,143.30 by 04:49 AM ET (09:49 AM GMT), still down 2.5% for the day.
Bitcoin has fallen in recent sessions after a software upgrade planned for next week that could have split the cryptocurrency in a so-called "fork" was called off due to waning support.
The planned split or fork, known as "SegWit2x", had intended to allow for more transactions to be processed at any given time, making fees for bitcoin transactions much cheaper.
As Bitcoin tumbled, Bitcoin Cash, which was generated from another software split on August 1, surged.
Bitcoin Cash hit an all-time high of $2,790.00, before pulling back to $1,680.60, still up 26.36% for the day.
Bitcoin Cash has a total market cap of around $27 billion at current prices, making it the third most valuable cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin has tended to rebound quickly from pullbacks. Bitcoin started the year near $1,000 and at current prices has a total market capitalization of around $103 billion.
In a sign that the financial industry is starting to warm up to bitcoin, the world's largest derivative exchange operator CME Group (NASDAQ:CME) this month announced plans to launch bitcoin futures later this year, pending regulatory approvals.
The futures will allow investors to short-sell bitcoins, making two-way bets possible, a development that CME expects will attract major institutional investors, not just speculators.
CME’s announcement came just weeks after Goldman Sachs said it was considering setting up a new trading operation focused on bitcoin and other digital currencies.
Ethereum, the second most valuable cryptocurrency by market cap after bitcoin, was down 3.46% at $304.77.