Bitcoin Price Down As Federal Reserve Mulls Interest Rate Hike, Kazakhstan's Internet Down

The price of Bitcoin tumbled on Wednesday afternoon, along with the stock market, as market analysts expect that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates soon to fight inflation—though it's not clear if or why the two are linked.

On Wednesday morning the price of Bitcoin was around $46,700, but by that evening it had fallen below the $43,000 mark.

As of 3:45 a.m. ET on Thursday morning the cryptocurrency was worth $43,217 bringing its market cap—the value of all Bitcoins in circulation—to $817.7 billion, according to price tracking site CoinMarketCap.

It's not just Bitcoin that fell. The global cryptocurrency market also fell from around $2.23 trillion to just over $2 trillion between Wednesday morning and Wednesday night. Other popular tokens, like Ethereum and Cardano, were all down by several percentage points over the past 24 hours on Thursday morning.

In the world of stock markets, Wall Street closed on Wednesday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average stock index down more than one percent while the S&P 500 fell even lower, down nearly two percent.

News of an interest rate hike came this week after notes from a December meeting of Fed officials were released on Wednesday.

The notes showed that officials expressed concern that inflation was spreading through the economy and could last longer than they previously thought, while positive employment figures meant that low interest rates might no longer be needed.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin mining—the process by which new Bitcoins are created—has been affected this week by a large internet shutdown in the central Asian country of Kazakhstan.

The network blackout came amid political turmoil and protests. For Bitcoin, this meant that one of the world's biggest mining communities took a hit.

It is difficult to know exactly how much of all the world's Bitcoins are mined in Kazakhstan, Fortune reported, but Larry Cermak, a researcher at cryptocurrency news site The Block, tweeted on Wednesday that there was a 12 percent drop in Bitcoin's "hash rate," which is a measure of how many miners are involved in the Bitcoin network at a given time.

The fall in price comes after Zach Pandl, co-head of global foreign exchange, rates and emerging market strategy for Goldman Sachs, said in a research note that the price of the cryptocurrency could hit the $100,000 mark for a single coin within the next five years.

Bitcoin
An image of a physical representation of Bitcoins displayed on a screen at an event in Singapore in July, 2017. The cryptocurrency tumbled on Wednesday. AFP/Getty/Roslan Rahman