Vitalik Buterin, the founder of ethereum.Getty/John Phillips

Cryptocurrency ethereum crashed by over 8% on Wednesday, extending a slump for the asset and the wider market.

Ethereum is down 8.6% to $169.12 at just after 9.30 a.m. GMT (4.30 a.m. ET), a level not seen since May 2017 when ethereum was enjoying its first price surge of the year.

The cryptocurrency is down almost 30% over the last 7 days and has mirrored a wider slump in the cryptocurrency market over the last two weeks.

News flow in the sector continues on a largely negative trend. The latest blow for the sector is news that a US judge ruled on Tuesday that US securities laws apply to cryptocurrencies, which opens the way for a wave of potentially costly and distracting litigation in the sector.

While the entire cryptocurrency sector has been under pressure over the last few weeks and Mati Greenspan, an analyst with eToro who follows the sector, told Business Insider: “It’s just following the same trend.”

He added: “I think Vitalik [Buterin, the founder of ethereum]’s comments the other day probably had something to do with this. He said the days of 1,000X growth are probably over. The fact that he’s less bullish on the price movement could cause some people to be selling off a bit. And discussions as to how to scale the network are ongoing.”

Charles Hayter, the CEO and founder of CryptoCompare.com, told Business Insider: “It’s a continuation of the story that ICO’s are selling their raised funds which are adding to downward pressure. This has spooked the market and turned the dial up on the negative sentiment.”

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