The total number of transactions from African consumers has risen to roughly R948 million per month according to Paxful. Photo: Bloomberg

INTERNATIONAL – Bitcoin headed for its seventh weekly slump on Friday, with the largest cryptocurrency closing in on $3,000 -- a level unseen since September last year.

The largest digital currency was flat at $3,256 (R46761.86) at 9:54 a.m. in London after slipping 5.4 percent Thursday, according to consolidated pricing compiled by Bloomberg. Bitcoin is down almost 4 percent from the previous Friday. The wider Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index is on a five-week losing streak.

Cryptocurrencies have wiped out about $730 billion in market value from a January peak this year, according to data compiled by 

Widespread mainstream institutional adoption failed to materialize amid ongoing security concerns and regulatory roadblocks.

A wave of bomb threats demanding Bitcoin spread across the U.S. and Canada Thursday, including New York, Toronto and other major cities. Security researcher KrebsonSecurity posted a copy of the email on its website – the apparent scammers requested payment of $20,000 in Bitcoin. New York City’s police department said the threats were not deemed credible.

Even with Bitcoin failing to rally two successive days in December, bulls including Thomas Lee, head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors, stuck to their guns. 

In a note Thursday, Lee said the fair value of Bitcoin given the number of active wallet addresses, usage per account and other factors is between $13,800 and $14,800. If Bitcoin wallets approach just 7 percent of Visa’s 4.5 billion account holders, fair value would be $150,000 per Bitcoin according to his model, he said.

“We are tired of people asking us about target prices,” he said in the note, declining to update his year-end forecast. Lee’s most recent forecast, made in November, was for Bitcoin to rebound to $15,000 by the end of the year.