Cryptocurrency prices have fallen over the past seven days amid new signals of weaker demand for virtual assets and new challenges for them to become a popular financial asset.

In a sign of declining demand for Bitcoin, cryptocurrency mining equipment manufacturer Bitmain delayed its application for an initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange due to lower demand for its products.

“While the potential of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology is enormous, we recognize that the industry is relatively young and is still proving its worth”, the company said in a statement on its website.

The Bitmain company produces chips that are used for mining cryptocurrencies. The industry has been hit hard by falling prices, making mining costs difficult to estimate.

“We hope that regulators, the media and society at large will become more involved in this young industry”, Bitmain says on its website.

However, there may still be hope for the company, given the buzz around cryptocurrency exchange-traded fund (ETF) listing applications from VanEck and SolidX.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) received mostly negative comments during its consultation regarding approval of this application. The majority of respondents urged the regulator not to approve this application, expressing fears that the Bitcoin exchange rate could be manipulated.

The SEC is expected to rule on two ETF applications in the near future. The VanEck project has the greatest chance of approval.

Earlier this month, US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton said in an interview with Fox Business that it was possible that a Bitcoin fund could satisfy SEC requirements. However, he declined to comment on the details of any proposal.

SEC is unlikely to be pleased with the results of a new study conducted by cryptocurrency trading platform The Tie. According to this study, trading volumes on cryptocurrency exchanges can be rigged.

“Overall, we estimate that trading volumes on 87% of exchanges were questionable, and suspicious activity was seen on 75% of platforms”, The Tie analysts said on their official Twitter.

“If we calculated the total average daily trading volume on CoinbasePro, Gemini, Poloniex, Binance and Kraken, then the actual trading volume figure on the 100 largest cryptocurrency exchanges would be $2.1 billion. Exchanges currently report trading volume at $15,9 billion”, said The Tie analysts on Twitter.

This is not the first time that cryptocurrency exchanges have inflated trading volumes. A report released Friday by cryptocurrency asset manager Bitwise said that 95% of trading volumes on cryptocurrency exchanges are false. In December 2018, the Blockchain Transparency Institute published a similar report.

Over the week, Bitcoin fell 2% to $3,932.60. Ethereum fell 3.4% to $134.21, XRP fell 4,7% to $0,30019, and Litecoin fell 2,2% to $58,7.

At the time of writing, the total capitalization of the cryptocurrency market has decreased to $138 billion compared to the value of 140 billion on Thursday.