After months of stability, Bitcoin took a sharp downward plunge Wednesday, falling just below $5,500. The total market cap of the leading currency slipped under $100 billion for the first time since October of last year.

Other top crypto assets didn't fare much better. Ripple (XRP), Litecoin(LTC), and Ethereum (ETH) dropped more than 17 percent and Bitcoin Cash(BCH) close to 20 percent.

Volatility has returned to the crypto market, but why? Most fingers point to Bitcoin Cash's hard fork. This particular hard fork, initiated Thursday, is different from those in the past. Instead of one chain updating, two new chains have been introduced by competing parties – Bitcoin Cash ABC (BCHABC) by Roger Ver and Bitcoin Cash SV (BCHSV) by Craig Wright.

CNBC's Brian Kelley compared the disagreement to a “crypto civil war,” and predicted that the fork was the underlying reason for the market's sell-off.

Our team tracked the frequency of media mentions of the term "hard fork" and saw a definite spike starting late last week. As mentions of the topic soared higher, the price of Bitcoin tumbled. See charts below (Price show: November 14, 2018, at 4 pm).

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