Bitcoin Keeps Plunging and There’s No Sign of Stopping. Where the Bottom May Be.

Cryptocurrency prices tumbled over the weekend and into Monday, with


Bitcoin

nearing a yearly low as investors continued to dump risky assets amid a tough stock market and challenging macroeconomic backdrop.

The price of Bitcoin has fallen 4% over the past 24 hours to below $33,300, deepening losses from over the weekend after changing hands around $36,000 on Friday. It puts the largest crypto at its lowest level since January, and a move well below $33,000 would mark a new yearly bottom and the lowest level since July 2021.

The latest selloff brings Bitcoin to less than half the value of its all-time high of $68,990 reached in November 2021, and is a significant move away from the relatively tight range near $40,000 that Bitcoin has been trading around for months.

“Bitcoin has followed the lead of the equity market, extending lower after a weak April,” said Katie Stockton, managing partner at technical research group Fairlead Strategies.

“Short-term momentum has deteriorated,” Stockton said. “Bitcoin is no longer oversold from a short-term perspective. This creates additional risk.”


Ether,

the second-largest crypto, was down 5% to $2,400, declining over the weekend after trading around $2,700 on Friday. It’s now changing hands around the lowest levels since mid-March.

Smaller cryptos, or “altcoins,” were unspared, declining Monday to further losses since Friday.


Solana

retreated 7% and


Cardano

was 9% in the red.


Luna,

the token that plays an integral role in maintaining stablecoin TerraUSD’s peg to the U.S. dollar, has dropped 25% since Friday after selling pressure saw Terra de-peg over the weekend.

“Memecoins”— called that because they were initially intended as internet jokes rather than significant blockchain projects — also fell, with


Dogecoin

losing 5% and


Shiba Inu

11% lower.

Bitcoin and other digital assets should, in theory, trade independently of mainstream financial markets. But the recent selloff in cryptocurrencies largely matches action in the stock market, and Bitcoin has largely shown itself to be correlated with other risk-sensitive assets like stocks, and especially technology stocks.

The tech-heavy


Nasdaq Composite

index has lost more than 23% this year, putting it in bear market territory, while the wider S&P 500 is down 14%. The


S&P 500

notched its fifth straight week of losses last Friday, the worst run since 2011, and stocks were headed lower again on Monday.

Investors face a challenging and dynamic monetary policy environment. The Federal Reserve has already moved aggressively to raise interest rates this year, and is only expected to keep going as the central bank fights historically high inflation. This risks significantly denting economic demand, causing a recession. 

The continuation of severe Covid-19 lockdowns in China, which threaten to compromise global supply chains, limiting companies’ access to materials and only stoking inflation further, only complicates matters.

Against this backdrop, “risk assets” like tech stocks and cryptos are faring particularly badly as investor sentiment deteriorates, hurt in part because bond yields keep rising. 

The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note neared 3.2% on Monday, putting it on track to close at the highest levels since late 2018. When yields climb, the math is tough for riskier assets: Higher yields reduce the extra return relative to bonds that traders expect to get from taking riskier bets.

So where will cryptos find the bottom? In the near-term, volatility looks expected to continue, and a turnaround may not be coming any time soon.

“Bitcoin may be on the course to restart a steep downtrend,” said Yuya Hasegawa, an analyst at crypto exchange Bitbank, who sees the largest crypto trading in a range of $30,000 to $38,000 this week.

Looming large in the days ahead is inflation data for April. The U.S. consumer price index (CPI) is due on Wednesday, and investors are likely to latch onto the number as the market keeps revising its estimates for how aggressive Fed policy will be.

If CPI grew more than 8.1% year over year last month, which is around what markets expect, investors could take that as a sign that the Fed will move more aggressively — and this could lead to continued selling.

“Although it will not be enough to reverse the market’s sentiment completely, lower CPI readings will suffice to support the price of Bitcoin temporarily,” said Hasegawa. “Until then, the price has to maintain the $33,000 psychological level, which is also around the 2022 low, to prevent the technical sentiment from aggravating further.”

Another negative sign for the crypto market is that institutional money may be leading the price pressure, according to Marcus Sotiriou, an analyst at digital asset broker GlobalBlock. Sotiriou said that, preceding the recent drop, the price for Bitcoin listed on exchange


Coinbase Global

(ticker: COIN) was at a discount compared to the Binance exchange.

“This is telling as a greater percentage of institutions use Coinbase compared to retail, whereas the opposite is the case for Binance,” Sotiriou said. “The price mismatch mentioned suggests institutions are not currently as interested as retail.”

Write to Jack Denton at [email protected]



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