Bitcoin dropped 7.46 per cent to $18,915.29 at 15:59 GMT on Saturday, losing $1,525.41 from its previous close. The world’s biggest and best-known cryptocurrency is down 60.8 per cent from the year’s high of $48,234 on March 28.
The value of the global crypto market fell below the symbolic $1 trillion mark on Monday after reaching $3 trillion in November of last year.
After sinking to $18,740 on Saturday, Bitcoin rose to $18,941 at 1550 GMT, down eight per cent from Friday.
Ether, the coin linked to the Ethereum blockchain network, dropped 8.84 per cent to $988.52 on Saturday, losing $95.9 from its previous close.
World stock markets plunged this week amid fears that inflation-fighting interest rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve and other central banks could trigger a recession. Cryptocurrencies have paid the biggest price.
Bitcoin’s fall has been accelerated by the suspension of withdrawals by two cryptocurrency platforms. The Celsius Network said it was pausing “all withdrawals, swap, and transfers between accounts” due to “extreme market conditions.” Babel Finance said it was facing “unusual liquidity pressures.”
Major exchange Binance temporarily suspended bitcoin withdrawals and advised customers to use other networks. Coinbase said Monday that it was trimming 18 per cent of its workforce, about 1,100 jobs, citing tight economic conditions and overly rapid expansion.
“We appear to be entering a recession after a 10+ year economic boom,” Coinbase founder and CEO Brian Armstrong said.
In recent years, the crypto sector benefited from a vast infusion of cash due to easy-money policies from the world’s biggest central banks. However, rampant inflation has sparked tighter monetary policy across the globe, helping to send the industry crashing.
(with inputs from agencies)
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