It’s been a tumultuous year for investors, but it’s been even more so for those with a stake in crypto.
Bitcoin’s price has dropped by nearly 70% from its all-time high of $68,000 at the start of the week — to its lowest level in 18 months. Ethereum followed Bitcoin’s lead and so did just about every other cryptocurrency.
The crypto market, which has been tracking with the stock markets lately, has been a casualty of the broader market selloff of risky assets as investors wrestle with high inflation, the war in Ukraine, and shifts in U.S. monetary policy. Although not usually correlated to stocks, the crypto and stock markets are rising and falling in similar patterns.
Crypto lender Celsius’ announcement Monday that it’s freezing its withdrawals due to “extreme market conditions” made matters even worse for the fragile crypto market. Crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital may also be in trouble amid swirling rumors that the company is insolvent following the market collapse.
And some experts are warning the worst may be yet to come — and bitcoin’s price, as well as other cryptocurrencies, could drop even further.
“Sometimes bear markets can last up to several months,” Charlene Fadirepo, a crypto expert and founder of Guidefi, recently told NextAdvisor during an Instagram Live. “Some people track the 20-week average for Bitcoin, and according to that, that gets us in the $20,000 to $30,000 range. I don’t know where it’s going to go, but based on past trends, we’ve been in that range.”
The big crypto market crash is just the latest reminder for investors that crypto assets come with extra risk and volatility, especially in times of economic and political uncertainty like we’re in now. Either way, experts advise not to make financial decisions based on news-related panic or hype. Here’s what investors should make of the latest crypto news:
Bill Gates, one of the richest people in the world and a well-known critic of crypto, has once again slammed the industry, saying crypto and NFTs are “100% based on greater fool theory.” During a TechCrunch talk on climate change Tuesday, the billionaire Microsoft implied that crypto and NFTs are overvalued assets and sarcastically joked that “expensive digital images of monkeys” would “improve the world immensely.” During the talk, Gates said he’s “not involved in that” and “not long or short any of those things,” referring to crypto and NFTs. The comments come amid a tumultuous week for crypto, with Bitcoin dipping below $21,000 and Ethereum falling below $1,100 Wednesday.
Rumors began to swirl Tuesday that a major crypto hedge fund could become insolvent following the crypto market crash this week. Dubai-based crypto fund Three Arrows Capital, popularly known as 3AC, is allegedly attempting to figure out how to repay lenders and other counterparties after it was liquidated by crypto lending firms in the space, according to a BlockFi report. Co-founder Su Zhu took to Twitter Tuesday evening to address the rumors but didn’t give specifics, stating the firm is “in the process of communicating with relevant parties and fully committed to working this out.” This comes shortly after crypto lender Celsius announced it is pausing its withdrawals, spurring concerns of potentially another crash in the crypto market.
Coinbase, the largest crypto exchange in the U.S., announced it is laying off 18% of its workforce amid a collapse in the crypto market. Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said managing the company’s expenses right now is critical to “operate in this highly uncertain period in the world,” referring to the possibility of a recession and a “crypto winter,” according to a post published on Coinbase. Crypto winter is when prices fall and remain low for an extended period, such as they did between early 2018 and mid-2020. But Coinbase isn’t the only crypto firm that has announced job cuts and experts are warning that it’s just the beginning, according to a TIME report. Crypto lender BlockFi on Monday said it was reducing its headcount by about 20%, and Crypto.com announced last week that it’s laying off around 260 workers, or around 5% of its workforce.
Celsius, a major crypto lender, announced at the start of the week that it’s pausing withdrawals “due to extreme market conditions,” according to a company memo. As of May, Celsius has lent out more than $8 billion to customers and has almost $12 billion in assets. The announcement comes amid a meltdown in the crypto and stock markets, fueling concerns about Celsius’ solvency. The crypto firm has not yet said when it will resume withdrawals.
Bitcoin is the largest cryptocurrency by market cap, and a good indicator of the crypto market in general since other coins like Ethereum (and smaller altcoins) tend to follow its trends. Even though Bitcoin recently set another new all-time high, it was a pretty normal uptick for the crypto, which is notorious for its volatility. That’s not to say investors should take swings in either direction lightly, and this is also why investing experts recommend not making any major investment changes based on these normal fluctuations.
Cryptocurrency is still very new, and everything from innovation to regulation can have an outsize impact on investors. Here’s how you can invest smartly, regardless of what’s making news or Bitcoin’s price swings.