Did you say crash? Bitcoin plunged to its lowest level in 18 months on Monday in a market without risk appetite, further ingested by the suspension of withdrawals on the Celsius cryptocurrency investment platform. As stock markets see red around the world and investors flock to the safe haven dollar, “probably the biggest carnage is in the crypto world,” said Jeffrey Halley, analyst at Oanda.
Bitcoin sees its price drop more than 10% to $24,580 (10:40 a.m. London), its lowest since December 2020 and a drop of more than 65% since its all-time high in November 2021. While the cryptocurrency market was worth more than $3 trillion at its peak seven months ago, it is approaching the $1 trillion mark, according to the Coingecko site, which lists more than 13,000 different cryptocurrencies.
In 2021, this still nascent sector had supplied more and more players in traditional finance, whose risk appetite was fueled by the ultra-loose policies of central banks around the world. But the rate hike by the US Federal Reserve (Fed), which is trying to fight runaway inflation, is weighing on the markets.
Celsius has ‘suspended’ withdrawals
In addition, the decline of bitcoin accelerated “after the Celsius platform suspended withdrawals,” said UBS analyst Mark Haefele. This company, valued at 12 billion dollars, offered its users in particular to place their “historic” cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin and Ether, to invest in new cryptocurrencies. In October, Celsius notably raised $400 million from the Caisse de depot et placement du Québec (CDPQ), which was pleased to partner with the “world’s leading cryptocurrency lender”.
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“Due to extreme market conditions, we are suspending all withdrawals and transfers between accounts,” the platform announced on Monday. “There is breakage in the crypto space and it is likely to get worse,” warns Neil Wilson, an analyst at Markets.com. In early May, terra, a cryptocurrency that was supposedly priced against the dollar, crashed, causing investors to worry.