The bitcoin price and the prices of many other popular cryptocurrencies suddenly plummeted, sending bitcoin back below $22,000 in the early-morning hours on Friday. The plunge sent the cryptocurrency to its lowest level in more than three weeks. The prices of ether, Binance Coin, Solana and Cardano also dropped suddenly at the same time.
The Crypto Market Sells Off… Suddenly
The reason for the sudden, sharp drop is unclear as of the time of this writing, although it came during a sudden selloff in early European crypto trading. According to data from CoinDesk, the bitcoin price briefly tumbled from $22,738 to below $21,500 at 2:30 a.m. Eastern.
However, in a matter of 10 minutes, it recovered slightly to just under $22,000. Hours later, bitcoin was trading at around $21,392. The sudden selloff in the crypto market came not long after the largest cryptocurrency by market cap climbed above $25,000 for the first time since June, climbing alongside U.S. stocks.
The ether price plummeted from $1,808 to $1,728 at the same time bitcoin slipped before rebounding slightly. By 3:05 a.m. Eastern, ether was trading at $1,733, a price it hasn't seen since Aug. 10. A few hours later, the cryptocurrency had fallen even further to $1,691.
The Crypto Winter Continues?
In an early-morning email, Craig Erlam of OANDA warned that the crypto winter might not be over yet.
"Bitcoin has been sent into a tailspin at the end of the week, dropping very sharply and suddenly early in European trade," he wrote. "It fell more than 5% in a very short period of time, and while the trigger isn't clear, the fact that it has barely recovered any of those losses suggests there is substance to the move."
He added that the plunge below the technical support at $22,500 could be significant if it holds, setting the stage for the next test of support at $20,000. Since Erlam's email, the bitcoin price has held its low level, paving the way for a test of that next support level.
Why The Sudden Selloff?
Simon Peters, a crypto market analyst at eToro, told CNBC that the sudden crypto market selloff may have come since the U.S. equity markets have tumbled since the release of the minutes from the Federal Reserve's July meeting. The primary takeaway from those minutes was that the Fed will probably keep hiking interest rates until inflation is steadied across the board.
Peters believes the Fed news has finally filtered through to the crypto markets, triggering the selloff. He also called attention to a large liquidation of long positions on the bitcoin perpetual futures markets. Citing data from Coinglass, Peters said today has seen the largest liquidation of long positions on futures since June 18. That was the date when bitcoin hit its lowest year-to-date price at around $17,500.
That data shows that 156,155 traders have liquidated more than $537 million from the crypto market over the last 24 hours, with bitcoin leading the liquidations at over $200 million, followed by ether at over $130 million. Decrypt pointed out that most of those liquidations came from "blown-out long positions."