Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin set for worst week since FTX crash on regulation, interest rates

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Bitcoin is having its worst week since November as an equity selloff, fear over higher interest rates and an escalating US regulatory crackdown on crypto combine to hurt investor sentiment.

The largest token fell as much 2.1 percent on Friday in Asia, breaking below $20,000 for the first time since January, after it fell more than 8 percent on Thursday. It pared some of the Asian slide to retake the round-number marker but remained subdued, as did smaller tokens such as Ether and Dogecoin.

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A rout in US bank stocks on Thursday stoked concerns that rising borrowing costs is creating a treacherous economic and investing outlook. In New York, the state regulator sued KuCoin, a popular crypto exchange, and in the process claimed in court that second-largest token Ether is a security.

The US Securities & Exchange Commission also contends that many cryptocoins are securities, a designation that would potentially make them harder to trade.

‘Equity-Market Led’

“The selloff in cryptocurrencies appears to be largely equity-market led,” said John Toro, head of trading at digital-asset exchange Independent Reserve. He added that the wind-down of crypto-friendly bank Silvergate Capital Corp. and President Joe Biden’s proposal for a series of tax increases on investors and top-earning Americans contributed to the downdraft.

Among smaller tokens, some of the spotlight fell on HT, the native token of the Huobi Global exchange. HT on Thursday rapidly halved in price at one point before paring the losses. It has fallen about 19 percent in the past 24 hours.

China-born crypto mogul Justin Sun, an adviser to Huobi, said it will set up a $100 million fund to improve the platform’s multi-currency liquidity.

Bitcoin has shed about 11 percent so far this week, the most since a 23 percent weekly tumble in November amid the collapse of Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX platform.

Sentiment has taken a knock from the demise of Silvergate’s payments platform for crypto firms, as well as Chair Jerome Powell’s stance that the Federal Reserve is likely to take rates higher than previously anticipated.

Bitcoin is now hovering just above its 200-day moving average, which analysts see as an area that could stem its fall.

The token will likely trade in the lower end of a range from about $15,500 to $25,000, said Tony Sycamore, market analyst at IG Australia Pty. “Risk sentiment has really deteriorated this week,” he said. “Powell was more hawkish than what markets were expecting.”

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