Inflation rises and uncertainty around Celsius caused BTC to come within $1,000 of its previous cycle all-time highs as liquidations mounted – passing $1.2 billion in just 24 hours – across crypto markets.
At its worst, BTC/USD hit $20,816 on Bitstamp, its lowest since the week of December 14, 2020. It has since recovered to $22,142 – at the time of writing.
A drop was expected across the board ahead of key comments by the US Federal Reserve on anti-inflation and sure enough, the S&P 500 finished the day down 3.9%, while the Nasdaq Composite Index shed 4.7%.
However, compounded by uneasiness around the insolvency rumours circling Celcius. Cryptos suffered the worst drops, with BTC/USD coming close to crossing the $20,000 mark.
“We have been expressing concern about the collapse of a significant credit player since the LUNA blowup. The market is now panicking about the impact and contagion if Celsius becomes insolvent,” analysts at QCP Capital, explained.
The world’s biggest crypto exchange, Binance, temporarily paused Bitcoin withdrawals following the second biggest market, Celsius, having ceased all withdrawals – the latter rumoured to be suffering a liquidity crisis.
Binance said its halt on Bitcoin trading was because of a “stuck transaction,” with trading in other cryptocurrencies unaffected by the pause. It has since resumed withdrawals.
Amid the Bitcoin chaos, crypto exchange Coinbase announced that it was slashing staff by 18%, with CEO Brian Armstrong saying that he made a “difficult decision” to reduce the size of the Coinbase team due to a starting economic recession.
He said: “We appear to be entering a recession after a 10+ year economic boom. A recession could lead to another crypto winter, and could last for an extended period.” He added that the trading revenue significantly declined during past crypto winters, noting that Coinbase has survived through four major crypto winters since its foundation in 2012.
Armstrong emphasized that the firm has been growing “too quickly,” with Coinbase’s headcount reaching 1,250 employees as of early 2021. According to the CEO, the team has grown four times in the past 18 months and their employee costs are “too high to effectively manage this uncertain market.”
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