Bitcoin continues to trade in a tight range of $18,000 to $24,000, keeping investors in the loop as to where the price is headed next. The crypto market has been plagued by a range of issues, from collapsed projects to bankruptcies.
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Bitcoin traded below $19,000 on Wednesday morning, hitting its lowest levels since June following a decline in global stock markets and continued US dollar strength.
The value of the overall cryptocurrency market also fell below $1 trillion as digital coins saw a sell-off across the board.
Bitcoin was trading at $18,812.36 as of 03:50 ET, according to CoinDesk, down more than 5%. Ether, which has far outpaced Bitcoin’s gains over the past few months, fell more than 8% to $1,518.59.
Central banks around the world are fighting rampant inflation by tightening monetary policy. The US Federal Reserve made a series of rate hikes totaling 2.25 percentage points. The markets expect further rate hikes.
The Fed’s tightening of monetary policy has strengthened the US dollar, which has weighed on risky assets. The US 10-year Treasury yield has also risen.
Bitcoin has traded in correlation to stocks, so when they fall, so does cryptocurrency generally.
“The macro environment also continues to prove challenging as the dollar continues to make highs. As we can see, this is affecting all risky assets,” Vijay Ayyar, vice president of corporate development and international at crypto exchange Luno, told CNBC.
“If we see the dollar turning back down, we should be able to push risky assets like bitcoin back up.”
The crypto market has been hit this year with nearly $2 trillion lost since its peak in November. Bitcoin is down about 60% from its record high of $68,990.90 set in November.
The sell-off was caused by a difficult environment for risky assets, as well as crypto-specific issues including collapsed projects and bankruptcies that have spread across the industry.
Ethereum merge in focus
Bitcoin has been trading in a tight range between $18,000 and $24,000 since June. Luno’s Ayyar said that “when a bottom is formed, bitcoin usually likes to pull back and test previous lows to see if they hold as support.”
He said that if Bitcoin does not drop below $17,500, the market is likely to consolidate within the $18,000-$24,000 range.
In the meantime, ether and so-called altcoins, i.e. alternative coins, have managed to rise further than Bitcoin. Ether has overtaken Bitcoin since both cryptocurrencies hit bottoms in June.
Ether is the native cryptocurrency on the Ethereum network. Ethereum is planning a huge upgrade this month — known as a merge — that proponents say will make the network more efficient.
“Ethereum hit yearly highs against Bitcoin pair in anticipation of merger,” Ayyar said. “As such, there has been much more interest and activity in the altcoin space as Bitcoin consolidates.”