The Bitcoin price struggled to hold above the closely-watched $20,000 level, continuing a period of extreme volatility.
On Monday in Asia, the largest cryptocurrency fell as much as 4.8% to $19,618 on and was trading at $20,036 as of 12:30 p.m. in Tokyo. Ether at one point dropped 7.8% but held above $1,000. Solana, Cardano and Dogecoin in the red.
Bitcoin sank to almost 15% on Saturday but then swung back above $20,000 with a 16% surge on Sunday. The pattern of swings suggest that investor sentiment remains very fragile as the Federal Reserve seek to fight inflation with interest-rate hikes that drain liquidity from markets.
“Expect more pockets of forced selling of Bitcoin and Ether as the market figures out who is swimming naked,” Arthur Hayes, co-founder of crypto exchange BitMEX, said on Twitter.
He is unsure if the selling is over but “for those skilled knife-catchers, there may yet be additional opportunities to buy coin from those who must whack every bid no matter the price.”
Some crypto executives claimed that Bitcoin below $20,000 could lead to more liquidations of leveraged prices. Since the start of the year, the token is down about 57%, while others have suffered even more.
Decentralized-finance (DeFi) applications are under intense pressure, adding to the uncertainty. When pandemic-era stimulus drove a record-breaking crypto boom, they became popular as a source of high yields.
However, they are now taking unprecedented measures to protect themselves from cascading liquidations. The crypto lending platform Celsius Network Ltd. said Monday it needs more time to stabilize its liquidity and operations after freezing deposits last week.