Bitcoin shows its wild side once again, dropping $3,000 in minutes over the weekend

A worsening macroeconomic climate and the collapse of industry giants such as FTX and Terra have weighed on bitcoin’s price this year.

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Bitcoin fell Monday as investors took profits after its December rally.

The price of the cryptocurrency was recently lower by about 5% at $41,557.62, according to Coinbase, after a big drop Sunday night that at one point took it as low as about $40,300. Bitcoin topped $44,000 last week and traded just below that level through the weekend.

Meanwhile, ether fell about 6% Monday to $2,196. Ripple’s XRP fell about 6, and Solana’s SOL token was off its lows, last down by nearly 4%. According to Coin Metrics, bitcoin and ether are on pace for their worst days since Aug. 18 and March 9, respectively.

Crypto equities were dragged down, too. Coinbase and MicroStrategy fell about 6% each while bitcoin miners dropped double digits. Riot Platforms and Marathon Digital, the largest mining stocks, lost 12% and 14%, respectively. Wall Street favorites CleanSpark and Iris Energy were down 16% and 12%, respectively.

The moves come after a 12% advance for bitcoin in December, according to Coin Metrics, as expectations grew that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission could approve the first spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund in early January. Galaxy Digital estimates the addressable market size of a U.S. bitcoin ETF to be about $14 trillion in the first year after a launch, growing to about $26 trillion in the second year.

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Bitcoin drops sharply as investors take profits from recent rally

“Bitcoin continues to stay red hot,” Wolfe Research’s Rob Ginsberg said in a recent client note. “The coin seems to be trading with a fervor not seen since the early months of ’21 when it ripped to its all-time high. The months of October and November saw price head another 56% higher.”

Bitcoin has been on a steady climb in recent weeks, following a long period of market apathy that saw the price trade in a narrow range for months.

The sudden pullback triggered a spike in liquidations. According to CoinGlass, bitcoin has seen $120 million in long liquidations over the past 22 hours, while ether has seen $86 million.

Ginsberg said there’s plenty of momentum left in the current bitcoin uptrend. Chart analysts agree the cryptocurrency would have to fall further still for them to reconsider the strength of the rally.

A bitcoin ETF would serve as just the first of a series of positive catalysts lined up for the cryptocurrency next year. While potential bitcoin investors are holding out for an ETF, others in the market are optimistic about a price increase in the months following the Bitcoin halving, which is expected to take place in spring 2024.

They’re also following moves by the Federal Reserve, particularly this week with its final policy meeting of the year scheduled to begin Tuesday, for clues about the likelihood that the central bank could cut rates sometime in 2024.

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