Bitcoin posts biggest slump in two months as liquidations pick up

Sidhartha Shukla and Muyao Shen
Bloomberg
The cracks in crypto come amid doubts about the Federal Reserve’s scope to cut interest rates quickly from a two-decade high.
The cracks in crypto come amid doubts about the Federal Reserve’s scope to cut interest rates quickly from a two-decade high. Credit: TheWest

Losses are piling up in the crypto market after its second-worst weekly decline of 2024, a reflection of cooling demand for Bitcoin exchange-traded funds and uncertainty over monetary policy.

Bitcoin shed as much as 8.1 per cent to $US58,528 ($A87,926) on Monday, the biggest intraday decline since April 13.

The leading token by market value has been buffeted by two weeks of outflows from exchange-traded products holding the cryptocurrency. More than $US210 million ($A315m) worth of bullish bets in crypto were liquidated in the past 12 hours, according to data compiled by tracker Coinglass.

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A gauge of the largest 100 digital assets fell about 5 per cent in the seven days through Sunday, the steepest such slide since April, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Adding to fears of increased selling pressure, the rehabilitation trustee of Mt. Gox - the Japanese crypto exchange that was hacked more than a decade ago - announced that it would start repayments of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash in July.

“Given the Mt Gox announcement, it seems there are market participants positioning themselves short,” Stefan von Haenisch, head of trading at OSL SG. “Crypto markets struggling to catch a bid at the moment.”

The cracks in crypto come amid doubts about the Federal Reserve’s scope to cut interest rates quickly from a two-decade high. For some analysts, the retreat in digital assets is a warning sign for broader risk appetite.

The current crypto market dynamic is “characterised by low volatility, soft volumes, and orderbooks getting unbalanced when prices start to move to the edges of their range,” David Lawant, research head at FalconX, wrote in a note.

The drops in some corners are particularly notable: the run of weekly declines for Ether and Solana are the longest since last year and 2022 respectively.

That’s even as fund companies prepare to launch the first US ETFs investing directly in Ether, the second-ranked cryptoasset. Solana, meanwhile, was very recently a favourite for a variety of digital-asset hedge funds.

Bitcoin hit a record of $US73,798 ($A110,866) in March but is trailing traditional investments such stocks, bonds and gold this quarter.

The 200-day moving average at about $US57,500 ($A86,380) is in focus now as a possible zone of support for the price, according to IG Australia Pty Market Analyst Tony Sycamore.

“A bearish mood seems to be setting in,” said Caroline Mauron, co-founder of digital-asset derivatives liquidity provider Orbit Markets. “The market is finding it hard to digest any large sell orders.”

Bitcoin investment products saw around $US600m ($A901m) in outflows for a second consecutive week, the most over a two-week period since the US approved exchange-traded funds to hold the largest cryptocurrency in January.

Overall, digital asset products were hit with $US584m ($A877m) in outflows in the week ended June 21, data from CoinShares International. show.

Bitcoin products accounted for the majority, with $US630m ($A946m) in outflows coming in the wake of another $600 million the prior week.

Bloomberg.

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