The great crypto currency crash of 2018 is heading for its worst week yet.
Bitcoin sank towards $4,000 and most of its peers tumbled extending the Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index’s decline since Nov 16 to 23 per cent on Friday. That’s the worst weekly slump since crypto-mania peaked in early January, according to reports.
After an epic rally last year that exceeded many of history’s most notorious bubbles, crypto currencies have bog down in a nearly $700 billion rout that shows few signs of abating. Many of the concerns that sparked the 2018 retreat, including increased regulatory scrutiny, community infighting and exchange snafus that have only intensified this week.
Even after losses exceeding 70 per cent for most virtual currencies, Oanda Corp’s Stephen Innes has yet to see strong evidence of a capitulation that would signal a market bottom.
Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at Oanda, said from Singapore that there’s still a lot of people in this game and “If bitcoin collapses, if we start to see a run down toward $3,000, this thing is going to be a monster. People will be running for the exits” he added.
Innes further said that his base-case forecast is for bitcoin to trade between $3,500 and $6,500 in the short term, with the potential to fall to $2,500 by January.
According to Bloomberg composite pricing report, the largest crypto currency retreated as much as 7.6 per cent on Friday, before paring losses to 4.1 per cent at 4.43pm in Hong Kong. At $4,244, it is trading near the lowest level since October 2017.
Rivals Ether, XRP and Litecoin all declined at least 5 per cent. The market value of all crypto currencies tracked by CoinMarketCap.com sank to $138 billion, down from about US$835 billion at the market peak in January.
The rout’s biggest casualties– individual investors who piled in just as prices peaked, and companies like Nvidia Corp that supplied the crypto ecosystem. The California-based chipmaker has lost nearly half its value since the start of October as demand for its crypto currency mining chips collapsed and results in its gaming division disappointed.
The economic impact of the crypto collapse has so far been limited, in part because most major banks and institutional money managers have little to no exposure to virtual currencies.
For most investors, recent declines in equity markets have arguably been far more important, as the $700 billion slump in digital assets since January compares with $1.3 trillion lost from the market value of global shares just this week.
While some crypto bulls have argued that Bitcoin and its peers would act as havens from turmoil in traditional financial markets, this year’s losses have undercut those claims. Gold, a traditional haven for investors, has climbed in recent weeks as virtual currencies tumbled.
Innes said that he doesn’t think coins are going to be anywhere near as attractive as some of the other cross-asset plays and “Gold prices are going to jump considerably higher and there’s an inverse relationship we’re starting to see with gold and coins” he concluded.