Cryptocurrencies extended a slide Friday morning as investors reassessed the timeline for introduction of spot-market bitcoin exchange-traded funds in the United States and global economic issues weighed on sentiment.
Forced liquidations in the futures market on Thursday afternoon helped steepen a decline that began earlier in the week.
was trading at $26,219 at 10:30 a.m. in New York, according to CoinGecko, down 7.6% over the previous 24 hours and bringing its loss for the trailing seven days to 10.5%. Ether fell 6.5% to $1,670, a loss of 9.1% on the week. The value of all cryptocurrencies fell to $1.11 trillion, wiping out 9% of the market’s value since the prior Friday.
“Weaker global macro sentiment pushed BTC lower,” Tim Bevan, founder and CEO of ETC
Group, told Forbes by email, “and we believe this move was then exacerbated by forced liquidation of leveraged long positions that many participants had taken in anticipation of a spot BTC ETF approval in the U.S. We see that over $1 billion in leveraged positions were liquidated in the last 24 hours, with BTC positions contributing to over 50% of that, according to CoinGlass.”
Although the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is still expected to approve spot bitcoin ETFs, it appears likely to do so later than investors had estimated, says Bevan, whose London-based company packages exchange-traded products for institutional investors. Attention is also focused on China’s deteriorating economy and on elevated interest rates in the United States, where the 10-year Treasury bond yields about 4.25%, near its highest level since 2007.
That is putting pressure on all risk assets, and bitcoin’s previously gentle decline from a July 13 high above $31,500 brought it to a level that “triggered a wave of long-position liquidations,” according to Michael Silberberg, head of investor relations for AltTab Capital, a cryptocurrency hedge fund.
“Traders betting on a price increase were forced to sell at a loss to avoid full liquidation due to insufficient margin,” Silberberg told Forbes in written comments. “This snowballed as continuous selling drove the price down further, causing more longs to liquidate.”
He added that the effect was concentrated on investors who had borrowed money to take long bitcoin positions and that funds were still flowing into the cryptocurrency from other sources. “Despite this drop, we still saw new inflows over the past week as long-term investors, like ourselves, saw discounted prices as an opportunity to accumulate more Bitcoin.”
Still, digital assets remain under pressure from longer-term issues. In a post on Medium, James Butterfill, head of research at Paris-based asset manager CoinShares, cited low crypto trading volume in recent months, which tends to widen market swings.
He wrote that bitcoin daily activity on “trusted exchanges” was less than $3 billion a day in recent weeks, well below this year’s $7 billion average. The recalibration of when spot bitcoin ETFs might arrive to perk up demand has brought the token’s price back to its levels before BlackRock’s
June application to offer such a fund. Market participants understood the move by the world’s largest asset manager to be a signal that it expected the SEC to abandon its opposition in the near future.
Butterfill also pointed to China’s real estate market, which is suffering from the “structural deceleration” of the country’s economy, about a quarter of which is related to property.