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Crypto Market Lost $1.3 Trillion in 74 Days - and It Might Not Be Over Yet

The ongoing crash in the crypto market has shed roughly $1.2 trillion in value since Nov. 8 and could decline further as "crypto winter" takes hold.
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Crash, rout, collapse: there are not enough words to describe the state of the crypto market since the beginning of the year.

Most cryptocurrencies have gone into free-fall following all-time highs reached in early November.

Market value has shrunk by more than $1.3 trillion compared to Nov. 8.  The world cryptocurrency market was worth more than $3.1 trillion for the first time, according to CoinGecko, which tracks prices of thousands of tokens. 

Its value has decreased to $1.77 trillion as of Jan. 21.

Bitcoin's losses are even greater: the king of crypto has lost 46.8% of its market value since setting a new record at $69.044,77 on Nov. 10. Bitcoin prices sit around $36,886.32 as of time of writing, a sharp decline, even for a notoriously volatile financial asset.

Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, which reached $4,878.26, an all-time high, on Nov. 10, is currently trading at $2,552.94, a drop of 47.7%.

This is the fifth consecutive week of decline for most cryptocurrencies.

Evangelists are reduced to reminding skeptics that a year ago crypto prices were much lower.

Why Does Crypto Keep Crashing ?

Crypto crash coincides with the general decline in high-growth technology stocks, which is primarily the result of the Federal Reserve's plans to taper asset purchases and raise interest rates several times this year. 

As the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield spiked earlier this week, rising rates have caused investors to shed their positions in riskier assets. Yields move opposite to prices.

A common investment case for bitcoin is that it serves as a hedge against rising inflation as a result of government stimulus, but analysts are saying the risk is that a more hawkish Federal Reserve may take the wind out of bitcoin’s sails.

At the same time, many investors seem to be realizing how volatile crypto can be, according to UBS's analysts. This is compounded by the limitations of blockchain technology that could make it harder to scale due to its decentralized nature.

Increased regulation is another reason UBS’s analysts believe that crypto is crashing. In fact, they said in their research note that crypto will “face bigger setbacks from authorities in the coming months.”  

China completely banning all crypto-related activities and U.S. authorities are also clamping down on certain aspects of the market.

Russia’s central bank has called for a total ban over the use and mining of cryptocurrencies on Russian territory, claiming the digital currency poses a risk to “financial stability and monetary policy sovereignty.”

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Russia is among the top three countries for bitcoin mining.

"The news about Russia potentially banning crypto mining is significant considering Russia’s crypto trading volume last year was reportedly $5 billion, and a ban will heavily impact this," explains Marcus Sotiriou from London-based Research firm GlobalBlock in a note on Friday.

He added, "I do not think they will be able to completely stop crypto trading activity in Russia though."

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'Crypto Winter' Is Catching Up with Investors

Crypto winter is a term market participants use to define a sustained period of price crashes in the crypto market. Prices may fail to recover for years to come.

Interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve this year will likely lower the appeal of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the eyes of investors, some experts say.

“If central banks are moving to get a handle on inflation, then that damages the argument that investors should hold bitcoin as protection against price rises,” stated the UBS analysts.

And added,  there is a “dawning realization” among investors that Bitcoin is not actually “better money” given its volatility and limited supply, which makes it inflexible.

Crypto Exchanges such as Coinbase have recently reported a decline in trading volumes, suggesting individual investors are moving away from cryptos as the digital asset slump deepens.

Lately, crypto winter has become a topic of conversation for digital assets followers on social media. 

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Another user said crypto winter "is here", and warned there will be "a bloodbath".

"We view crypto coins and tokens as highly speculative, and we think that investors should not build strategic exposure to them within their financial portfolios," advises UBS.

A Crypto Rebound This Year?

Despite bitcoin's ebbs and flows, the cryptocurrency could reach $100,000 — according to analysts at Goldman Sachs.

The investment firm said bitcoin currently makes up about 20% of the so-called "store of value" market, a term used to describe gold, bitcoin and other alternative assets like currencies and commodities whose prices — in theory — should not depreciate much over a long period of time.

Goldman Sachs believes bitcoin could eventually make up 50% of the store of value market, which could push bitcoin about 17% to 18% higher annually for the next five years to top the $100,000 level.