Representations of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency are seen in this illustration picture. File photo: REUTERS/EDGAR SU
Representations of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency are seen in this illustration picture. File photo: REUTERS/EDGAR SU

Bitcoin’s tumble amid a broad crypto crackdown from China has pushed it below $30,000 for the first time since January, pulverising its entire 2021 gain.

The original cryptocurrency has lost more than 50% from its mid-April high of almost $65,000. That compares with a gain of about 12% for the S&P 500 since the end of December. The coin started 2021 trading at about $29,000 after a fourfold increase in 2020.

“Any meaningful break below $30,000 is going to make a lot of momentum players to throw in the towel,” said Matt Maley, chief market strategist for Miller Tabak. “Therefore, even if bitcoin is going to change the world over the long term, it does not mean it cannot fall back into the teens over the short term.”

Bitcoin dropped as much as 12% to $28,824 on Tuesday, just below last year’s closing price of $28,997. Other cryptocurrencies were hit harder, with dash tumbling 22%, XRP falling 21% and litecoin stumbling 18%. Among more volatile DeFi tokens, prude was down 68% and manyswap tumbled 60%, according to data on CoinMarketCap.com, while a handful of others showed losses of more than 80%. Meanwhile, Coinbase Pro reported having issues trading polkadot.

Chart-watchers said bitcoin, which failed to retake $40,000 last week, could have a tough time finding support in the $20,000 range after its drop below $30,000. Still, bitcoin had before Tuesday breached $30,000 during at least five separate instances this year but recuperated to trade above that level each time.

It is a remarkable comedown for the digital asset which just weeks ago was trekking higher amid a warmer embrace from Wall Street as well as retail investors. But negative press about its energy use, brought on largely by Tesla’s Elon Musk, as well as a clampdown from China, have pushed it lower in recent weeks.

China’s latest broadside came on Monday, when the nation’s central bank said it had summoned officials from the biggest lenders as well as AliPay to reiterate a ban on cryptocurrency services. Chinese officials are already trying to root out crypto mining operations.

The $30,000 support level for bitcoin had held steady during a sell-off in May that saw it wipe out roughly 35% that month. Meanwhile, a decline in ether has pushed it near its support level of $1,500. Should it breach that mark, ether could also see a continued sell-off.

Exuberant rallies and quick drawdowns are not uncommon for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin underwent a renaissance in 2017, rising more than 1,000% that year, only to lose roughly 75% in the following year. And in 2020, it advanced 300%.

“The most speculative part of the market is cryptocurrency,” said Eric Diton, president and MD of The Wealth Alliance. “At the end of the day, what determines the value of bitcoin is acceptance and more demand and supply. When you have a country like China come out against bitcoin, that really hurts it’s global acceptance and that’s why you’re seeing the value deteriorate as much as it has.”

Bloomberg News. For more articles like this please visit Bloomberg.com

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