Economic Affairs

Making sense of the Bitcoin crash

As critics and defenders of Bitcoin continue their argument over the future of cryptocurrencies, what's clear is that crypto investments are not for the faint of heart

Bitcoin has been famously volatile throughout its 12-year history.
Bitcoin has been famously volatile throughout its 12-year history.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Bitcoin investors will always remember last week, and May 19 in particular. That was when their favourite financial asset went into a swoon and then fell off a cliff. In the 24 hours between May 18 and May 19, Bitcoin's price dropped about 27 per cent. In just over a month from its record high of around US$64,000 (S$84,560) in mid-April to its low point on May 19, it crashed more than 50 per cent.

Amid cascading liquidations, other crypto assets such as Ether - which powers the Ethereum blockchain - and just about every other alt-coin plunged as well. Big crypto exchanges like Coinbase, Kraken and Binance were temporarily overwhelmed. Millions of users couldn't even log in. Many of those who held most or all of their wealth in Bitcoins - there were actually people who did that - or had bought on leverage, were wiped out.

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