The price of bitcoin dropped sharply Monday as investors began shedding risk amid a global equity markets decline.
While bitcoin is often called a safe-haven asset, the growing reality is its price tends to go down amid broader declines in risk assets. Bitcoin’s rally this year has coincided with the broader risk-on rally and, much like stocks, the digital currency is prone to sharp declines in September.
Bitcoin lost as much as 10% on Monday morning. It was last down 7% at $43,953.87, according to Coin Metrics. The broader crypto market is in the red too, with ether last down 8% to $3,064.29.
“This sell-off is the continuation of a well-established pattern where traders cash in their riskier assets to cover margin calls or sit on the sidelines until markets calm down and they feel more comfortable going back into riskier positions,”
“If ever bitcoin had the opportunity to establish itself as a safe haven or as digital gold, with U.S. companies also signaling their earnings calls are going to reveal poor results, now feels like the time.”
Global equity markets are sliding as investors fear spreading risk from a shakeout in China’s property market tied to highly indebted developer Evergrande. Investors are also focused on the Federal Reserve and whether it will signal its readiness to start removing monetary stimulus from the economy. The central bank will begin its two-day meeting Tuesday.
Fundstrat’s Tom Lee said the sell-off is showing how much investors have come to value 24-hour liquidity since the start of the “Covid era.”
“Both institutions and individuals more willing to go to cash because there’s less friction in terms of liquidating. Bitcoin selling off to me is interesting because I suspect it has a lot to do with risk off in Asia,” where savers tend to put their money into property and crypto more than equities, Lee explained on CNBC’s Tech Check Monday. “I don’t think bitcoins declined today it’s actually very ominous but it is showing you that people really value liquidity.”
Bitcoin traded above $50,000 earlier this month, topping a key psychological resistance level for trader. Now, however, the cryptocurrency is below its 50-day moving average of $46,514, which analysts and traders look to for a change up or down and to get a sense of the intermediate-term trend.
Investors should “wait until tomorrow’s close to decide whether to reduce exposure and manage risk of a more prolonged pullback,” Fairlead Strategies managing partner Katie Stockton said
The crypto decline comes as uncertainty about the regulation of stablecoins intensifies. The Financial Stability Oversight Council could designate them as systemically risky, The New York Times reported over the weekend. This could subject them and their operators to heavy regulation.
The President’s Working Group on Financial Markets is working up a report on stablecoins, and the Fed is expected to put out a paper on central bank digital currencies this month that could touch on stablecoin risks.
While bitcoin was sliding, gold futures climbed 0.8% to $1,765.70 per ounce.