There are few things scarier for investors than a bear market — unless you’re involved in crypto, in which case a winter is worse.
The chilling term refers to a sharp slump, followed by a drop-off in trading and months of market doldrums — a phenomenon that memorably befell the crypto market in 2018. Bitcoin’s price plunged by more than 80% to as low as $3,100 from the end of 2017 through December of the following year, a period characterized by the boom-and-bust of initial coin offerings and several big banks shelving their plans to start cryptocurrency trading desks. Bitcoin wouldn’t reach a new high until December 2020, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Memories of 2018 are sparking fears that a repeat is playing out now after the world’s largest cryptocurrency plummeted 50% from its most recent high of almost $69,000 in November. The crypto universe has shed more than $1 trillion in market value on growing conviction that the Federal Reserve is set to start ratcheting back the ultra-accommodative policy settings that fueled a boom in risk assets.