NEW YORK — The price of bitcoin fell below $20,000 on Saturday for the first time since late 2020, in a fresh sign that the selloff in cryptocurrencies is deepening.
Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency, fell below the psychologically important threshold, dropping by as much as 12% to less than $18,100 by late afternoon on the East Coast, according to the cryptocurrency news site CoinDesk.
The last time bitcoin was at that level was in November 2020, when it was on its way up to its all-time high of nearly $69,000, according to CoinDesk. Many in the industry had believed it would not fall under $20,000.
Bitcoin has now lost more than 70% of its value since reaching its peak.
Ethereum, another widely followed cryptocurrency that’s been sliding in recent weeks, took a similar tumble on Saturday.
It’s the latest sign of turmoil in the cryptocurrency industry amid wider turbulence in financial markets. Investors are selling off riskier assets because central banks are raising interest rates to combat quickening inflation.
The overall market value of cryptocurrency assets has fallen from $3 trillion to below $1 trillion, according to coinmarketcap.com, a company that tracks crypto prices. On Saturday, the company’s data showed crypto’s global market value stood at about $834 billion.
A spate of crypto meltdowns has erased tens of billions of dollars of value from the currencies and sparked urgent calls to regulate the freewheeling industry. Last week, bipartisan legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate to regulate the digital assets. The crypto industry has also upped its lobbying efforts — flooding $20 million into congressional races this year for the first time, according to records and interviews.
Cesare Fracassi, a finance professor at the University of Texas at Austin who leads the school’s Blockchain Initiative, believes Bitcoin’s fall under the psychological threshold isn’t a big deal. Instead, he said the focus should be on recent news from lending platforms.
Cryptocurrency lending platform Celsius Network said this month that it was pausing all withdrawals and transfers, with no sign of when it would give its 1.7 million customers access to their funds. Another crypto lending platform, Babel Finance, said in a notice posted on its website Friday that it will suspend redemptions and withdrawals on products due to “unusual liquidity pressures.”
“There is a lot of turbulence in the market,” Fracassi said. “And the reason why prices are going down is because there is a lot of concern the sector is overleveraged.”
The cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase announced Tuesday that it laid off about 18% of its workforce, with the company’s CEO and cofounder Brian Armstrong placing some of the blame on a coming “crypto winter.”
Stablecoin Terra imploded last month, losing tens of billions of dollars in value in a matter of hours.
Crypto had permeated much of popular culture before its recent tumble, with many Super Bowl ads touting the digital assets and celebrities and YouTube personalities routinely promoting it on social media.
David Gerard, a crypto critic and author of “Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain,” said the recent meltdowns show a failure by regulators, who he believes should have put more scrutiny on the industry years ago. Many nascent investors — especially young people — invested in crypto based on a false hope that was sold to them, he said.
“There are real human victims here that are ordinary people.”
Chan reported from London.
Gerrit Cole’s strong outing wasted in Yankees’ no-no loss
This wasn’t what Gerrit Cole had in mind earlier in the week when he laughed at how being on the mound for a no-hitter has eluded him.
Cole spun a gem of a start Saturday, but wound up on the losing end because he shared the rubber with three Astros pitchers who combined on a no-hitter in a 3-0 victory over the Yankees. In a reminder of how cruel baseball can be, Cole twice took no-hitters into the middle of the game or beyond this week and wound up with a no-decision and a loss on his record (6-2).
“The cold hard truth is we got outpitched and outplayed,” Cole said. “Credit to the opponent. Magical day for them.”
Cole lost a no-hitter in the eighth inning Monday against the Rays, but the Yankees still won, which created a light moment when he joked he has never completed the job despite building a résumé with four All-Star selections and an ERA title. There was no such luck or levity Saturday when he would needed perfection — or better — to outduel Astros starter Cristian Javier and two relievers.
Instead, Cole settled for striking out eight and scattering four hits over seven innings.
“Gerrit’s just going to keep doing that,” catcher Jose Trevino said. “That’s good for us in the long run.”
Cole walked two, but did not allow a hit until back-to-back, two-out singles by Jake Meyers and Martin Maldonado in the fifth inning. He survived that jam unharmed, but his 101st pitch was his big mistake in the seventh inning of a scoreless game.
J.J. Matijevic turned on a low-inside fastball and deposited it into the right-field seats for a homer as his reward for showing patience laying off a first pitch in the dirt. The rookie first baseman’s only two career hits have been solo home runs.
“I tried to make an adjustment and I obviously overcorrected and threw the pitch into an area that he was anticipating or he wasn’t going to be late on,” Cole said. “Not the side of the plate that we were trying to go to. It was honestly just a bad miss, but I don’t want to take any credit away from the guy who put a good swing on it.”
The solace is that Cole is pitching like an ace. He has allowed one run or fewer in five of his last six starts. Matijevic’s home run snapped Cole’s 21-inning scoreless streak at home.
“Right away he was getting swing-and miss-with his heater, which was big while he was finding it those first two innings,” manager Aaron Boone said. “I thought his stuff was really good. Once he settled in, he was terrific.”
4 wounded, including 8-year-old, in Brooklyn scooter shooting
Four people were wounded — including an 8-year-old boy — in a scooter shooting in Brooklyn on Saturday night, police said.
Two men riding on a scooter pulled up around 11:30 p.m. to a large gathering of people in front of the Stuyvesant Gardens Houses on Quincy Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant and opened fire into the crowd, cops said.
An 8-year-old boy received a graze wound in the leg. A 27-year-old male, a 35-year-old female and a 46-year-old female were also each shot in the legs.
All four victims were transported to Kings County Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
The suspects fled on a green and white scooter in an unknown direction, according to police and sources.
Six shell casings and two live rounds were recovered at the scene, sources said.
No arrests have been made at this time as police continued to canvas the area early Sunday morning.
Man arrested for attempted murder of LAPD officers amid Roe v. Wade protests
A man was charged with attempted murder of Los Angeles police officers Friday night amid protests of the Roe v. Wade reversal, cops said.
A woman was also charged with resisting police after four officers were injured following a barrage of projectiles, fireworks and a makeshift blow torch, according to officials.
The mayhem unfolded around 8:20 p.m. in Downtown Los Angeles, the LAPD said.
Michael Ortiz, 30, is accused of throwing a makeshift flame thrower at an officer, who was treated for burns, according to a Saturday press release.
Juliana Bernado, 23, allegedly attempted to steal an officer’s baton. A “less-lethal” bullet was fired at her, and she was taken into custody, police said.
“I condemn the violence against officers that occurred last night and into today,” Chief Michel Moore said.
“Individuals participating in such criminal activity are not exercising their 1st Amendment rights in protest of the Supreme Court decision, rather, they are acting as criminals.
The Department will vigorously pursue prosecution of these individuals.”
Large scale protests in other cities large and small around the country were mostly peaceful.
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