Crypto Market Suffers Massive Sell-Off as Fed Plans to Wrap Up Market Stimulus, Mulls Digital Dollar

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Cryptocurrency - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.01.2022
The cryptocurrency market has mainly been in the red since the middle of November, when global economies, including the US, started reporting decades-high levels of inflation prompting fear in investors about the coming end of government economic stimulus.
Friday was another dark day for Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies as they plunged deep into the red amid a continuing sell-off of risky assets by investors caused by the uncertainty on global markets. BTC lost 12% of its value on 21 January dipping below $36,000 per coin. It is currently trading at nearly half the value it had during its November peak of over $67,500.
Most other cryptocurrencies fared no better, with Bitcoin's rival, Ether losing 13%, and other top altcoins (by market capitalisation) Binance Coin and Cardano falling by 13.4% and 12.8% respectively in the last 24 hours. The aggregate cryptocurrency market has lost over $1 trillion in value since the start of the bearish trend at the end of November.
Representations of virtual cryptocurrencies are seen in this illustration taken November 28, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.01.2022
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The cryptocurrency market sell-off coincided with a broad negative trend that captured stock markets across the globe. Investors around the world are selling risky equities opting for safer harbours as economic prospects remain unclear. Since the middle of November, markets have experienced pressure from two factors: the threat of a new wave of the pandemic with the emergence of the Omicron strain of COVID-19 and the abnormally high levels of inflation.
The latter has already prompted fears that the US Federal Reserve will wrap up its economic stimulus programme in an attempt to curb inflation, which reached 7% in December 2021 (versus 1.4% in 2020 and 1.81% in 2019). Stock markets in the US tanked under the pressure of these concerns, with the S&P 500 sliding by 7% to its last peak and the Nasdaq 100 Index of technological companies losing 10% to its last maximum.

Tough Year for Crypto Market and Even Tougher Days Ahead?

Despite Bitcoin and several other coins hitting historic records in 2021 the year was hardly a banner one for cryptocurrencies. Their market, especially BTC, suffered a heavy blow when China banned operations with cryptocurrencies on all levels and outlawed their mining in the summer amid a shortage of power generation and high consumption. However, 2022 started no better for the crypto-world.
On the very first week of the year the world's second-biggest cryptomining country, Kazakhstan, was rocked by protests that prompted internet cut-offs and weeks of instability. These events cost Bitcoin roughly $5,000 in value according to the worst estimates.
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And earlier this week, the Central Bank of Russia, the world's third-biggest Bitcoin miner, proposed to outlaw most operations with cryptocurrencies and ban their mining. Following the announcement, BTC lost 8% in value sliding down to August 2021 levels along with most other cryptocurrencies.
The US, where cryptocurrencies are also not entirely regulated, has shown the first signs that it is considering issuing a government-approved "alternative" – a digital dollar. The Federal Reserve officially admitted contemplating the idea, but its issuance is not yet cast in stone. Instead, the Fed addressed the public and stakeholders seeking their comments on the idea until 20 May 2022.
The Federal Reserve itself is exploring the benefits and the downsides of issuing a digital dollar, but the final decision to go ahead will be made by the White House and Congress.
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