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Bitcoin slides under $20,000 to lowest stage in 18 months

Bitcoin dropped below $20,000 on Saturday to its weakest in 18 months, extending a slide on investor worries about growing troubles in the industry and the general pullback from riskier assets.

The digital currency sector has been pummelled this week after cryptocurrency lending company Celsius froze withdrawals and transfers between accounts, while crypto companies started laying off employees and there were reports that a cryptocurrency hedge fund ran into trouble.

It has coincided with an equities slide, with US stocks suffering the biggest weekly percentage decline in two years on fears of rising interest rates and growing likelihood of recession.

Bitcoin, the biggest cryptocurrency, was last down 7.79% at $18,848, having earlier touched $18,732, its lowest since December 2020.

It is down about 59% this year, while rival cryptocurrency Ethereum-backed ether is down 74%.

“Breaking $20,000 shows you that confidence has collapsed for the crypto industry,” said Oanda senior market analyst Edward Moya.

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