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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Bitcoin Prices Haven’t Dropped This Low Since December 2020

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Image for article titled Gulp: Bitcoin Prices Haven't Dropped This Low Since December 2020

Image: Dan Kitwood (Getty Images)

The 2022 Summer of Terror continues to scorch the cryptocurrency industry. Just as some eagerly hoped the worst might be over, prices of Bitcoin Wednesday hit yet another grim milestone, dropping to an 18-month-low.

Bitcoin, at one point, reportedly dipped 7.8% to $20,289 this week. That’s the currency’s lowest point since December 2020. A recent Reuters report attributed the most recent massive price falls (which wasn’t limited to Bitcoin), to the sudden freezing of crypto withdrawals by lender Celsius. Binance also reportedly temporarily halted withdrawals. Ether fell as much as 12%, marking a 15-month low for the coin. The most recent spell of bad news comes around one month after crypto’s Red Wedding moment where around $300 billion in value was wiped from the market in a matter of days.

The downturn isn’t just limited to fluctuating prices either. Crypto firms themselves are increasingly approaching a state of crisis. Earlier this week Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong wrote a letter to staff explaining the company would need to lay off 18% of its employees, about 1,100 people, due to overly optimistic growth and fears of an impending recession on the horizon. In his statement, Armstrong said employee costs had become “too high to effectively manage this uncertain market.

While Coinbase marks the biggest name to announce layoffs in the space, they aren’t the only ones bleeding. BlockFi, Gemini, and Crypto.com have all similarly announced layoffs of 20% 10%, and 5% of their staff respectively, all in the same week.

Don’t tell any of that to Binance. The Chinese-based exchange opted to move in exactly the opposite direction this week, with CEO Changpeng Zhao announcing the company plans to hire 2,000 new positions.

In a tweet seemingly justifying the company’s coming spending Zhao suggested they had previously turned down Super Bowl ads, stadium naming rights, and sponsor deals. The job openings, while seemingly out of step with the current climate around crypto, may come as some welcome news for the growing cohort of newly unemployed workers from Coinbase and elsewhere.

Still, the real winner of this entire situation really, are the thousands of fans for some flailing baseball or hockey team that would have had to spend their weekends huddled in “Binance Arena,” had the company spent its cash earlier.


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