Bitcoin Crashes Below $24,000, Crypto Lender Celsius Network, Binance Freeze Withdrawals

Celsius said it would freeze crypto withdrawals “to put Celsius in a better position to honour, over time, its obligations” as bitcoin prices collapsed to a December 2020 low.

Updated at 9:49 am EST

Bitcoin prices retreated sharply in overnight trading, taking it back below the lowest levels since December of 2020, as surging interest rates reduced demand for the world’s biggest cryptocurrency.

Surging inflation, aggressive signaling on rate hikes by the Federal Reserve and other central banks, as well as rising bond yields and a resurgent U.S. dollar have all combined to add downward pressure on crypto assets even amidst wider adoption from various governments around the world to either add or compliment bitcoin into its national currencies.

The moves prompted cryptocurrency lender Celsius Network to freeze withdraws from its deposit base due to what the group called “extreme market conditions”. That move was echoed by Binance early in the Monday session, citing a ‘stuck transaction’ on the world’s biggest crypto trading platform.

“The wider crypto ecosystem has been rocked again – not by ‘real’ cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but by DeFi.,” said Nigel Green, CEO of the financial advisory deVere Group.

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“The unprecedented move by Celsius is effectively blocking clients from accessing their assets which will do little to quell fears from critics that some DeFi platforms could be Ponzi schemes,” he added. “I would urge people to exercise caution and scrutiny on crypto lending firms which offer clients lucrative double-digit yields on assets like Bitcoin and Ethereum.” 

Bitcoin prices were last seen 14% lower on the session at $23,646.36, a move that extends its year-to-date decline to around 48.8%. 

The U.S. dollar index was marked 0.54% higher in early Monday trading, and within touching distance of its recent 20-year high, to change hands at 104.710 in overnight trading against a basket of six global peer currencies, marking the greenback’s year-to-date gain at around 9.08%.

Coinbase Global  (COIN) – Get Coinbase Global Inc Report shares slumped 15.25% lower to $49.76 each in pre-market trading, while Robinhood  (HOOD) – Get Robinhood Markets Inc. Report shares were down 8.3% at $7.16 each. 

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