Bitcoin tumbled over 7% on Monday to its lowest in six months, as fears of a Russian attack on Ukraine saw riskier assets worldwide extend their selloff.
The largest cryptocurrency trading down 7.4% at US$33,650, its lowest since July 24, taking losses from its all-time high of US$69,000 hit in November past 50%.
The US State Department said on Sunday it was ordering diplomats’ family members to leave Ukraine in one of the clearest signs yet that American officials are bracing for an aggressive Russian move in the region.
Fears of conflict pummelled shares across the world while bolstering the dollar and oil.
Nerves over the US Federal Reserve’s two-day meeting starting on Tuesday, added to the mix, with the central bank expected to confirm it will soon start draining the pool of liquidity that has supercharged growth stocks.
Smaller cryptocurrencies, which tend to move in tandem with bitcoin, also slumped. Second-largest Ether fell 11% to US$2,253, its lowest since July 28.
“Bitcoin will face headwinds going back up until the macroeconomic conditions change,” said Mark Elenowitz, president of Horizon, a firm that services securities exchanges.
“Generally speaking, when rates are hiked, we could see more selloffs of seemingly risk-on assets like bitcoin.”
US-listed miners Riot Blockchain, Marathon Digital and Bit Digital slumped between 7.3% and 12% in premarket trading, while crypto exchange Coinbase Global dropped 7.8%.