Bitcoin and ETH have fallen to considerably new lows in the current bear market.
On Saturday morning, Bitcoin dropped below $19,000, according to data from CoinMarketCap—a milestone seen as a crucial support level for the top cryptocurrency by market cap.
Ethereum dropped precipitously from $1,076 to $986 in less than two hours.
These new lows in Bitcoin and Ethereum, the top two “blue chip” cryptocurrencies, fall below mostly symbolic thresholds of $20,000 and $1,000, respectively.
Still, breaking through these barriers could result in a wave of “forced liquidations,” driving prices even down.
Even more importantly, Bitcoin today went below its December 2017 high of $19,834—the pinnacle of the previous bull run, which began on New Year’s Day of that year when BTC broke past $1,000. During previous bear markets, Bitcoin had never fallen below that level.
Ethereum hit $1,000 for the first time in January 2018 and was able to consistently stay above that level by January of the following year.
The crypto market is just a fraction of what it was in late 2021, when Bitcoin was trading near $69,000 and traders poured money into all kinds of speculative investments. According to CoinGecko, the overall market cap of cryptocurrencies is around $900 billion, down from $3 trillion in November.
“Sentiment in crypto markets is that the unknown unknowns are the most significant at this point in time,” said Ainsley To, Noelle Acheson and Konrad Laesser of Genesis Trading, in a note Thursday. “The resurgence of counterparty risk is a reminder that not everything that matters in risk management can be precisely quantified. Risk is what is left over after you think you’ve thought of everything.”
Crypto markets plunged early last month when major coins fell in correlation with the stock market. Within a week, Terra’s stablecoin UST and native token LUNA both imploded, erasing some $40 billion in value.