Bitcoin slides below $30,000, wiping out 2021 gains

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Bitcoin was on track to close on Tuesday below $30,000 a coin for the first time this year.

Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, fell by as much as 4.6% to $29,393 a coin. It has not closed below $30,000 since Dec. 31. 

"The latest sharp sell-off across the cryptocurrency space is seeing heavyweights Bitcoin and Ethereum touching important support levels that are becoming increasingly fragile," said Nicholas Cawley, an analyst at DailyFX. "The lack of any rebound over the past three weeks suggests traders are no longer interested in ‘buying the dip.’"

Tuesday’s selloff comes a day after a broad selloff in risk assets and as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called on regulators to create a regulatory framework for stablecoins, which are backed by a reserve asset like U.S. dollars. Stablecoins offer holders the privacy of cryptocurrencies and the stability of fiat currencies. 

Bitcoin’s price had spent the prior two months bouncing between $30,000 and $40,000 after the Chinese government in May induced a selloff after calling for a crackdown on mining of the cryptocurrency.

The price of bitcoin had surged by as much as 116% this year, topping out at $63,503 a coin in April, as a number of U.S. companies, including MicroStrategy and Tesla, began investing in the cryptocurrency as a way to diversify their cash. 

Analysts say bitcoin’s bear market still has room to run. 

J.P. Morgan analysts said last month that bitcoin’s share of the crypto market would need to climb back above 50% before they became more comfortable that the selloff was over. 

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Tuesday’s selling brought bitcoin’s market capitalization down to $555.6 billion, or about 46% of the $1.2 trillion crypto universe. 

Bitcoin’s market cap in April topped out at more than $1.1 trillion, or 70% of the crypto space.

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