Bitcoin breaks beneath $26,000, posts worst week since Might

A worsening macroeconomic climate and the collapse of industry giants such as FTX and Terra have weighed on bitcoin’s price this year.

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Cryptocurrency prices remained under pressure to end the week.

Bitcoin ended the day lower by about 6% at $26,038.41, according to Coin Metrics. It wavered over $26,000 throughout the day Friday, following a stunning fall that began late Thursday.

The move pulled the rest of the crypto market lower. Ether and Binance coin each fell about 4%, while Cardano’s ada lost more than 3% Friday. Ripple’s XRP slid 13% and the Solana token lost 7%.

For the week, bitcoin ended down 11.28% for its seventh weekly loss in the past eight and its worst week since November. Coin Metrics measures a week in crypto, which trades 24 hours a day, from the 4:00 p.m. ET stock market close one Friday to the next.

Crypto was under pressure throughout Thursday but dropped sharply around 6 p.m. ET., following a report in The Wall Street Journal that Elon Musk’s SpaceX wrote down the value of its bitcoin holdings by $373 million last year and in 2021, and sold the cryptocurrency.

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Bitcoin heads for its worst week since May

“The selloff appears to largely have been fear-induced on the back of headlines that SpaceX sold off Bitcoin assets,” said Darius Tabatabai, co-founder at decentralized exchange Vertex Protocol. “No proof has emerged that happened, and thin summer liquidity led to prices gapping dramatically downward, causing cascading liquidations in derivatives markets, further amplifying the drop similarly to how we’ve seen selloffs occur in panic selling episodes.”

“Currently, we’re seeing negative funding rates for perpetual futures, which can portend bearish momentum for the time being, but in this case it could very well turn on a dime, given the speed and violence of the move,” Tabatabai added.

Bitcoin has been stagnant for much of the third quarter, a historically weak one for the cryptocurrency. It’s now off 14.25% for the quarter and about 10.69% for August. Despite recent softness in the market even ahead of this week’s dramatic slide, bitcoin is still up about 57% in 2023.

—CNBC’s Nick Wells contributed reporting.

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