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Crypto markets closed in the red for the first time in 2023 after the SEC’s Kraken crackdown sent coin prices plummeting.
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Those hoping for a Bitcoin bull in 2023 will have to wait. The value of cryptocurrencies has fallen sharply over the past week, putting a damper on the market’s near-continuous gains since the start of the new year.
Bitcoin (BTC) saw its biggest loss of the year so far in a week. The world’s largest cryptocurrency by market cap is down 7.5% in the past seven days to $21,760 at the start of the weekend, according to CoinGecko data. Ethereum, the #2 cryptocurrency by market cap, is down 8.5% this week, changing hands at $1,524 at the time of writing.
Much of the bearish outlook this week came from US regulators, who have kept a close eye on cryptocurrencies following several high-profile bankruptcies at companies including Celsius, Three Arrows Capital, and FTX over the past year.
For example, on Wednesday, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong tweeted that he had “heard rumors that the SEC is planning to end crypto-stagnation in the United States for retail customers.”
Armstrong then defended Ethereum staking, where anyone with 32 ETH (about $50,000) can freeze their coins and start mining Ethereum. Coinbase CEO argues: This does not make Ethereum a security.
The rumors were confirmed on Thursday. The SEC then announced that it had fined Kraken $30 million and ordered the betting service shut down. The implications of this enforcement action are far-reaching.
Solana with heavy losses
As for the rest of the crypto market, Monero (XMR), a coin that facilitates private transactions, saw one of the biggest drops in value among the top 30 coins this week. Monero is down 14% and is trading at $154 at the time of writing.
Avalanche (AVAX) is down 13.5% and is currently trading at $18.14. Dogecoin Popular memecoin (DOGE) also fell by 13% and currently trades at $0.082035.
Solana (SOL) suffered the biggest losses among the top cryptocurrencies, losing 17% of its market value. Current price: $20.85.
Owners of Cardano (ADA), Litecoin (LTC), Cosmos Hub (ATOM), and Toncoin (TON) all saw their portfolios drop 8%.
The only leading cryptocurrency to post significant gains this week was the DAO token for the largest liquid crypto staking protocol, Lido Finance. LDO rose 11% to $2.55 after the team released details of a major upgrade. This focuses on unblocking Ethereum withdrawals and diversifying the network’s validators.
The upgrade has yet to be approved by a DAO vote. Therefore, the price increase on LDO was probably fueled by investors who wanted to vote, as well as those who were worried about the future of Ethereum after the SEC’s cold actions against Kraken. The situation is likely to keep the crypto markets suspended for weeks to come.
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