As Evergrande's Turmoil Pummels Bitcoin, Ethereum, And Other Major Cryptocurrencies, Crypto Markets Suddenly Lose $250 Billion In Value.

During a widespread market sell-off sparked by fears of a potentially catastrophic debt default in China, cryptocurrency prices plunged Monday morning. pushing many of the world's largest digital currencies to their lowest levels in more than a month.

  • The value of the world's cryptocurrencies had dropped to less than $1.9 trillion by 8:45 a.m. EDT on Monday, down about 11% from the previous day and reflecting a loss of more than $250 billion, according to crypto-data website CoinMarketCap.
  • Bitcoin prices plunged 9% to less than $42,669, while ether prices fell over 10% to a low of $2,940, marking their lowest levels since early August.
  • At the height of the sell-off, even lately soaring tokens like Solana's sol and Cardano's ada plummeted by approximately 10%.
  • The sudden pullback occurred after shares of Chinese real estate giant Evergrande, which has more than $305 billion in liabilities, plunged to their lowest level in 11 years, triggering a sharp sell-off as analysts warned the company's potential collapse could pose risks to the broader market, according to Jonas Luethy of digital asset broker GlobalBlock in a Monday note.
  • Luethy also blamed increased regulatory scrutiny for the panic selling, citing Bloomberg's revelation over the weekend that Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, is being investigated by US regulators for alleged insider trading and market manipulation.
  • As prices plummeted, El Salvador's President, Nayib Bukele, stated that the country had "purchased the dip" for the second time this month, spending $6.5 million to add 150 bitcoins to its cryptocurrency holdings.

Last week, Evergrande, China's second-largest property developer, informed banks that it would be unable to fulfil debt payments due this month, causing the Chinese real estate market to plummet.

The losses quickly spread to other markets as experts warned that its default could trigger a Chinese "Lehman moment," as market analyst Tom Essaye, author of the Sevens Report, put it in a note last week. He was referring to the collapse of the U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers at the start of the Great Recession.

In a Monday email, wealth advisor David Bahnsen of California's The Bahnsen Group stated, "There isn't enough clarity on how Evergrande's troubles may effect the global economy, and that uncertainty is enough to terrify markets."

Along with historic adoption measures, interest in digital collectibles known as non-fungible tokens and concerns about rising inflation have helped the cryptocurrency market pare back losses since Chinese regulation sparked a nearly 50% drop in early May, though it's still down nearly 25% from its all-time high four months ago.

JPMorgan analysts warned in a report earlier this month that the recently expanding market for smaller cryptocurrencies less established than bitcoin likely reflects "froth and retail investor enthusiasm," noting that such mania has previously resulted in almost 50% price corrections.

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