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News/Why Did Bitcoin Crash Today? Insights on Crypto Market and SpaceX's Role

Why Did Bitcoin Crash Today? Insights on Crypto Market and SpaceX's Role

Aug 18 2023

11 months ago4 minutes read
A panicked cartoon robot staring in shock at a plunging Bitcoin chart

Market Tremors: Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Witness Major Shifts

Written by Van

On August 18, 2023, in the midst of the Asia trading window, Bitcoin prices plummeted nearly to 10%, drifting below $26,000, reaching depths unseen since the last market nosedive in June due to multiple Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuits. This dip marked a nine-week low for the champion cryptocurrency.

A modest recovery soon followed, pushing Bitcoin's price to $26,476, still recording a decline of 7.31% within a 24-hour window.


Bitcoin futures markets endured a remarkable liquidation event, causing a sudden soar in Options Implied Volatility from a steady 24% to an astonishing figure of over 55%. The aftermath was a liquidation flurry within the past 24 hours, amassing over $1.04 billion.

Among the liquidated positions, more than 80% were long positions, approximating $836 million, leading to an overwhelming 177,154 traders exiting the scene.

liquidation heatmap (1).webp
Source: Coinglass

The tremors from Bitcoin's plunge shook the broader cryptocurrency market, affecting not only Bitcoin but also the Ethereum market cap, which experienced a significant shift. The combined cryptocurrency market capitalization receded by 9%, slumping to $1.05 trillion, as crypto coin prices across the board took a hit.

This represented an overwhelming evaporation of around $95 billion in market capitalization. Irrespective of this sharp pullback, the overall trend in the vast crypto market remains wavering within a range since mid-March.

chart (1).webp

Market analysts have highlighted a peculiar trend in Bitcoin's behavior; a tendency to witness price dips around the same timeline in the year preceding its halving events. Historically, the average return of Bitcoin during August of pre-halving years sums up at a downcast -21.3%.

Several motives behind this market crash have surfaced. On top of the list, rumors that Elon Musk's SpaceX liquidated its Bitcoin holdings have been considered a substantial catalyst.

This speculation coincides with the Federal Reserve's signal to maintain steep interest rates and the perpetual cycle of institutional accumulation balanced by miner selling. The convergence of these factors has fed into the volatility, perpetuating the downward spiral witnessed.

A Stellar Crash: Was SpaceX's 'Fake' News the Cause of Bitcoin's Plunge?

Bitcoin's price plunge prompted a frenzy in the crypto community, rattling its foundation. At the heart of the plunge was a social media post by Bitcoin Magazine. It proclaimed that SpaceX had liquidated all its Bitcoin, totaling $373 million.

bitcoin magazine tweet.webp
Source: Bitcoin Magazine/ X

Rapidly gaining traction, this post reached over 2.4 million views in a short time. In the face of such colossal news, the market reacted — and Bitcoin's price plummeted.

However, as the dust settled, the authenticity of the report was called into question. The Wall Street Journal stated that SpaceX had merely marked down the value of its Bitcoin holdings, casting a long shadow of doubt over the suggestion that SpaceX had offloaded its entire Bitcoin stash recently.

The impact of this erroneous information resonated deeply within the crypto community, levying a heavy price. Many launched accusations at Bitcoin Magazine for spreading 'FUD' (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt). Such misinformation, they alleged, jeopardized its trustworthiness.

autism capital tweet.webp
Source: Autism Capital/ X

Yet, the SpaceX news was not the sole agent propelling Bitcoin's value downward. Several precursors hinted at an imminent price drop.

These included an escalating buildup of futures market short positions, dampened Bitcoin demand in the US, heightened transaction activity by Bitcoin whales, and an engulfing wave of negative sentiment among traders.

While Elon Musk's SpaceX was under scrutiny, it's worth contrasting this with Tesla—another Musk-led company. Despite Tesla liquidating a significant chunk of its Bitcoin reserves previously, it didn't trigger a precipitous price fall like the one in question.

This raises doubts about whether SpaceX's news alone could instigate such a pronounced market impact.

Decoding the Bitcoin (BTC) Price Plunge: Tracing the Roots of The Sharp Fall 

A happy cartoon robot dancing gleefully on crashed Bitcoin, celebrating with its arms in the air (1).webp

Futures and spot markets for Bitcoin experienced a tumultuous slide, as prices recorded a severe decline without warning. This section unravels the potential catalysts that might have instigated this unexpected plunge. 

Rumored Sales by SpaceX 

At the heart of the price crash were speculative whispers about SpaceX offloading its Bitcoin holdings. These rumors, however, remained unverified. SpaceX and its CEO, Elon Musk, have remained silent, adding a shroud of mystery to the reported sale and its potential timing.

China Evergrande’s Collapse 

Some pointed fingers at China Evergrande’s financial downfall as a potential trigger for the Bitcoin price plunge. Nevertheless, there was no tangible evidence linking Evergrande Group’s Chapter 15 bankruptcy filing in New York with the sudden market shift. 

Analysts' Perspective 

Experts residing on the fence expressed skepticism about the specific timing and the market's response to the rumored SpaceX Bitcoin sales. Swan Bitcoin Managing Director, Terrence Yang, argued that the market should have adjusted to the news, reflecting the impact within the price. 

Furthermore, analysts highlighted other potential causes like market exuberance and overexposure surrounding the potential approval of a US spot Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund (ETF). These speculations were fueled by reports about the deferral of the ETF's approval to March 2022.

Jason Pagoulatos, the head honcho at Delphi Digital, added that the hype around the ETF approval caught many participants off-guard which further disturbed the market balance. 

1. Market Structure and Long Squeeze

Insights from professional traders pointed towards market structure and sizable liquidations as culprits behind the sharp drop. With a predominantly illiquid and flat market, the conditions were ripe for erratic price variations. 

Bitcoin's break below the significant $28,500 mark instigated the liquidation of long positions. This development amplified the selling pressure inflicting further damage on the falling prices. Notably, OKX, a prominent cryptocurrency exchange, was the epicenter for nearly 40% of the total liquidations that occurred. 

2. US Interest Rates Bearing Down 

Rising US interest rates also came under the scanner. The yield on the key 10-year Treasury note, for instance, reached unprecedented levels, leading to a decline in value for risk-laden assets.

3. Funding Rates and Overall Sentiment 

The rise in funding rates from short traders, who were betting against the rising prices, played a vital role in contributing to the bearish sentiment prevalent in the market. 

The trading ecosystem was also eagerly anticipating the court ruling on Grayscale's much-hyped Bitcoin ETF. Rife with speculation, a favorable ruling was expected to ignite a market-wide price surge. Conversely, an adverse ruling could thrust the market further into chaos. 

Market Shockwave Led By Bitcoin 

The Bitcoin-induced market turbulence didn't spare other major cryptocurrencies. Ether (ETH), the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, fell by 12% before staging a minor recovery to $1,686, marking a daily decline of 5.88%.

Other significant altcoins also bore the brunt of the savage sell-off, with many displaying double-digit drops, as seen in the cryptocurrency charts reflecting the market turmoil.

At the time of writing, notable cryptocurrencies such as XRPLTCBCH, and APE were still suffering from substantial price declines ranging between -11.81% and -14.63%.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What caused the recent Bitcoin price crash?

While there are rumors that SpaceX's Bitcoin selloff played a role, other factors like increased U.S. interest rates and anticipation surrounding the approval of a Bitcoin ETF also contributed.

2. Do fluctuations in the Bitcoin market affect the broader cryptocurrency market?

Yes, as primarily seen in the recent Bitcoin price drop that led to a decrease in the overall crypto market capitalization and affected the price of other cryptocurrencies.

3. How do interest rates impact Bitcoin’s price?

Increased U.S. interest rates can cause a negative effect on Bitcoin value as they often lead to a decline in the value of risk-assets, including Bitcoin.

4. What is the significance of liquidations in Bitcoin's price fall?

High levels of liquidations can create increased selling pressure, leading to price declines. In this case, the break below $28,500 led to long position liquidations and reduced prices.

5. How does market sentiment influence Bitcoin's value?

Market sentiment heavily influences Bitcoin's price. In this instance, rising funding rates from short traders contributed to the bearish sentiment, leading to a price decrease.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the Bitcoin market and the broader crypto world recently faced a tempestuous phase sparked off by a sharp drop in crypto price, including Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies.

While various factors, including a rumored SpaceX Bitcoin selloff, US interest rates, and anticipation around Grayscale's Bitcoin ETF, played a role in the price plunge, claims remained unverified and speculative.

As the dust settles, the incident serves as a stark reminder of the volatile nature of cryptocurrency and the impact unconfirmed news can have on public sentiment and market behavior.

This article has been refined and enhanced by ChatGPT.

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