Bitcoin slumps below US$19,000, Ether drops despite Merge progress

Bitcoin dipped under US$19,000 to the lowest price since mid-June in an across-the-market slump for the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization in Wednesday morning trading in Asia. Ether also lost ground even though it began one of its last required upgrades on Tuesday before the network Merge expected later this month.

See related article: Markets: Bitcoin rises slightly, Ether and Ethereum Classic gain amid price run for alternatives

Fast facts

  • Bitcoin dropped 4.9% in the past 24 hours to US$18,837 at 8 a.m. in Hong Kong, the lowest since June 19. Ether fell 3.5% to US$1,560, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

  • Cardano led the losses in CoinMarketCap’s top 10, dropping 7.2% to US$0.46, with Dogecoin close behind with a 6% decline to US$0.058.

  • The Ethereum network began what is known as the “Bellatrix” upgrade on Tuesday at 7:35 p.m. in Hong Kong as part of the network’s move to a Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism, which had boosted both Ethereum and Ethereum Classic token prices in recent months.

  • Ethereum Classic — the original network from which Ethereum was forked — also fell back today, losing 12.37% to US$34.56.

  • Cryptocurrencies this year have increasingly moved in track with equities and stock markets are in a downtrend due to a long list of negative macroeconomic developments. They include inflation in the U.S. that looks set to drive interest rates even higher this year, worries about debt loads and a slowdown in China as Beijing imposes more Covid-19 lockdowns, and Russia squeezing off Europe’s energy supplies as the war in Ukraine shows no sign of ending.     

  • U.S. equities fell Tuesday on the first day of trading after the Labor Day long weekend. The Nasdaq finished the day down 0.7% to post its longest losing streak in six years. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.6% and the S&P 500 Index fell 0.4%.

See related article: Crypto miners plan to fork Ethereum, will it make a difference to the Merge?