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Bitcoin experienced a significant drop on Wednesday, reaching its lowest level in over two months as a result of broader risk-off sentiment in the markets. The world’s leading digital currency plummeted to $56,757.93, dipping below the $57,000 mark for the first time since February 28, according to CoinGecko data. As of Wednesday, Bitcoin was down 6.3% to $57,505.24. Other cryptocurrencies such as ether, solana, and XRP also experienced declines of 4.5%, 5.9%, and 1.4%, respectively. The sell-off in the crypto market can be attributed to ongoing concerns about the upcoming interest rate decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The Federal Open Market Committee is scheduled to convene on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the latest policy on interest rates. Investors are closely monitoring Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s statements for insights on the conditions required for interest rate adjustments. The current market volatility is driven by fears of a prolonged period before any rate cuts are implemented. Bitcoin, often likened to traditional risk assets like stocks, faces additional pressure as investors seek alternative hedges against inflation. However, the cryptocurrency’s performance as an inflation hedge has been inconsistent.

Geoff Kendrick, head of digital asset research at Standard Chartered, highlighted several key factors influencing Bitcoin’s recent price drop. These include consecutive outflows from U.S. spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds over the past five days, a deteriorating macroeconomic environment, and reduced market liquidity. The lackluster response to the launch of spot bitcoin ETFs in Hong Kong further exacerbated the downward pressure on Bitcoin prices. Despite solid net asset positions, the ETFs experienced low trading volumes on their debut, with investors showing a preference for more liquid assets given the current economic climate.

The decline in cryptocurrency prices coincided with news of former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao being sentenced to four months in prison for money laundering charges. The regulatory crackdown on cryptocurrency exchanges and individuals involved in illicit activities has added to the negative sentiment in the market. Investors remain cautious about the outlook for digital assets, particularly in the face of regulatory uncertainties and macroeconomic headwinds. The ongoing market turbulence underscores the need for a cautious approach to investing in cryptocurrencies amid heightened volatility and regulatory scrutiny.

Finance

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