First Mover Americas: Bitcoin, Ether Plunge Anew as Celsius Halts Withdrawals

The latest moves in crypto markets in context for June 13, 2022.

AccessTimeIconJun 13, 2022 at 1:39 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 4:36 p.m. UTC
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Good morning, and welcome to First Mover. I’m Bradley Keoun, here to take you through the latest in crypto markets, news and insights. (Lyllah Ledesma is off.)

  • Price point: Bitcoin tumbles to $23,000 as fears mount of fresh systemic risks, with financial markets still under threat from the Federal Reserve's campaign to stamp out inflation.
  • Market moves: The crypto lender Celsius jolted traders with the news that it was pausing withdrawals due to "extreme market conditions."

Price point

Bitcoin (BTC) suffered one of its worst price declines of the year, tumbling alongside ether (ETH) and other cryptocurrencies as a fresh wave of panic struck traders just one month after the Terra blockchain's meltdown.

As of press time, bitcoin was down 11% to about $23,900, extending a losing streak that has now stretched to seven straight days.

Ether, the native token of the Ethereum blockchain, plunged 16% to $1,232. The overall market capitalization of cryptocurrencies fell below $1 trillion for the first time since January 2021.

The latest sell-off came as fears emerged of a new potential systemic threat to digital-asset markets, after the crypto lending service Celsius announced in a blog post that it was pausing withdrawals amid "extreme market conditions."

The price of Celsius' CEL token fell over 50% after the news came out.

Analysts also cited growing concern that the Federal Reserve may have to step up its campaign to tighten monetary conditions after a report Friday showed the U.S. inflation rate unexpectedly accelerating to a new four-decade high. Cryptocurrencies, like stocks, have come under harsh downward price pressure this year from the central bank's push to withdraw excess liquidity from financial markets.

In traditional finance, U.S. stock futures were down, pointing to a dismal start to the week as signals appeared in the bond market that recession risk is rising.

Market moves

Nexo Proposes Celsius Buyout as Rival Lending Platform Halts Withdrawals - by Oliver Knight and Nikhilesh De

Cryptocurrency lending platform Nexo expressed interest in buying certain assets from rival Celsius after Celsius said it was freezing withdrawals and transfers because of extreme market conditions.

In a letter to Celsius on Monday, Nexo said it was particularly interested in Celsius’ collateralized loan portfolio. Nexo publicized the letter, which didn't mention a price, in a tweet. The letter was from a business entity named Nexo AG in Zug, Switzerland, though Nexo's operations are based out of Sofia, Bulgaria, according to executives at the firm.

Nexo said it was looking to acquire assets “mostly or fully of collateralized loan receivables secured by corresponding collateral assets, as well as brand assets and the customer database."

Celsius wrote earlier in a blog post that "We are working with a singular focus: to protect and preserve assets to meet our obligations to customers.”

“Our ultimate objective is stabilizing liquidity and restoring withdrawals, Swap, and transfers between accounts as quickly as possible," Celsius wrote. "There is a lot of work ahead as we consider various options. This process will take time, and there may be delays."

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Today’s newsletter was edited by Bradley Keoun and produced by Parikshit Mishra.

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CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk offers all employees above a certain salary threshold, including journalists, stock options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Bradley Keoun

Bradley Keoun is the managing editor of CoinDesk's Tech & Protocols team. He owns less than $1,000 each of several cryptocurrencies.

Parikshit Mishra

Parikshit Mishra is CoinDesk's Deputy Managing Editor responsible for breaking news coverage. He does not have any crypto holdings.

Shaurya Malwa

Shaurya is the Deputy Managing Editor for the Data & Tokens team, focusing on decentralized finance, markets, on-chain data, and governance across all major and minor blockchains.

Oliver Knight

Oliver Knight is a CoinDesk reporter based between London and Lisbon. He does not own any crypto.

Nikhilesh De

Nikhilesh De is CoinDesk's managing editor for global policy and regulation. He owns marginal amounts of bitcoin and ether.


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