More than $107 million was liquidated across crypto derivatives markets during the quick plunge, according to Coinglass.
Helping to spur the slump was the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) teasing the announcement of a major international crypto enforcement action coming at noon ET. There were also some hawkish comments from St. Louis Federal Reserve President Jim Bullard, who suggested the central bank should hike interest rates by 50 basis points at its next meeting in February versus market expectations for a 25 basis point move.
All three major U.S. stock market indices are also in the red, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average leading the downside with a 1% decline.
Ether (ETH) is off 4% to $1,511.
Among crypto-related stocks pulling back are Coinbase (COIN) down 4%, Marathon Digital (MARA) down 17%, and MicroStrategy (MSTR) down 11%.
UPDATE (Jan. 18, 17:40 UTC): The government has charged little-known crypto platform Bitzlato with laundering funds tied to illicit Russian finance and its founder has been arrested. With the "major" perhaps somewhat overhyped, bitcoin has bounced a bit, now trading just below $21,000.
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