First Mover Americas: Bitcoin Slumps, Liquidations Surge

The latest price moves in crypto markets in context for March 19, 2024.

AccessTimeIconMar 19, 2024 at 12:01 p.m. UTC
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This article originally appeared in First Mover, CoinDesk's daily newsletter, putting the latest moves in crypto markets in context. Subscribe to get it in your inbox every day.

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prices FMA March 19 2024

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Late Monday, bitcoin (BTC) suffered a short-lived crash to as low as $8,900 on cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX while prices on other exchanges held well above $60,000. The slide began at 22:40 UTC, and within two minutes prices fell to $8,900, the lowest since early 2020, according to data from charting platform TradingView. The recovery was equally quick, with prices rebounding to $67,000 by 22:50 UTC. Throughout the boom-bust episode on BitMEX, BTC’s global average price was around $67,400. Some observers on social media platform X say that selling by a so-called whale – or large holder – catalyzed the crash. According to @syq, someone sold over 850 BTC ($55.49 million) on BitMEX, driving the XBT/USDT spot pair lower.

A bitcoin (BTC) drop to under $64,000 caused over $440 million in liquidations for crypto futures traders betting on higher prices. Some traders expect bitcoin to slide to $55,000 in the short term. Long bets on bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market value, took on $100 million in losses alone, with ether (ETH), Solana’s SOL and dogecoin (DOGE) taking on a cumulative $120 million in long liquidations, data from Coinglass shows. Data shows that the most liquidations, $212 million, took place on Binance, followed by OKX at $170 million. Bitcoin started to drop late U.S. hours on Monday amid record high outflows from Grayscale’s GBTC exchange-traded fund (ETF) at over $640 million. Inflows to other ETF products were just under $500 million, leaving the market with a net outflow of $15 million on Monday.

Binance is asking its prime brokers to conduct enhanced know-your-customer (KYC) tests on clients to ensure they aren’t serving U.S. nationals, according to a report from Bloomberg. Prime brokers act as intermediaries between institutional investors and the market, offering services such as custody, trade execution, risk management and lending to attract customers by providing a comprehensive end-to-end service similar to their counterparts in traditional finance. After Binance pleaded guilty to breaking sanctions and money-transmitting laws in the U.S., settling the case for $4.3 billion, it has required prime brokers like FalconX and Hidden Road to collect additional client information, including office addresses and the locations of employees and founders, along with signed attestations verifying the accuracy of the information, Bloomberg reported.

Chart of the Day

chart of day FMA 19-Mar-2024
  • The chart shows the cumulative volume delta (CVD) in ether (ETH) and solana (SOL) spot markets on Coinbase over the past seven days. A positive and rising CVD indicates net buying pressure, while a negative CVD suggests otherwise.
  • SOL's CVD has risen sharply, in contrast to the downtrend in ETH's CVD.
  • In other words, traders have been aggressively buying SOL while selling ETH.
  • Source: Coinalyze, TradingView

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Edited by Sheldon Reback.


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Lyllah Ledesma

Lyllah Ledesma is a CoinDesk Markets reporter currently based in Europe. She holds bitcoin, ether and small amounts of other crypto assets.

Omkar Godbole

Omkar Godbole is a Co-Managing Editor on CoinDesk's Markets team.

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