SAN FRANCISCO — Bitcoin plunged below $20,000 on Saturday, shedding nine per cent from the previous day to fall to $18,740, its lowest level since December 13, 2020.
With investors increasingly wary of risk, the world's most popular crypto asset has lost more than 72 per cent of its value since reaching a high of $68,991 on November 10, 2021.
After sinking to $18,740 on Saturday, Bitcoin rose to $18,941 at 15:50 GMT, down 8 per cent from Friday.
Other major digital currencies were also down on Saturday, including ether, which lost nearly 10 per cent of its value.
World stock markets plunged this week amid fears that inflation-fighting interest rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve and other central banks could trigger a recession.
Cryptocurrencies have paid the biggest price.
The value of the global crypto market fell below the symbolic $1 trillion mark on Monday after reaching $3 trillion in November of last year.
Bitcoin's fall has been accelerated by the suspension of withdrawals by two cryptocurrency platforms.
The Celsius Network said it was pausing "all withdrawals, swap, and transfers between accounts" due to "extreme market conditions".
Babel Finance said it was facing "unusual liquidity pressures".
Major exchange Binance temporarily suspended Bitcoin withdrawals and advised customers to use other networks.
Coinbase said Monday that it was trimming 18 per cent of its workforce, about 1,100 jobs, citing tight economic conditions and overly rapid expansion.
"We appear to be entering a recession after a 10+ year economic boom," Coinbase founder and CEO Brian Armstrong said.
In recent years, the crypto sector benefited from a vast infusion of cash due to easy money policies from the world's biggest central banks.
However, rampant inflation has sparked tighter monetary policy across the globe, helping to send the industry crashing.