Bitcoin (BTC) took an unexpected dive, plunging $600 in a matter of minutes. The plunge saw 15 of the 20 largest crypto assets by market cap down 5% or more on this time yesterday.
The price drop began around 21:45 UTC when Bitcoin lost $800 in an hour. More than $100 million worth of long contracts were liquidated on BitMEX alone during the plunge. The crash saw a significant reduction in the number of both open longs and open shorts on Bitfinex. With the number of longs testing all time highs just a few days ago, they plunged by nearly 5% from 45,190 to 42,965 in less than 60 minutes. Meanwhile, the number of open short positions decreased by 6.4% 12,675 to 11,860. The drop comes after shorts steadily increased for nearly six weeks after setting a new record low during early January.
BTC’s crash drove significant losses across most leading markets today, with seven of the 10 largest alternative cryptocurrencies by capitalization posting 24-hour losses of between 6% and 8%. As of this writing, Tezos (XTZ) and Chainlink (LINK) are the only leading cryptocurrencies to have outperformed BTC over the past day. While LINK is currently down nearly 3%, XTZ is the sole market among the top 19 to post a 24-hour gain – currently up by 4.2%.
EOS is the poorest performing of the day, sustaining an 11.8% drop against the dollar over the past day. Looking at the crypto markets broadly, the Fear and Greed Index has dropped from 59 to 50 since Feb. 16, signaling that the market may be trending toward overselling. Some crypto analysts have speculated the crash may be related to $60 million worth of USDT newly minted roughly 13 hours ago. The issuance took place approximately one hour before Binance’s platform went down for six hours of unscheduled maintenance, and followed several days’ worth of reports noting that Binance was suffering from shortages of stablecoins for margin loans.