Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies slide as global stocks fall on hawkish Fed minutes

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Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies fell sharply on Thursday as hawkish minutes from the Federal Reserve’s December meeting hit global risk assets.

Expectations of less monetary policy support and higher interest rates sent stocks lower on Wednesday. The sell-off filtered through to cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies fell sharply on Thursday as hawkish minutes from the Federal Reserve’s December meeting hit global risk assets.

Bitcoin was trading at $42,739.52, down more than 7% from the 24 hours previous, according to Coin Metrics data. It fell as low as $42,503.88 in the last 24 hours, the lowest level in more than a month.

Other cryptocurrencies fell too. Ethereum dropped nearly 12% to $3,335.99 while solana sank 12% to $146.84.

The crypto sell-off comes after stocks fell on Wednesday following the release of minutes from the Fed’s December meeting in which the central bank indicated it would dial back its supportive monetary policy, including reducing the amount of bonds it holds.

The Fed also indicated that it may have to raise interest rates sooner than expected.

Meanwhile, the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield ticked above 1.7% on Wednesday.

Growth assets such as technology stocks tend to be hit when rates rise, as future earnings becomes less attractive to investors when yields are higher. That sentiment has filtered through to cryptocurrencies, which are seen as risker assets.

“Overall, I think the global markets have shown weakness in light of the recent Fed moves to raise interest rates. Hence, I do think the drop yesterday is quite correlated. We’ve seen U.S. markets fall yesterday and as a result, all other risk asset classes fared equally poorly including crypto,” said Vijay Ayyar, vice president of corporate development and international at cryptocurrency exchange Luno.

“Specifically with regard to Bitcoin and crypto, the last 4 weeks have seen some weak price action owing to a lack of interest/demand, holiday season and potentially similar factors.”

Shares in Europe and Asia-Pacific also dropped on Thursday.

Yuya Hasegawa, crypto market analyst at Japanese bitcoin exchange Bitbank, said bitcoin could tumble further, potentially dropping to $40,000, if upcoming December nonfarm payrolls data shows strong job growth.

“The downward pressure on the price is expected to continue until the market fully prices in the tighter-than-expected future monetary policy,” Hasegawa said in an emailed note Thursday.

— CNBC’s Ryan Browne and Eustance Huang contributed to this report.