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Thursday, Feb 22, 2024

Bitcoin jumps to a 2-week high of $17,000, but crypto experts say don't cheer the rally as FTX contagion is far from contained

Bitcoin jumps to a 2-week high of $17,000, but crypto experts say don't cheer the rally as FTX contagion is far from contained

Industry experts told Insider their crypto market outlook after FTX's sudden downfall, which has brought down other ailing firms.
Bitcoin notched a two-week high of about $17,000 on Wednesday, but experts said the fallout from FTX's crash has yet to fully play out.

In the past week, bitcoin and ethereum are up a respective 2.76% and 8.90%, according to Messari, despite continuous bad news within the industry. 

FTX, the once-$32 billion digital asset empire started by Sam Bankman-Fried, swiftly collapsed earlier this month and is raising contagion fears. Crypto lender BlockFi filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday, revealing significant exposure to FTX. And industry giant Genesis is organizing restructuring lawyers to prevent the crypto brokerage from going bankrupt, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.

After losing two-thirds of its value since November 2021, the crypto industry continues to take hits — and despite the current bump in prices, the blows aren't done yet.

"I expect to see brief periods of excitement that produce strong [and] swift rallies, but I still see crypto-specific headwinds, as well as traditional market headwinds," Caleb Franzen, founder of research firm and newsletter Cubic Analytics, said.

He noted that even if the Fed slows the pace of its rate hikes, financial conditions keep tightening. And the decline in liquidity will "continue to expose overleveraged companies, bad actors, and 'naked swimmers,'" he added. 

Franzen see headwinds across the board for asset prices, with crypto looking particularly weak given the contagion events that have occurred.

Yaroslav Shakula, chief executive at venture studio YARD Hub, said bitcoin could be at a near-term bottom because it withstood the BlockFi news earlier this week.

"However, if the FTX-caused domino effect ends up impacting some other big crypto exchanges or funds, this upward correction could still give way to the continuation of the bearish trend," Shakula says. 

And even if the industry doesn't see more bankruptcy filings, that doesn't mean the contagion is over, warned Bitcoin.com CEO Dennis Jarvis.

For example, Genesis has taken a $175 million hit from FTX. Even if it weathers this storm, he said, liquidity restraints have put pressure on customers like Gemini, forcing it suspend its Earn lending program. "People are nervous, so even a whiff of trouble has the potential to snowball."

Elsewhere, Przemysław Kral, chief executive at crypto exchange Zonda Global, said that the FTX fallout has run its course because the token has barely dipped on the slew of bad news. 

"It's also been over a year now since Bitcoin's previous all-time high, which historically has always been a strong indicator of the bottom - in both 2015 and 2018," Kral added. "However, some believe a fall to around $13,800 (80% from ATH), would give true confirmation that the bottom is in."
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