Bitcoin sinks close to lowest level since 2020 on pre-Fed nerves

A slide in cryptocurrencies on Monday (Sep 19) put Bitcoin on the cusp of the lowest level since 2020 ahead of a global wave of monetary tightening that's expected to stretch from Europe to the US this week.

The largest digital token sank as much as 6.7 per cent and was trading at US$18,500 as of 7.10 am in London. Ether shed up to 6.2 per cent, struggling to hold the US$1,300 mark. Coins like XRP and Polkadot posted heavier losses.

Investors are bracing for volatility from the jumbo interest-rate hike expected this week from the Federal Reserve to fight price pressures. US equity futures were in the red and a dollar gauge pushed higher in signs of market caution.

The backdrop in global markets is such that "in this inflationary environment macro trumps everything", Antoni Trenchev, managing partner at crypto lender Nexo, wrote in a note.

An Ether jump since mid-June that was spurred by hype around an upgrade of the Ethereum blockchain is rapidly unwinding now the revamp is done.

Elsewhere, reports that Ripple Labs and the US Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) are seeking an immediate ruling in a court case over Ripple's affiliated token XRP saw the latter shed as much as 13.5 per cent. The SEC argues Ripple was "reckless" in its claims that XRP isn't a regulated security. BLOOMBERG

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