The value of bitcoin declined sharply Saturday, as markets recoiled after hawkish comments by top Federal Reserve officials fueled fresh rate-hike worries.
The BTC/USD exchange rate was down 1.9% at $567.27 by midday, according to CoinDesk. Bitcoin was trading near session lows, having declined immediately after today’s open. The digital currency’s market capitalization currently stands at $8.95 billion.
The US dollar rebounded sharply on Friday, climbing 0.8% against a basket of fiat currencies to close at its highest level in two weeks. Traders piled into the greenback after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told the Jackson Hole Symposium that the case for raising interest rates had strengthened.
Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer was much more hawkish, indicating that the Fed could raise rates as early as September should the jobs data continue to show signs of improvement. The Labor Department will issue its August nonfarm payrolls report Friday, September 2.
Bitcoin’s price has plunged some 13% over the past month, wiping billions off the digital currency’s overall market capitalization. The month-long skid was triggered after hackers stole nearly 120,000 bitcoins from Hong Kong-based digital currency exchange Bitfinex. The security breach cost the exchange tens of millions of dollars. It also forced the company to “socialize” losses among its members. As a result, each Bitfinex account was docked 36%.
Bitcoin was in the news this past week after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) extended the deadline to make a decision concerning a controversial new exchange-traded fund (ETF) by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. The Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust was announced three years ago at a time when cryptocurrency was associated almost exclusively with clandestine activities on the dark web.
The SEC said it will review the Winklevoss filing over an initial period of 45 days. This period could be extended to up to 90 days, the financial regulator said in its August 23 note.
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