Crypto Crash: What Investors Need to Know

Young woman using crypto investment app on smart phone

Oscar Wong / Getty Images

Bitcoin's value fell by more than half its value since its November 2021 peak, which caused the entire cryptocurrency market to collapse. Terra (LUNA) and TerraUSD (UST) both experienced such steep declines that investors may be spooked. When both cryptocurrencies were enjoying their honeymoon period a month ago, who would have thought they would face such a steep fall? The weak sentiment spread across the crypto market resulted in investors withdrawing their money, causing Tether (USDT) to lose its peg to the dollar. 

The week not only taught investors to invest carefully, but it also busted many myths about the cryptocurrency market.

Key Takeaways

  • The crypto markets are in turmoil, losing $600 billion dollars in a week.
  • Bitcoin slumped below $30,000 for the first time since July 2021, which is less than half its November 2021 peak.
  • TerraUSD and Terra have suffered the most, trading under $1 now.

Bitcoin May Not Be the Best Hedge Against Inflation

The crypto market has been moving in sync with the stock market for the past few months. The correlation between Bitcoin and the S&P 500 hit a high of 17 months in March 2022, demonstrating that crypto and stock markets are moving in the same direction. 

Bitcoin is often seen as a good hedge against inflation. That means inflation doesn't affect the top cryptocurrency. It might not be true every time; at least, that's what the market witnessed this week. High inflation and tighter monetary policy affected crypto investors as well, resulting in the collapse of the market. These developments show that crypto has a bigger market now and is becoming more mainstream.

Stablecoins Aren't Always Stable

Stablecoins are supposed to maintain their value. They are backed by fiat currencies like the US dollar, gold, and even other cryptocurrencies. The collapse of Bitcoin badly affected Terra and TerraUSD. The functioning of Terra is to blame for this.

Terra (LUNA) and TerraUSD (UST) are two native tokens of the Terra network. TerraUSD aims to maintain its peg to the US dollar using algorithms. So if one wants to mint UST, he needs to burn the dollar-equivalent amount of LUNA. It works the same way the other way around. That's how the protocol maintains the price of UST.  

In March 2022, to add more cushion to its stablecoin, Terra's creator, the Luna Foundation Guard (LFG), decided to add Bitcoin to its reserve, according to TechCrunch.com. The idea was if something goes wrong with the prices, Bitcoin-backing would help to stabilize UST. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, and the stock market collapsed, Bitcoin collapsed, and then the whole crypto market collapsed. 

Terra (LUNA) is currently trading at $0.000000999967 per token, a 14.359% decline from an all-time high of $119.18 in April 2022, according to coingecko.com. TerraUSD (UST), which has lost its dollar peg, is currently trading at $0.13, reported coingecko.com.

The bloodbath spread over to the other stablecoins, such as Tether (USDT), the largest stablecoin, which lost its peg to the dollar. On May 12, UST's price hit an all-time low of $0.6841 at one point. That means the holders of USDT have tokens worth less than $1. However, the token is currently back on its track, trading at $1, according to coingecko.com.

The Bottom Line

The crypto crash taught many lessons this week. Even the top altcoins like Terra can suffer overnight losses and struggle to survive. The idea behind decentralized algorithm stablecoin, such as TerraUSD, looks fascinating, but it needs a better strategy. The centralized stablecoins like Tether (USDT), which are often criticized for insufficient cash reserves, look helpless in times of crisis. 

This week will go down as a historical moment in the crypto industry and serve as a wake-up call for crypto enthusiasts who need to understand that a lot of work needs to be done. 

What is a cryptocurrency?

A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that is secured by cryptography, which makes it nearly impossible to counterfeit or double-spend. Many cryptocurrencies are decentralized networks based on blockchain technology—a distributed ledger enforced by a disparate network of computers. A defining feature of cryptocurrencies is that they are generally not issued by any central authority, rendering them theoretically immune to government interference or manipulation.

What is the stock market?

The stock market broadly refers to the collection of exchanges and other venues where the buying, selling, and issuance of shares of publicly held companies take place. Such financial activities are conducted through institutionalized formal exchanges (whether physical or electronic) or via over-the-counter (OTC) marketplaces that operate under a defined set of regulations. 

What are stablecoins?

Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies the value of which is pegged, or tied, to that of another currency, commodity or financial instrument. Stablecoins aim to provide an alternative to the high volatility of the most popular cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (BTC), which has made such investments less suitable for wide use in transactions.

 

 

Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. Bitcoinist, "Bitcoin’s Shocking Stock Market Correlation Continues To Grow."

Compare Accounts
×
The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Investopedia receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where listings appear. Investopedia does not include all offers available in the marketplace.
Provider
Name
Description