Why Is Crypto Crashing and Will It Recover?

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Key Takeaways:

  • Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are crashing due to a mix of inflation, higher interest rates, loss of confidence, and major exchange issues.
  • Prices have dropped 70-80% from their all-time highs as the crypto bear market intensifies.
  • The SEC has charged major exchanges like Binance and Coinbase, reducing liquidity.
  • Previous crypto crashes have eventually seen prices recover to new highs, but the process can take years.
  • Experts say the current bear market is particularly brutal and recovery will be slow and difficult.

The cryptocurrency market is currently experiencing an extended price crash, leaving many investors wondering why this is happening and if crypto will eventually recover. Since reaching a peak total market cap of nearly $3 trillion in November 2021, crypto has seen over $2 trillion in value evaporate in less than a year[^1]. Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, has plummeted from an all-time high of around $69,000 down to roughly $20,000 as of September 2022 – a massive 70% decline[^2]. Many smaller altcoins have fared even worse.

This article will provide a comprehensive analysis of the key factors that have contributed to the ongoing cryptocurrency price crash. It will evaluate the fundamental and technical reasons for the severe downturn across the crypto market. The article will also assess the likelihood and timeline for a potential recovery based on historical trends and expert projections. Whether you are a long-term crypto investor or just interested in understanding this economic phenomenon, this analysis aims to offer an in-depth perspective on why crypto is crashing and whether prices are positioned to rebound.

Understanding the combination of circumstances and dynamics currently pressuring cryptocurrency valuations can provide perspective on the state of the market. Evaluating the potential for the crypto market to eventually reverse course can help investors make informed decisions about portfolio allocations and risk management strategies during periods of intensifying volatility. While the prevailing conditions suggest more downside may be ahead, crypto has historically shown a tendency to resurrect after major crashes.

Why Is Crypto Crashing? Key Factors Behind the Downturn

Surging Inflation and Rising Interest Rates

One of the primary macroeconomic factors contributing to sinking cryptocurrency prices is record high inflation across most advanced economies. Inflation in the U.S. recently hit a 40-year high of 9.1% annually[^3]. Rapidly rising prices due to trillions in pandemic stimulus and effects from the Ukraine war have motivated central banks to initiate a series of steep interest rate hikes intended to slow economic growth and tame inflation. Higher interest rates have caused equities and other riskier asset classes to plunge. In this environment, speculative assets with no inherent fundamental value like cryptocurrencies have been especially hard hit.

Loss of Confidence and Risk Aversion

In addition to effects from inflation and interest rates, investor mindset and risk appetite have shifted significantly. During 2021, easy Federal Reserve policy and stimulus checks fueled greed and a “fear of missing out” that attracted tremendous speculation in crypto, meme stocks, and NFTs. However, the Fed’s policy pivot and gloomy economic outlook have caused a shift towards risk aversion. Weakening investor sentiment and waning confidence have triggered a flight to safety, crashing prices across more speculative assets. An environment of fear and panic has caused even long-term crypto believers to sell, waiting out the storm in cash and treasuries.

Major Industry Events and Exchange Issues

A series of high-profile events in the cryptocurrency industry have also shaken investor confidence and contributed to selling pressure. The catastrophic collapse of algorithmic stablecoin TerraUSD and linked token Luna highlighted inherent stability risks in crypto and wiped out $40 billion in value[^4]. Liquidity issues and withdrawal freezes at major lending platforms like Celsius Network and Voyager Digital demonstrate structural vulnerabilities. Additionally, the SEC issued insider trading charges against leaders of top exchanges Coinbase and Binance, raising alarms about regulation[^5]. These developments have stoked investor anxiety.

Technical Analysis Metrics and Trading Dynamics

Examining the technical and on-chain metrics reveals how trading activity itself has also perpetuated the crypto decline. As prices fell from all-time highs, key support levels broke down, causing automatic stop-loss selling. Large liquidations of overleveraged futures traders intensified the waterfall. Negative momentum has been self-reinforcing, with many short-term holders capitulating and selling at a loss. Options markets show extreme fear, with demand for put options protection spiking. Multiple technical indicators reflect severely oversold conditions and reflect a market in crisis. While capitulation events may ultimately sow the seeds of a reversal, in the short-term technicals reflect extreme bearishness.

Historical Precedent for Crypto Recoveries and Bull Markets

Although the current climate for cryptocurrency valuations is decidedly bleak, history provides some hope for those awaiting the next bull market. Bitcoin and the broader crypto asset class have repeatedly experienced severe crashes of 70% or more, only to eventually recover and reach new record peaks.

Previous Crypto Bear Markets and Drawdowns

In Bitcoin’s early years, the crypto saw several market cycles play out, with prices rising dramatically before dropping 80-90% into a winter bear market. These peak-to-trough drawdowns included declines from $32 to $2 in 2011, $1,150 to $200 in 2013, and $19,500 to $3,100 in 2018[^6]. At the time, each crash felt catastrophic and permanent. However, after a period of accumulation ranging from months to years, prices entered their next parabolic advance. The 2018 bear market finally ended after 639 days when Bitcoin crossed $10,000 again in mid-2020[^7]. The latest bull run drove prices to 10x higher within a year.

Drivers of Accumulation and New Bull Markets

What enabled new bull markets to emerge after massive drawdowns? In essence, bear markets allow the fundamentals to catch up and build a base for the next cycle. Lower prices attract new investors to buy in at discounted rates. Their inflows provide demand that stabilizes and eventually reverses the downtrend. Innovations and infrastructure grew during lean periods to support the next adoption wave. Macro conditions also shift, with easy policy and new demand drivers like institutions arriving to propel the revival. Essentially, early bearishness sows the seeds for eventual regrowth. However, the timescale of these accumulation phases means patience is required.

Expert Predictions on Crypto Recovery Timeframe

Most experts agree that while cryptocurrencies have the potential to recover from the ongoing bear market, the process will likely be slow and arduous compared to past drawdowns. Some factors suggesting an extended downturn include immense market scale, extreme fear levels implying more capitulation ahead, and macro headwinds that could last through 2023.

Protracted Bear Market Expected

Prominent crypto pundits point to the enormity of the recent bull run and market value peak as reasons the bear market bottoming process will be more prolonged and painful. Citi analysts wrote, “Bitcoin may have further to fall before it hits ‘maximal panic’ and capitulation”, citing its still-high $200 billion market capitalization[^8]. Bloomberg analysts concluded, “Crypto crash likely to worsen with no bottom in sight”[^9]. The lack of obvious support levels and extreme fear mean immense uncertainty about the ultimate low.

Macro Environment Will Weigh on Recovery

Another consideration is the expected duration of the macro factors weighing on risk assets like cryptocurrencies. Bloomberg economists forecast high inflation and rising rates will trigger a recession in the second half of 2023, keeping pressure on crypto prices[^10]. Fundstrat’s Tom Lee said, “The Fed is not going to pause anytime soon. They want asset prices to reset, and that’s going to keep a lid on crypto”[^11]. Until inflation slows significantly, enthusiasm for speculative investments is likely to remain muted.

Timeframe Could Be 12-18 Months or More

While crypto analysts are reluctant to pinpoint an exact timing for when the bear market will bottom out, most estimates range from 12 to 18 months from the initial peak. That would indicate a reversal potentially in late 2023, although further lows are possible. The previous 2018-2020 bear market lasted just over 600 days in duration. According to BitBull Capital’s Joe DiPasquale, “I wouldn’t be surprised to see us range for another 12-18 months before breaking out”[^12]. Other market experts agree that patience and caution are warranted for some time.


In summary, cryptocurrency valuations are plunging due to the toxic combination of surging inflation, higher interest rates, sinking investor confidence, major exchange issues, and self-reinforcing technical breakdowns. However, history shows that Bitcoin and crypto have rebounded from multiple -80% bear markets in the past to achieve new all-time highs after accumulation phases. Experts note that patience will be required and macro headwinds could delay the typical market cycle. This bear market may be more extended and painful before crypto can embark on its next parabolic bull run phase. While further volatility is guaranteed, allocating judiciously during extreme pessimism could pay off for long-term believers in the next crypto spring.

Frequently Asked Questions

What caused the crypto crash?

The crypto crash was caused by several key factors including high inflation, rising interest rates set by central banks like the Federal Reserve, loss of investor confidence, major events like large stablecoin failures, and technical breakdowns like support levels giving way. The combination sparked fear, panic selling, and capitulation.

How much has crypto dropped from the peak?

Crypto has seen a massive selloff from November 2021 peaks. Bitcoin has declined approximately 70% from its high of $69,000 to around $20,000. The overall crypto market cap has fallen from $3 trillion to under $1 trillion. Some altcoins are down 90% or more.

How long will the crypto bear market last?

Based on historical cycles, experts estimate the current crypto bear market is likely to last anywhere from 12 to 18 months or more. Previous bear markets lasted 600+ days but macro conditions could extend this one. Continued capitulation is expected before accumulation resumes.

Can Bitcoin and crypto prices recover to new highs again?

Historically, Bitcoin and crypto have always eventually recovered from major bear markets exceeding -80% to reach new all-time highs. However, the topping process takes an extended accumulation phase of months or years. Patience is required for a true trend reversal and parabolic advance.

What will spark the next Bitcoin and crypto bull run?

The next major crypto bull run will likely require a combination of discounted prices attracting new investor inflows, building infrastructure, beneficial macroeconomic conditions, and returning investor enthusiasm. Timing remains difficult to forecast reliably but the pieces tend to fall into place after deep bearishness.

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