On Thursday the 10th of June 2022, The US Bureau of labor and statistics released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) Summary that revealed that inflation in the US was 8.6% in the month of May 2022. In the simplest terms this means that the US dollar can buy 8.6% less than it did before. The announcement sent panic into the market almost immediately. The stock market started a downward spiral and subsequently the crypto market followed suit. Over the weekend of the 11th-12th of June over $200 billion was wiped off the crypto market.
The downward spiral continued into the next week until Wednesday the 15th of June when the US Federal Reserve made their announcement of a 0.75 percentage point rate hike to curb inflation. The market reacted negatively for a brief moment then recovered slightly.
Though the crypto market had been on a 12 week downward spiral by the time the CPI summary was announced, the mass dump of assets put added pressure on several exchanges. Some exchanges announced layoffs while others even stopped withdrawals. Binance froze Bitcoin withdrawals due to a stuck-in-chain transaction and Celsius, a crypto lending platform, faced a liquidity crunch so severe that they halted all withdrawals on the evening of Sunday the 12th of June. Celsius posted a memo on Medium:
“Due to extreme market conditions, today we are announcing that Celsius is pausing all withdrawals, Swap, and transfers between accounts. We are taking this action today to put Celsius in a better position to honor, over time, its withdrawal obligations…”
Celsius was particularly affected because their DeFi business had been affected by the collapse of Terra and Luna. Over and above that they are heavily reliant on staked Ethereum investments. The price of Ethereum was already unstable and the market drop exacerbated an already present problem, and forced them to halt withdrawals.
To put the crypto crash into perspective, the closing price of Bitcoin on the 10th of June was around $29,200. By the 15th of June Bitcoin had lost about 30% of its value with the price fluctuating between $20,200 and $22,100, around 70% less than its all time high of over $68 900. The price of Ethereum on the 10th of June was $1,788. By the 15th of June it had lost about 40% of its value with prices fluctuating between $1,017 and $1,190, around 80% less than its all time high of over $4 800. Bitcoin and Ethereum accounted for a large percentage of market losses, but a plethora of other coins followed suit. The market value fell below $1 trillion for the first time in over a year.
No one factor can be blamed for the crash but the CPI report was definitely a trigger that activated an avalanche in what was already an unstable market. When the American markets panicked, the rest of the world caught on too and the market as a whole suffered a severe crash.