Why Shiba Inu, Ethereum, and Dogecoin are sinking today

Is Warren Buffett causing sell-offs in the crypto market?

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This article was originally published on Fool.com. All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

What happened?

The cryptocurrency market is seeing another day of sell-offs today. The prices of Shiba Inu (CRYPTO: SHIB), Ethereum (CRYPTO: ETH), and Dogecoin (CRYPTO: DOGE) tokens were losing ground in conjunction with the sell-off momentum. They were down roughly 5%, 2.1%, and 1.6%, respectively, over the previous 24 hours of trading as of 10:15am Sunday.

Nearly every top-100 cryptocurrency token has seen sell-offs over the last day of trading. In fact, excluding stablecoins, only TRON's token was in the green over the period.

So what?

Investors have been taking money off the table lately and moving out of investments that have high-risk profiles, and it's led to major pullbacks that have shaped the overall momentum for cryptocurrencies and stocks. To put the trend in perspective, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index just had its worst month since 2008, and rising bearish sentiment is also shaping trading in the crypto space. 

It's also possible that recent comments from Berkshire Hathaway's CEO Warren Buffett and vice chairman Charlie Munger are factoring into the sell-off. Berkshire held its shareholder meeting in Omaha yesterday, and the executives made some scathing comments about Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) and the cryptocurrency market as a whole. Speaking on the current crypto market leader, Buffett had this to say: "If you told me you owned all the Bitcoin in the world and you offered it to me for $25, I wouldn't take it. What would I do with it?"

While bearish comments from the two Berkshire luminaries are nothing new, it's possible that the latest round of critiques from the pair have been particularly resonant amid the current market conditions. Worrying levels of inflation have the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates well above current levels before the year is out, and rising rates have typically meant a challenging backdrop for speculative investments. 

Many investors and analysts have raised the concern that rising interest rates could push the US economy into recession because loans becoming more expensive will make businesses less likely to pursue new growth initiatives. The same general principle can be applied to buying stocks and cryptocurrencies. When taking on debt is cheap, some of that capital flows into relatively high-risk assets and stocks. When rates are higher, those kinds of investments typically become less attractive.

Now what?

In some respects, the current macroeconomic situation is without recent historical precedent to draw comparisons to. The cryptocurrency market also remains relatively young in the scheme of things, and that makes it difficult to forecast how it will perform if economic conditions worsen significantly. 

The Department of Commerce recently published a report showing that the US economy had contracted 1.4% year over year in the first quarter. Given that the Fed only implemented a 25 basis point rate increase in the middle of March, the fact that gross domestic product unexpectedly slipped in the quarter while inflation continued to run hot is concerning, and it could point to a tough backdrop for cryptocurrencies and other high-risk investments going forward. 

While Ethereum provides a blockchain network that applications and services can be built on, cryptocurrencies like Shiba Inu and Dogecoin primarily function as mediums of exchange and as speculative assets. That suggests that Ethereum's Ether token might hold up relatively well if turbulence continues to roil the broader crypto market, but again, there's not a whole lot in the way of historical precedent to base projections on. 

Bitcoin kicked off the cryptocurrency trend with its release back in 2009, but even the current crypto market leader didn't start to see significant adoption until years later. Outside of the pandemic market-driven crash that occurred in March 2020, in which leading cryptocurrencies performed worse than stocks before roaring back to big gains, there's not much to look at when it comes to determining how digital tokens might fare amid intense bearish conditions. As such, it's probably best to move forward with the understanding that most cryptocurrencies are high-risk, high-reward investments.

This article was originally published on Fool.com. All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

Keith Noonan has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), Bitcoin, and Ethereum. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has recommended the following options: long January 2023 $200 calls on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), short January 2023 $200 puts on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), and short January 2023 $265 calls on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares). The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Berkshire Hathaway (B shares). The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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