The Bitcoin price crashed 65% in 2022. Here's why

Bitcoin was hit by multiple headwinds in a tumultuous year.

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Key points

  • The Bitcoin price dropped 65% in 2022
  • Cryptos broadly came under pressure last year amid fast-rising interest rates
  • The collapse of a leading stablecoin and a top crypto exchange saw many crypto investors rushing to sell

The Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) price currently stands at US$16,699 (AU$24,454).

That's right about where BTC kicked off the new year three days ago.

But it's some 65% lower than the US$47,170 the world's first and still top crypto commanded on 1 January 2022.

Adding in the selling action in the final seven weeks of 2021, the Bitcoin price closed 2022 down 76% from its all-time 10 November 2021 highs, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

Here's what went wrong for the leading digital token in the year gone by.

Bitcoin price hit by multiple headwinds

On a macroeconomic level, the Bitcoin price was hammered by the same forces which saw tech shares take a beating last year.

Namely, fast-rising interest rates instituted by almost every leading central bank the world over.

The rapid increase in the cost of money saw the tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite Index finish the year down a painful 34%. Here on the ASX, the S&P/ASX All Technology Index (ASX: XTX) fell a similar amount.

If nothing else, 2022 showed that the Bitcoin price is closely linked to the performance of growth stocks. And highly susceptible to the impacts of rising interest rates.

The crypto world was also rocked by a number of massive meltdowns in 2022.

First, there was the implosion of TerraUSD (CRYPTO: UST) in May. The so-called stablecoin was intended to be pegged to the US dollar. But a liquidity crunch saw crypto investors rush to sell their holdings, driving the token to mere pennies on the dollar.

Jittery investors sold off most cryptos over the following weeks, and the Bitcoin price was not spared.

As if that wasn't enough, November saw the collapse of global crypto exchange

Co-founded by Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX was one of the top five crypto exchanges in the world.

But in another instance of liquidity evaporating, FTX went belly up almost overnight and Bankman-Fried is now facing a potentially lengthy jail term in the United States.

In the immediate aftermath of the FTX collapse, the Bitcoin price fell to more than two-year lows of US$15,599.

What's next?

As for what crypto investors might expect in the year ahead for the Bitcoin price, much of that will hinge on interest rates.

Should the US Federal Reserve and other leading global central banks begin to ease off on their aggressive tightening paths, it should throw up some welcome tailwinds for tech stocks and crypto assets alike.

Motley Fool contributor Bernd Struben 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 Bitcoin. The Motley Fool Australia has positions in and has recommended Bitcoin. 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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