Bitcoin just plunged—here’s why it often crashes on weekends

December 6, 2021, 6:51 PM UTC

Bitcoin and Ethereum took substantial losses over the weekend as a selloff in the equities market spilled over into crypto.

Earlier this week, Bitcoin, the world’s top cryptocurrency, was flirting with a $60,000 valuation, with some predicting a run to $100,000 as early as the end of the year. But in the weekend rout that hit the top five cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin fell $10,000 in 24 hours and dropped below $50,000 on Saturday. Ether also took a hit the same day, falling from about $4,200 per coin to a low of $3,636.56 before recovering slightly, according to CoinMarketCap.

Worries about the Omicron variant and the possibility that the Federal Reserve will taper its bond-buying program later this month were two contributing causes, according to Chris King, founder and CEO of Eaglebrook Advisors, a crypto asset manager for financial advisers. These issues were magnified by the lower liquidity of the crypto market on the weekend, which tends to exaggerate movements either up or down, he added. 

“When these global markets fall, crypto falls a little bit more given the lower liquidity of the asset class, the volatility, and all of those things as crypto is a risk-on asset,” King told Fortune.

Cryptocurrency is no stranger to price drops in the thousands of dollars, especially on weekends

Traders can’t deal in equities or fixed income over the weekend, but they can deal in crypto, which trades 24/7. But even then, crypto has fewer people trading overall on the weekends, as opposed to weekdays. That means that any big selloffs of a cryptocurrency can drastically move the market, King said.

“If they did it on a Tuesday, it would affect the market less because there would be more people on the other end of the market and there’d be more liquidity,” King said.

U.S.-based traders on the weekend are also limited to the amount of money they currently have in their accounts, because to get more they would need to use banks or other financial institutions, which usually aren’t open on Saturday and Sunday. 

Despite the substantial losses the crypto market took over the weekend, King said the selloffs were merely a knee jerk reaction that happens from time to time, and not something to worry about in the long term. 

King said a number of Eaglebrook Advisor clients took advantage of the price dip to increase their investments in crypto.

Bitcoin and Ether were both up about 1% on Monday afternoon as crypto recovered slightly after the weekend rout. But with Bitcoin below $50,000, it is still about 20% lower than its seven-day high of $59,113.40 and nearly 30% lower than its 30-day high of $68,789.63. 

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