The sell off was a result of Celsius' suspension of withdrawals and Friday's high US inflation data driving expectations of sharper interest rate rises from the Federal Reserve, said Singapore based fund manager.

The world's largest cryptocurrency Bitcoin is down over 50 percent year to date and 28 percent since Friday.
The world's largest cryptocurrency Bitcoin is down over 50 percent year to date and 28 percent since Friday. (Reuters)

Cryptocurrencies have tumbled afresh, with bitcoin and ether falling to new 18-month lows, after major cryptocurrency lending company Celsius Network's freezing of withdrawals delivered the latest jolt to investors in the asset-class.

Bitcoin fell as much as 7.2 percent to $20,816 its lowest on Tuesday since December 2020, extending Monday's 15 percent plunge.

The world's largest cryptocurrency is down over 50 percent year to date and 28 percent since Friday.

No. 2 token ether lost as much as 10 percent to $1,075, its lowest since January 2021, and smaller tokens have taken even more of a battering.

The sell off was a result of Celsius' suspension of withdrawals and Friday's high US inflation data driving expectations of sharper interest rate rises from the Federal Reserve, said Singapore based fund manager QCP Capital in a note.

"The market is now panicking about the impact and contagion if Celsius becomes insolvent," QCP said.

Celsius said in a blog post published in Asia hours on Monday citing extreme market conditions that it had frozen withdrawals and transfers between accounts, "to stabilise liquidity and operations while we take steps to preserve and protect assets".

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Investors dump risky assets

New Jersey-based Celsius, which has around $11.8 billion in assets, offers interest-bearing products to customers who deposit cryptocurrencies with its platform. It then lends out cryptocurrencies to earn a return.

Asset classes across the board have also been shaken by higher inflation as investors dumped risky assets.

The S&P index has fallen for four straight days, with the benchmark now down more than 20 percent from its most recent record closing high to confirm a bear market according to a commonly used definition.

Cryptocurrency stocks have been particularly hard hit.

Crypto bank Silvergate Capital shares closed down 16.7 percent on Monday, BTC buyer and business intelligence software provider MicroStrategy tumbled 25.2 percent, and crypto exchange Coinbase Global lost 11.4 percent.

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Source: Reuters