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Bitcoin is now hovering just above its 200-day moving average, which analysts see as an area that could stem its fall. Image Credit: REUTERS

California: Bitcoin is having its worst week since November as an equity selloff, fear over higher interest rates and an escalating US regulatory crackdown on crypto combine to hurt investor sentiment.

The largest token fell as much 3.2 per cent on Friday, breaking below $20,000 for the first time since January, after falling more than 8 per cent on Thursday. Smaller coins like Ether, Solana and Cardano also added to losses.

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A rout in US bank stocks on Thursday stoked concerns that rising borrowing costs are creating a treacherous economic and investing outlook. In New York, the state regulator sued KuCoin, a popular crypto exchange, and in the process claimed in court that second-largest token Ether is security. The US Securities & Exchange Commission also contends that many cryptocoins are securities, a designation that would potentially make them harder to trade.

"The selloff in cryptocurrencies appears to be largely equity-market led," said John Toro, head of trading at digital-asset exchange Independent Reserve. He added that the wind-down of crypto-friendly bank Silvergate Capital Corp. and President Joe Biden's proposal for a series of tax increases on investors and top-earning Americans contributed to the downdraft.

Bitcoin has shed about 13 per cent so far this week, the most since a 23 per cent weekly tumble in November amid the collapse of Sam Bankman-Fried's FTX platform.

Small tokens

Among smaller tokens, some of the spotlight fell on HT, the native token of the Huobi exchange. HT on Thursday rapidly halved in price at one point before paring some of the losses. It has fallen about 21 per cent in the past 24 hours.

China-born crypto mogul Justin Sun, an adviser to Huobi, indicated a $100 million fund had been set up to improve the platform's liquidity.

Sentiment in digital-asset markets as a whole has taken a knock from the demise of Silvergate's payments platform for crypto firms, as well as Chair Jerome Powell's stance that the Federal Reserve is likely to take rates higher than previously anticipated.

Bitcoin has now dipped below its 200-day moving average, which for some analysts could portend more falls.