Cryptocurrency trading slowed significantly in 2022 and may not recover fully this year, according to the world’s largest independent crypto data aggregator.
CoinGecko’s 2022 annual crypto industry report shows daily average crypto trading volume decreased steadily quarter-on-quarter, from around $100 billion in the first half of 2022, to $90 billion in the third quarter and $60 billion in the fourth quarter.
“Dwindling volumes are a sign that investors are withdrawing further from the market or leaving it entirely through centralized exchange (CEX) off-ramps,” CoinGecko told FOX Business in a statement.
Spot trading volume across the top 10 crypto exchanges sank 67.3% in December to $0.46 trillion, the lowest of the year in the aftermath of FTX’s November collapse.
Since hitting bottom last month, spot volume for the top 10 centralized and decentralized exchanges has grown to $1.5 trillion, and bitcoin has gained about 27% in the past two weeks.
“2023 may be too soon for a complete recovery, with the aftermath of 2022’s events still playing out,” CoinGecko co-founder and COO Bobby Ong told FOX Business in a statement.
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Many market observers believe inflation and interest rates influence crypto prices and Thursday’s consumer price data helped bitcoin break $20,000.
The Labor Department said inflation slowed for a sixth month in December, leading some traders to bet the Federal Reserve may tamp down on its aggressive interest rate policy. The central bank raised borrowing costs seven times in 2022, though the last rate hike was 50 basis points, compared to the previous four 75-basis-point increases.
WPT token brand ambassador Shannon Bray told FOX Business he was surprised by the severity of the crypto bear market.
He believes COVID relief money helped boost crypto, which then suffered when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, supply chain issues and President Biden’s economic policies aggravated inflation.
“To make things worse, we had many negative events such as FTX that really shook the cryptocurrency communities,” Bray, a former Libertarian senate candidate, told FOX Business in a statement.
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Bitcoin and Ethereum
“Bitcoin’s price has risen by around 27% over the last two weeks, breaking past the $20,000 resistance levels as December’s CPI dipped by 0.1% month-on-month. Despite the increase, bitcoin is still down year-on-year and it remains to be seen if the market can find longer-term support at current levels,” Ong told FOX Business.
Bitcoin started 2022 at $43,319 and ended the year at $16,604, a 64.2% drop. In the previous bear cycle of 2018-2020, BTC had managed to remain above this indicator.
CoinGecko noted bitcoin has been below the 200-day moving average since June, except for a brief spike in July.
Ether, the coin linked to the ethereum blockchain network, has gained around 20% in the past week. The token finished 2022 at $1,199, representing a -67.5% decline in the year.
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Hacks cost billions
Along with market uncertainty, crypto investors faced constant security threats in 2022.
CoinGecko said $2.8 billion was lost to at least 180 exploits last year, of which 65% in stolen funds were the result of just five bridge hacks.
“Cryptocurrency exchanges are getting better at security but many of their changes have been on user education,” said Bray, a former cyber security analyst for the Defense Department.
Bray recommends limiting exposure by keeping only trading assets in your crypto wallet versus your entire portfolio, keeping multifactor authentication devices separate, and understanding how the blockchain works.
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“There are many scandalous projects out there as well. The holders need to do their own research; there are many lessons to be learned,” he says.
FOX Business’ Ken Martin contributed to this report