Bitcoin drops below $20,000 to lowest since December 2020

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Bitcoin dropped below USD 20,000 (AED 73,462) on Saturday to its lowest level in 18 months, extending its slide as investors pull back from riskier assets amid rising interest rates.

The biggest cryptocurrency was down 7.1 per cent to USD 18,993 (AED 69,764) at 9:06 a.m. GMT (1:06 p.m. UAE time), having earlier touched USD 18,732 (AED 68,805), its lowest since December 2020.

It is down about 59 per cent this year, while rival cryptocurrency Ethereum-backed ether is down 73 per cent.

The digital currency sector has been pummelled this week after cryptocurrency lending company Celsius froze withdrawals and transfers between accounts.

The sector has also suffered losses after companies such as Coinbase Global Inc COIN.O, Gemini and Blockfi said they would lay off thousands of employees as investors ditch risky assets.

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