— This is the script of CNBC's news report for China's CCTV on May 20, 2021, Thursday.
With the plunge across cryptocurrencies, shares of major companies holding bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies also fell sharply in overnight trading; weighing down major indices. The most-watched stocks are Tesla and Coinbase, the largest crypto trading platform in the United States. They closed down 2.5% and 6% respectively. MicroStrategy, which has an overweight position on bitcoin, tanked nearly 7%.
Aside from Elon Musk's comments, heightened policy risks as suggested by statements from regulatory authorities are also part of the reasons behind the sell-off. Industry insiders, we interviewed believe that the key reason behind the magnitude of the sell-off is high leverage. Investors will receive a margin call when the price drops below a certain level, which can lead to liquidation or compulsory settlement, further exacerbating the decline. According to Bybt.com, in the past 24 hours by 08:00 Beijing time, over 85,000 trades were liquidated, with the largest single liquidation order at $67 million.
The severity of the sell-off in the cryptocurrency market is rare, but not unprecedented. The most recent one occurred on March 12th last year, and there were similar events in 2018 as well. But the market headed towards different directions after those major corrections. Till today, the debate around bitcoin and cryptocurrency is still intense. Luis de Guindos, Vice President of the European Central Bank, said in an interview that bitcoin is not a "real investment". On the other hand, Catherine Wood, known as the "queen of the bull market", supported the sector with real money. She bought more than $90 million worth of Coinbase shares this week and re-affirmed her conviction in bitcoin, predicting that it could reach $500,000. Elon Musk tweeted emojis of a diamond and a pair of hands, sending a message that Tesla will not sell bitcoin. "Diamond hand" means to hold an investment while the price falls.
Lately, Musk is becoming sort of a "public enemy" in the cryptocurrency world. Some people stepped into the market because of him, and for the same reason, suffered huge losses. Under Musk's tweet, many are expressing their anger, saying things like "I hate you", "I don't trust you anymore", "Stop manipulating the market for personal benefit", "I lost my life saving" and "My wife is leaving me". One guest told us in the program that he believes that the crypto market needs to get over Elon Musk for healthier development.
Founder and CEO of BKCM Digital Asset Management
"Bitcoin has to survive this. The entire point of the creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, getting out of the way is that there would be no single person that has control over it, either the protocol, the code, to the price. Now we have Elon Musk who voiced some concerns. It did move the market but bitcoin has to get over it if in the long run, it is going to fulfill that promise of becoming a global currency."
The sell-off overnight reminded investors of the huge risk embedded in the crypto market. Something worth noting is that institutional investors are shifting from bitcoin to traditional gold, according to a new JPMorgan report. Bitcoin and the whole cryptocurrency market are to be tested again in the coming days.