- Ian Harnett, co-founder of Absolute Strategy Research, said past crypto rallies show bitcoin tends to fall roughly 80% from all-time highs.
- Such a drop in 2022 would likely drag the world's biggest token down to $13,000 — a "key support area," according to Harnett.
- The crypto world is on edge as investors grapple with the impact of higher interest rates and liquidity issues at major industry players.
If crypto's past bubbles are anything to go by, bitcoin could be about to fall much further.
That's according to one strategist, who warns the world's top cryptocurrency is likely to tank as low as $13,000 — an almost 40% drop from current levels.
"We would still be selling these kinds of cryptocurrencies into this environment," Ian Harnett, co-founder and chief investment officer of Absolute Strategy Research, told CNBC's "Squawk Box Europe" Tuesday.
"It really is a liquidity play. What we've found is it's neither a currency, nor a commodity and certainly not a store of value."
Explaining his bearish call, Harnett said past crypto rallies show bitcoin tends to fall roughly 80% from all-time highs. In 2018, for instance, the cryptocurrency plummeted close to $3,000 after hitting a peak of nearly $20,000 in late 2017.
Such a drop in 2022 "would take you back to about $13,000," a "key support area" for the token, according to Harnett. Bitcoin rose to a record high of nearly $69,000 at the height of the 2021 crypto frenzy.
"In a world where liquidity is plentiful, the bitcoins of this world do well," Harnett said. "When that liquidity is taken away — and that's what the central banks are doing at the moment — then you see those markets come under extreme pressure."
The crypto world is on edge as investors grapple with the impact of higher interest rates on assets that flourished in an era of ultra-loose monetary policy.
Last week, the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark lending rate by 75 basis points, its largest single hike since 1994. The decision from the Fed was followed up with similar moves from the Bank of England and the Swiss National Bank.
That's taken its toll on digital assets. The combined value of all cryptocurrencies plunged more than $350 billion in the past two weeks. Bitcoin was trading at a price of $20,010 Tuesday, down 5% in the last 24 hours. The No. 1 crypto has lost more than half of its value year-to-date.
The crypto market was already on shaky ground before the Fed's rate hike last week, with traders roiled by the $60 billion collapse of popular stablecoin terraUSD and its sister token luna.
To further complicate matters, the fall in the value of a derivative token designed to be one-to-one redeemable for ether has exacerbated financial troubles at major industry players like Celsius and Three Arrows Capital.