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一周内蒸发逾3000亿美元,加密货币暴跌引发不安

Cryptocurrencies Melt Down in a ‘Perfect Storm’ of Fear and Panic
一周内蒸发逾3000亿美元,加密货币暴跌引发不安

SAN FRANCISCO — The price of Bitcoin plunged to its lowest point since 2020. Coinbase, the large cryptocurrency exchange, tanked in value. A cryptocurrency that promoted itself as a stable means of exchange collapsed. And more than $300 billion was wiped out by a crash in cryptocurrency prices since Monday.

旧金山——比特币价格暴跌至2020年以来的最低点。大型加密货币交易所Coinbase市值暴跌。一种自称是稳定交易手段的加密货币崩溃了。自周一以来,加密货币价格暴跌导致出现逾3000亿美元损失。

The crypto world went into a full meltdown this week in a sell-off that graphically illustrated the risks of the experimental and unregulated digital currencies. Even as celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and tech moguls like Elon Musk have talked up crypto, the accelerating declines of virtual currencies like Bitcoin and Ether show that, in some cases, two years of financial gains can disappear overnight.

加密货币世界在本周的抛售中彻底崩溃,这生动地说明了试验性和不受监管的数字货币存在的风险。虽然金·卡戴珊等名人和伊隆·马斯克等科技巨头都在谈论加密货币,但比特币和以太币等虚拟货币的加速下跌表明在某些情况下,两年的金融收益可能会在一夜之间消失。
 

本周,加密货币价格的暴跌导致超过3000亿美元的价值蒸发。

The moment of panic amounted to the worst reset in cryptocurrencies since Bitcoin plummeted 80 percent in 2018. But this time, the falling prices have broader impact because more people and institutions hold the currencies. Critics said the collapse was long overdue, while some traders compared the alarm and fear to the start of the 2008 financial crisis.

这一恐慌时刻堪称2018年比特币暴跌80%以来加密货币最糟糕的一次复位。但这一次,价格下跌产生了更广泛的影响,因为有更多的人和机构持有这些货币。批评人士表示,这次崩溃早该发生了,而一些交易员则将这种警报和担忧与2008年金融危机开始之时相提并论。

“This is like the perfect storm,” said Dan Dolev, an analyst who covers crypto companies and financial technology at the Mizuho Group.

“这就像一场完美风暴,”瑞穗集团研究加密货币公司和金融技术的分析师丹·多勒夫说。

During the coronavirus pandemic, people have flooded into virtual currencies, with 16 percent of Americans now owning some, up from 1 percent in 2015, according to a Pew Research Center survey. Big banks like Northern Trust and Bank of America also streamed in, along with hedge funds, some using debt to further juice their crypto bets.

根据皮尤研究中心的一项调查,在新冠病毒大流行期间,人们纷纷购入虚拟货币,现在有16%的美国人拥有一些虚拟货币,高于2015年的1%。北方信托银行和美国银行等大银行以及对冲基金也纷纷涌入,一些对冲基金利用债务进一步充实自己的加密货币投资。

Early investors are still probably in a comfortable position. But the rapid declines this week have been especially acute for investors who bought cryptocurrencies when prices surged last year.

早期投资者可能还是不用太担心。但对于去年价格飙升时买入加密货币的投资者来说,本周的快速下跌尤为严重。

The fall in cryptocurrencies is part of a broader pullback from risky assets, spurred by rising interest rates, inflation and economic uncertainty caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Those factors have compounded a so-called pandemic hangover that began as life started returning to normal in the United States, hurting the stock prices of companies like Zoom and Netflix that thrived during lockdowns.

加密货币的下跌有一部分是因为投资者普遍撤出了存在风险的资产,这是由利率上升、通货膨胀和俄罗斯入侵乌克兰导致的经济不确定性引发的趋势。这些因素加剧了随美国生活恢复正常而开始的所谓“疫情后遗症”,封锁期间蓬勃发展的Zoom和Netflix等公司的股价也在其中受损。

But crypto’s decline is more severe than the broader plunge in the stock market. While the S&P 500 is down 18 percent so far this year, Bitcoin’s price has dropped 40 percent in the same period. In the last five days alone, Bitcoin has tumbled 20 percent, compared to a 5 percent decline in the S&P 500.

但加密货币的下跌比股市的广泛暴跌更为严重。今年以来,标准普尔500指数下跌了18%,而比特币的价格同期下跌了40%。仅在过去五天里,比特币就暴跌了20%,而标准普尔500指数下跌了5%。

How long crypto’s collapse might last is unclear. Cryptocurrency prices have typically rebounded from major losses, though in some cases it took several years to reach new heights.

加密货币的崩溃会持续多久尚不得而知。加密货币价格通常会从重大损失中反弹,尽管在某些情况下需要数年时间才能达到新的高点。

“It’s hard to say, ‘Is this Lehman Brothers?’” said Charles Cascarilla, a founder of the blockchain company Paxos, referring to the financial services firm that went bankrupt at the start of the 2008 financial crisis. “We’re going to need some more time to figure it out. You can’t respond at this type of speed.”

“‘这是又一次雷曼兄弟事件吗?’很难说,”区块链公司Paxos的创始人之一查尔斯·卡斯卡利亚说。雷曼兄弟是一家在2008年金融危机之初破产的金融服务公司。“我们需要更多的时间来弄清楚。你不能以这种速度做出反应。”

The origins of cryptocurrencies trace back to 2008, when a shadowy figure calling himself Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin. The virtual currency was portrayed as a decentralized alternative to the traditional financial system. Rather than relying on gatekeepers like banks to facilitate commerce, Bitcoin proponents preferred to conduct transactions among themselves, recording each one on a shared ledger called a blockchain.

加密货币的起源可以追溯到2008年,当时一个自称中本聪的神秘人物创造了比特币。这种虚拟货币被描绘成去中心化的传统金融体系替代物。比特币的支持者不愿依靠银行这样的“看门人”来进行商贸活动,他们更愿意在自己之间进行交易,将每一笔交易记录在一个名为区块链的共享账本上。

Prominent tech leaders including Mr. Musk, Jack Dorsey, a founder of Twitter, and Marc Andreessen, an investor, embraced the technology as it grew from a novel curiosity into a cultlike movement. The value of cryptocurrencies exploded, minting a new class of crypto billionaires. Other forms of cryptocurrency, including Ether and Dogecoin, captured the public’s attention, particularly in the pandemic, when excess cash in the financial system led people to day trade for entertainment.

随着加密货币从一种对新奇玩意的好奇心发展为一场狂热运动,包括马斯克、Twitter创始人杰克·多尔西和投资者马克·安德森在内的知名科技领袖都表达了对这项技术的认可。加密货币的价值爆炸式增长,催生了一批新的加密货币亿万富翁。以太币和多吉币等形式的加密货币也吸引了公众的注意,特别是在疫情期间,金融系统中的过剩现金导致人们为娱乐而进行日间交易。

Cryptocurrency prices reached a peak late last year and have since slid as fears over the economy grew. But the meltdown gathered momentum this week when TerraUSD, a stablecoin, imploded. Stablecoins, which are meant to be a more reliable means of exchange, are typically pegged to a stable asset such as the U.S. dollar and are intended not to fluctuate in value. Many traders use them to buy other cryptocurrencies.

加密货币价格在去年年底达到峰值,之后随着对经济的担忧加剧而下滑。但本周,稳定币TerraUSD崩盘后,崩溃势头进一步增强。稳定币旨在成为一种更可靠的交易方式,通常与美元等稳定资产挂钩,目的是不影响价值波动。许多交易员使用它们购买其他加密货币。

TerraUSD had the backing of credible venture capital firms, including Arrington Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners, which invested tens of millions of dollars to fund crypto projects built on the currency. That gave “a false sense of security to people who might not otherwise know about these things,” said Kathleen Breitman, one of the founders of Tezos, a crypto platform.

TerraUSD得到了Arrington资本和Lightspeed创投等可靠的风险投资公司的支持,它们投资了数千万美元来资助建立在该货币上的加密项目。加密货币平台Tezos的创始人之一凯瑟琳·布雷特曼说,这“给了那些本来可能不了解这些事情的人一种虚假的安全感”。

But TerraUSD was not backed by cash, treasuries or other traditional assets. Instead, it derived its supposed stability from algorithms that linked its value to a sister cryptocurrency called Luna.

但TerraUSD没有现金、国债或其他传统资产的支持。相反,它的所谓稳定性来自于将其价值与另一种名为Luna的姊妹加密货币挂钩的算法。

This week, Luna lost almost its entire value. That immediately had a knock-on effect on TerraUSD, which fell to a low of 23 cents on Wednesday. As investors panicked, Tether, the most popular stablecoin and a linchpin of crypto trading, also wavered from its own $1 peg. Tether fell as low as $0.95 before recovering. (Tether is backed by cash and other traditional assets.)

本周,Luna几乎失去了全部价值。这立即对TerraUSD产生了连锁反应,于周三跌至23美分的低点。随着投资者的恐慌,最受欢迎的稳定币、加密货币交易的支柱Tether也动摇了自己的1美元挂钩政策,最低跌至0.95美元,之后有所回升。(Tether由现金和其他传统资产支持。)

The volatility quickly drew attention in Washington, where stablecoins have been on regulators’ radar. Last fall, the Treasury Department issued a report calling on Congress to devise rules for the stablecoin ecosystem.

这种波动很快引起了华盛顿的注意,稳定币一直在监管机构的关注范围内。去年秋天,美国财政部发布了一份报告,呼吁国会为稳定币生态系统制定规则。

“We really need a regulatory framework,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said at a congressional hearing on Thursday. “In the last couple of days, we’ve had a real-life demonstration of the risks.”

“我们确实需要一个监管框架,”美国财政部长珍妮特·耶伦周四在国会听证会上表示。“在过去的几天里,我们看到这些风险有了真实的展示。”

Stablecoins “present the same kinds of risks that we have known for centuries in connection with bank runs,” she added.

她补充说,稳定币“带来了我们几世纪以来所知的与银行挤兑有关的同样风险”。

Other parts of the crypto ecosystem soured at the same time. On Tuesday, Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, reported a $430 million quarterly loss and said it had lost more than two million active users. The company’s stock price has plunged 82 percent since its triumphant market debut in April 2021.

与此同时,加密系统的其他部分也出现了问题。周二,最大的加密货币交易所之一Coinbase报告了4.3亿美元的季度亏损,并表示它已失去了超过200万活跃用户。自2021年4月成功上市以来,该公司的股价暴跌了82%。

Brian Armstrong, Coinbase’s chief executive, tried to reassure customers on Twitter that the company was not in danger of going bankrupt after a required legal disclosure about the ownership of its assets stoked panic.

Coinbase首席执行官布莱恩·阿姆斯特朗试图在Twitter上安抚客户,称该公司没有破产的危险。此前,一项关于其资产所有权的必要法律披露激起了恐慌。

Cryptocurrency prices also dropped precipitously. The price of Bitcoin fell as low as $26,000 on Thursday, down 60 percent from its peak in November, before rising somewhat. Since the start of the year, Bitcoin’s price movement has closely mirrored that of the Nasdaq, a benchmark that’s heavily weighted toward technology stocks, suggesting that investors are treating it like any other risk asset.

加密货币价格也大幅下跌。周四,比特币的价格曾跌至2.6万美元,比去年11月的峰值低了60%,之后略有上涨。自今年年初以来,比特币的价格走势与纳斯达克指数的走势非常相似,后者是一个偏重科技股的基准指数,这表明投资者正在像看待其他风险资产一样看待比特币。

The price of Ether plunged, too, losing more than 30 percent of its value over the last week. Other cryptocurrencies, like Solana and Cardano, are also down.

以太币的价格也暴跌,在过去一周损失了超过30%的价值。Solana和Cardano等其他加密货币也在下跌。

Any panic might be overblown, some analysts said. A study by Mizuho showed that the average Bitcoin owner on Coinbase would not lose money until the digital currency’s price sank below $21,000. That, according to Mr. Dolev, is where a true death spiral could occur.

一些分析人士说,任何恐慌都可能被夸大了。瑞穗的一项研究显示,在比特币价格跌破2.1万美元之前,Coinbase上的一般比特币持有者都不会亏损。多勒夫认为,只有到发展到那个地步,才有可能出现真正的死亡旋涡。

“Bitcoin was working as long as no one lost money,” he said. “Once it gets back to those levels, that’s sort of the ‘Oh, my God’ moment.”

“只要没人赔钱,比特币就能运转,”他说。“一旦它回到那个价位,那才是会喊出‘我的妈呀’的时候。”

Professional investors who have weathered past crypto volatility also stayed calm. Hunter Horsley, chief executive of Bitwise Asset Management, which provides crypto investing services to 1,000 financial advisers, met with more than 70 of them this week to discuss the market. Many were not selling, he said, because every other asset was down, too. Some were even trying to capitalize on the drop.

过去经历过加密货币波动的专业投资者也保持了冷静。为1000名财务顾问提供加密货币投资服务的Bitwise资产管理公司首席执行官亨特·霍斯利本周与其中70多人会面,讨论市场情况。他说,许多公司没有卖出加密货币,因为其他所有资产也都在下跌。有些人甚至试图利用这次下跌赚钱。

“Their standpoint is, ‘This is no fun, but there is nowhere to hide,’” he said.

“他们的看法是,‘这很吓人,但是无处躲藏,’”他说。

Still, the plummeting prices have rattled crypto traders. Just a few months ago, blockchain proponents were predicting that Bitcoin’s price could rise as high as $100,000 this year.

尽管如此,价格暴跌还是让加密货币交易员感到不安。就在几个月前,区块链的支持者还预测,比特币的价格今年可能会涨到10万美元。

“I never thought things would get ugly this fast,” said Ed Moya, a crypto analyst at the trading firm OANDA.

交易公司OANDA的加密货币分析师埃德·莫亚说:“我从没想过会这么快走衰。”
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