Bitcoin investors were strapped in for another roller-coaster ride of sudden drops this weekend, as the price dove below $32,000 before recovering somewhat Monday.

Leveling around $39,000 in afternoon trading, the most valuable cryptocurrency is still up more than 30% for the year. But the recent sell-off highlights the staggering volatility of the crypto market and the huge losses that investors can sustain in the span of a few days or even hours. Bitcoin holders have seen their investments slide about 40% since the high of $65,000 set in April.

The overall crypto market has taken a beating in the past week as governments worldwide signal increasing scrutiny and traders liquidate their holdings, halting the frenzy that pushed prices skyward. The total value of all cryptocurrencies has tumbled more than $400 billion in the past seven days, according to CoinMarketCap, a cryptocurrency price tracker.

After a three-day losing spell and a negative week, Wall Street extended its gains from Friday, with the Dow Jones industrial average climbing 186.14 points, or 0.5%, to close Monday at 34,393.98. The S&P 500 rose 41.19 points, or about 1%, to settle at 4,197.05. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index increased by 190.18 points, or 1.4%, to end at 13,661.17.

After clawing back some losses late last week, stock investors continue to gauge the rate of the economic recovery and the rollout of coronavirus vaccines.

Jeff Buchbinder, an equity strategist for LPL Financial, said a strong economic recovery lies ahead as businesses reopen further, bolstering projections for future earnings and raising company valuations. But that optimism is checked by the potential for inflation to climb in the second half of the year, alongside the possibility of rising interest rates, he said, adding that as “this bull market gets a little older, the pace of stock market gains will likely slow and come with more volatility.”


Last week, the Federal Reserve released the minutes of its April meeting, revealing that officials have begun to discuss the possibility of easing off monthly bond purchases, intended to boost the economy. But Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell has said that the Fed was not even “thinking about thinking about” reducing its bond buying.

“Fed minutes last week seemed to have been shrugged off as the Fed continues its wait-and-see posture, which added wind beneath the tech sector’s wings,” said Chris Larkin, a managing director at E-Trade Financial. “Interestingly, though, we did see some discord among Fed officials – how the market interprets that in the coming days remains to be seen.”

The plunge in cryptocurrency prices comes as U.S. Treasury officials announced a new tax compliance plan to raise an additional $700 billion, including a measure to enhance reporting requirements on cryptocurrency. Under the initiative, announced Thursday, companies that receive cryptocurrency with a fair market value of more than $10,000 would be required to provide the Internal Revenue Service with more financial information.

The report described digital currency as a “significant concern.” “Cryptocurrency already poses a significant detection problem by facilitating illegal activity broadly including tax evasion,” the report said.

On the same day, officials at the Bank of Canada said the rapid evolution of cryptocurrency markets “is an emerging financial vulnerability.” While the central bank acknowledged that the markets are not of systemic importance to the nation as an asset class or a means of payment, officials said that could change if, for instance, a giant tech company issued a cryptocurrency of its own that became widely adopted.

Potentially rattling investors further, government proposals put forward Friday would limit cryptocurrency exchanges based in Hong Kong to serve only users who are professional investors – those who already have a significant investment portfolio – knocking retail investors out of the regulated market.

Dogecoin, a popular cryptocurrency that began as a joke, was also down significantly from its all-time high. The token was trading around 35 cents Monday afternoon, down from a record 74 cents reached during the run-up to billionaire executive Elon Musk’s appearance on “Saturday Night Live.”