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The crypto market was lower to start the week after bitcoin posted its worst week since May.

Bitcoin itself was flat at the $26,000 mark, according to Coin Metrics. Last week it lost 11% thanks to a sharp decline that began Wednesday afternoon.

Altcoins were making bigger moves to the downside on Monday, however. Ripple’s XRP slid nearly 5%. Coins tied to Ethereum competitors Solana, Polygon and Cardano lost about 3% each. DeFi tokens fell also. The Cosmos token lost more than 3% and Uniswap’s coin was lower by 2%.

“External pressure in China is likely the biggest driver to the sell-offs,” said Chris Martin, head of research at Amberdata. “Asia plays a huge role in crypto, especially with Hong Kong and Singapore opening the door, but with a wider economic downturn I don’t think we’ll see the bull market play out like we hoped or expected.”

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Bitcoin (BTC) has stabilized since its big drop Thursday night

“As for bitcoin and ether, they tend to act more as a store of value compared to other cryptocurrencies but they’ve also suffered from a significant drop – 11.5% and 9.8%, respectively since the last 7 days – so they’re completely immune,” he added. “In general, altcoin swings are more prominent and I think as more institutions onboard – through spot ETFs, spot investments, derivatives – we should see these tokens’ volatility subside a bit more.”

Bitcoin had been stagnant for much of the third quarter, a historically weak one for the cryptocurrency. It’s now off 14% for the quarter and about 10% for August. Many expected an approved spot bitcoin ETF or some clear crypto legislation out of Congress to usher in some upside volatility. Instead, new focus by the Federal Reserve on real rates as well as the U.S. bankruptcy protection filing by China’s Evergrande put downward pressure on crypto.

Despite recent softness in the market, even ahead of the dramatic slide last week, bitcoin is still up about 57% in 2023.

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