Bitcoin dipped below $22,000 Thursday and was recently down nearly 4% over the past 24 hours amid a wider market decline that largely followed news that crypto exchange giant Kraken had agreed to shut its U.S. cryptocurrency staking operations to settle charges with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The SEC said later Kraken will “immediately” end its crypto staking-as-a-service platform for U.S. customers and pay $30 million to settle SEC charges it offered unregistered securities.
Bitcoin was recently trading at $21,900. Ether (ETH), the second-largest cryptocurrency, followed BTC’s trend, recently trading down 4.3% to $1,569.
Crypto-related stocks also struggled with Coinbase recently falling 14% during Thursday’s midday trading hours, bitcoin miner Marathon Digital Holdings (MARA) dropping 13%, MicroStrategy (MSTR), a major bitcoin acquirer, down 10%.
The Kraken news followed less than a day after Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong tweeted his crypto exchange company had heard “rumors” the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) wanted” to get rid of crypto staking in the U.S. for retail customers. Armstrong’s tweet prompted a slow late Wednesday-early Thursday decline that sent BTC from its previous support just below $23,000 to about $22,500. A number of analysts have been concerned about this possible development.
“It remains to be seen if these rumors are true, but what is clear is it would be a huge mistake from a U.S. perspective, as it would result in the rest of the world getting ahead in the important crypto and blockchain technology revolution,” Marcus Sotiriou, market analyst at digital asset broker GlobalBlock, wrote in an emailed comment.