Bitcoin fell to a new 18-month low on Wednesday, dragging smaller tokens with it and deepening a market crash triggered by crypto lender Celsius this week freezing customer withdrawals. The world’s largest cryptocurrency fell as much as 7.8% to $20,289, its lowest level since December 2020. It has lost around 28% since Friday and more than half its value this year. It has plunged 70% from its all-time high of $69,000 in November. The digital currency sector has been hit hard this week after US crypto lender Celsius froze withdrawals and transfers between accounts, stoking contagion fears in markets already rocked by the demise of terraUSD and luna tokens last month. Expectations of steeper interest rate hikes from the US Federal Reserve as inflation soars in the world’s largest economy have also increased pressure on risk assets, from cryptocurrencies to currencies. Actions. Best of Express PremiumTop QualityPremiumPremiumPremium Crypto funds saw outflows of $102 million last week, according to digital asset manager CoinShares, citing investor anticipation of tighter central bank policy. The value of the global crypto market has fallen 70% to less than $900 billion from a high of $2.97 trillion in November, data from CoinMarketCap shows. “The ripples going through the market haven’t stopped yet,” said Scottie Siu, chief investment officer at Hong Kong-based Axion Global Asset Management. “I think we are still in the middle, unfortunately, the game is not over.” Celsius has hired restructuring lawyers and is looking at potential financing options from investors, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Celsius is also exploring strategic alternatives, including financial restructuring, he said. Smaller cryptocurrencies, which tend to move alongside bitcoin, also fell. Ether, the second largest token, fell as much as 12% to $1,045, a new 15-month low. The chaos in the cryptocurrency market has spread to other businesses, with a number of exchanges cutting their workforce. Major US stock exchange Coinbase Global Inc said Tuesday that it will cut around 1,100 jobs, or 18% of its workforce. Gemini, another US stock exchange, said this month it would cut 10% of its workforce. Still, others continue to hire. Binance, the world’s largest exchange, said on Wednesday it was hiring for 2,000 positions, and US exchange Kraken said it had 500 positions to fill. “Duck down,” Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao tweeted.