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Crypto collapse: FTX’s fall is one piece of a long, cold, contagious crypto winter

On January 1st of 2022, one Bitcoin would cost you about $46,000. By November 8th, that same coin went for about $18,500. And that’s when the year’s most dramatic crypto story was just starting: the collapse of the FTX exchange, which brought yet another round of existential threats to the crypto industry as a whole.

Now the traditional financial system is showing signs of fragility, and two major crypto banks (Silvergate and Signature) are among the three US banks that shut down within the space of one week.

2022 looked like death by a thousand scandals for crypto. There was the Luna / Terra crash, which wiped out billions in value practically overnight. There was Axie Infinity, the once-hot NFT game that lost $625 million in a hack. Celsius collapsed. Three Arrows Capital collapsed.

Tron backer Justin Sun is now facing charges filed by the SEC over celebrity crypto endorsements, sales of unregistered securities, and alleged market manipulation, while Terra founder Do Kwon is believed to have been arrested in Montenegro.

Remember when NFTs were cool and people thought their JPGs were worth millions?

All this happened, of course, as the overall economy began to crash back down to earth after a pandemic-created spike in stock prices — which also dampened society’s overall tolerance for chaotic, nonsensical gambling on internet money. As the economy began to even out and our collective risk tolerance went down, crypto went for many investors from a fun plaything to a dangerous bet.

Here’s all our coverage of crypto’s ups and downs through 2022 and 2023: