crypto meltdown deepen

Bitcoin slumped on Wednesday to a new 18-month low, dragging smaller tokens down with it 

and deepening a market meltdown sparked by crypto lender Celsius this week freezing customer withdrawals.  

The world's largest cryptocurrency fell as much as 7.8% to $20,079.72 , its lowest since December 2020. 

It has lost about 33% of its value against the U.S. dollar since Friday, dropping more than 50% since the beginning of the year. 

It has slumped about 70% from its record high of $69,000 in November. 

Bitcoin was last down 3.4% at $21,336. 

The digital currency sector has been pummelled this week after U.S. crypto lender Celsius froze withdrawals and transfers between accounts..

stoking fears of contagion in markets already shaken by the demise of the terraUSD and luna tokens last month.