What is bear market? Meaning of investment term - and if the crypto currency market is experiencing one

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin and other leading cryptocurrencies have experienced a significant price drop in market values since China announced a crackdown on digital coins

Crypto currencies took another blow this week when China clamped down hard on the trading of digital coins across the country.

China's central bank has taken a hard line on cryptocurrencies of late by issuing guidance not to provide products or services such as trading or settlements to other financial institutions.

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Crypto currencies took another blow this week when China clamped down hard on the trading of digital coins across the country. (Pic: Shutterstock)
Crypto currencies took another blow this week when China clamped down hard on the trading of digital coins across the country. (Pic: Shutterstock)

All of which have seen crypto prices tumble significantly of late, with the term 'bear market' used to describe the current turbulent time many investors are experiencing since China's crackdown.

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What is a bear market?

A bear market represents a significant decline in market prices over a sustained period of time, usually more than two months but can be longer.

The term is used to describe prolonged price declines across a variety of financial markets and stock indexes, as well as individual listings or commodities.

Notable price declines - of 20% or more - from recent record highs, coupled with widespread pessimism and a lack of investor confidence can be termed as a 'bear market'.

Some markets or individual commodities can be stuck in a bear market for several weeks, months or even years.

A bear market is the opposite to a 'bull run' or 'bull markets' which are terms used to describe upwards trends in prices.

Is crypto in a bear market?

It is probably fair to say that many crypto currencies, such as Bitcoin and Dogecoin, have experienced bull runs in the first quarter of 2021 following widespread attention.

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, rapper Snoop Dogg and KISS frontman Gene Simmons have all mentioned Doge on Twitter which has seen its market price skyrocket.

Bitcoin also reached new highs earlier this year when Musk's electric car company Tesla bought $1.5bn (£1.1bn) of the leading crypto before making a u-turn on plans to accept it as currency.

That sparked a downturn in the crypto market which was worsened by China's clampdown on digital currencies and ban of Bitcoin mining in some of its provinces.

It has resulted in a significant drop in price for the likes of Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Ethereum and other top cryptocurrencies over the last month, following record gains.

It's perhaps too soon to say if the crypto market is in a bear market, but one thing is for certain - it's been a turbulent time for cryptocurrency investors since mid-May.

Will crypto ever recover?

Opinions tend to split whenever the crypto market takes a hit.

There are experts who think this signals the beginning of the end for crypto currencies while others play the patience card and tend to look at the bigger picture.

Let's take a look at both points of view.

Looking at Bitcoin, there is no getting away from the fact it has experienced a significant drop in market value over the past several weeks from record highs to dramatic falls.

It's current market value of £21,053.86 is less than half of what it was priced at in mid-April when it reached a new all-time high of £47,240.05.

Over the last month it has dipped 20.35%, according to Coinbase, which shows Bitcoin's price has dropped 26.71% this last week and 9.81% in the last 24 hours (22 June).

Ethereum, Dogecoin, XRP and other leading cryptos have followed similar paths to varying degrees of market prices over the same time periods.

Yet, if you zoom out a little further, then Bitcoin has still seen its market value increase 171.66% over the last year, from £7,700 (24 June 2020) to £21,053.86 on 22 June 2021.

Looking more broadly, Bitcoin's price has increased 30,187.46% since it began trading in July 2010 - though such a graphic will show the steep fall in price just as prominent as its 2021 rise.