Bitcoin (btc) and other cryptocurrencies tumble amid Middle East tensions

A worsening macroeconomic climate and the collapse of industry giants such as FTX and Terra have weighed on bitcoin’s price this year.

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The cryptocurrency market suffered heavy selling overnight Saturday amid an unprecedented Iranian drone and missile attack on Israel.

Bitcoin was down some 8% late on Saturday evening as U.S. officials confirmed the attack was taking place. Digital coins were some of the only risk assets trading over the weekend and the fall was seen as an initial reaction to the escalation of Middle East tensions.

Bitcoin had been trading at around $70,000 on Saturday evening but plunged to below $62,000, according to data from the Bitstamp exchange. By Sunday morning it had rebounded to trade above $64,000. Other coins like ether also saw heavy selling, down by up to 10% in some cases.

The sell-off for bitcoin was the steepest in more than a year, according to Bloomberg, with the coin hitting new records recently amid inflows into U.S. spot bitcoin ETFs which continue to drive the cryptocurrency’s price action. 

In the Middle East, events overnight marked the first instance of a direct attack on Israel from Iranian territory. Israel said it had identified 300 “threats of various types” and eliminated “99%” of those bound for Israeli soil.

The deluge of drones and missiles on Israel was reportedly in response to a suspected Israeli strike that killed top Iranian officials in Syria.

The Iranian currency fell to a record low of 705,000 rials/USD on the unofficial market around 10:30 a.m. local time on Sunday, according to data from foreign exchange monitoring site Bonbast.

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange’s flagship index, the TA-35, was down 0.38% at 10:23 a.m. London time.

—CNBC’s Ruxandra Iordache contributed to this article.

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