Crypto is in meltdown mode this week.

the world of cryptocurrencies this week it entered a complete meltdown in a sell-off that graphically illustrated the risks of experimental and unregulated digital currencies.

The moment of panic was the worst cryptocurrency reset since Bitcoin plummeted 80% in 2018, David Yaffe-Bellany, Erin Griffith, and Ephrat Livni report for the New York Times. But this time around, the drop in prices has a wider impact as more people and institutions hold the currencies. Critics said the crash was long overdue, while some traders likened the alarm and fear to the start of the 2008 financial crisis.

“This is like the perfect storm,” said Dan Dolev, a crypto and financial technology analyst at the Mizuho Group.

The decline in cryptocurrencies is part of a broader withdrawal from risky assets, spurred by rising interest rates, inflation and economic uncertainty caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. These factors exacerbated a so-called pandemic hangover that began when life began to return to normal in the United States, hurting the stock prices of companies like Zoom and Netflix that thrived during the lockdowns.

But the decline in cryptocurrencies is more serious than the broader stock market crash. While the S&P 500 has dropped 18% so far this year, Bitcoin’s price has dropped 40% over the same period. In the past five days alone, Bitcoin has plummeted by 20%, compared to a 5% drop in the S&P 500.

Cryptocurrency prices peaked at the end of last year and have since declined as fears over the economy rise. But the crash gained momentum this week as TerraUSD, a stablecoin, imploded. Stablecoins, which are supposed to be a more reliable medium of exchange, are typically pegged to a stable asset such as the US dollar and are bound not to fluctuate in value. Many traders use them to buy other cryptocurrencies.

TerraUSD had the backing of a credible venture capital firm. But TerraUSD was not backed by cash, treasuries or other traditional assets. Instead, it derived its supposed stability from algorithms that linked its value to a sister cryptocurrency called Luna.

This week, Luna has lost almost all of her value. This immediately had a ripple effect on TerraUSD, which fell to as low as 23 cents on Wednesday. As investors panicked, Tether, the most popular stablecoin and a hub of cryptocurrency trading, also faltered from its own $ 1 peg. Tether dropped as low as $ 0.95 before recovering.