The cryptocurrency market is experiencing an unprecedented crash

The cryptocurrency market has crashed this week, with Bitcoin hovering between $US28,000 and $US30,000 in the last two days—less than half the value of the all-time peak it hit in November—and Ethereum just over $US2,000, which is likewise less than half the value of its November peak. A significant portion of the blame is being assigned to a cryptocurrency called TerraUSD.

TerraUSD is one of the largest of what are called ‘stablecoins’, meaning that it’s supposed to retain a value close to that of a fiat currency—in this case, the US dollar. Cryptocurrency investors see stablecoins as a kind of checkpoint in the crypto game, “safe” places to store their investments when they’re not buying into more volatile currencies.  And yet, this week TerraUSD’s value fell to 30 cents at its lowest, and right now is still just over 80 cents. As FastCompany pointed out, TerraUSD “typically fluctuates by just thousandths of a percent.”