The price of one Bitcoin fell to its 2017 high of nearly US$20,000 as the cryptocurrency rout deepens, taking exchanges down with it.

Over the last two months, the sliding price of Bitcoin, the original cryptocurrency and largest by market capitalisation, has signalled the end of an extraordinary pandemic-fuelled digital asset bull run during which the price of one Bitcoin hit US$67,000 and we all learned about NFTs.

Sunday marked an inauspicious milestone for Bitcoin when it briefly dipped to US$19,000 – overlapping with the height of cryptocurrency’s last major mainstream ramp up in late 2017.

The question now is: how far will Bitcoin fall?

Jordi Alexander, an investor with Sellini Capital, told Coindesk many investors would be looking at low crypto prices and thinking about when to buy back in.

“Willing buyers have been in cash waiting to buy cheap coins. They have to determine if they will get to buy another 20 per cent lower, or if this is their chance,” he said.

“If they want too long, they will have to chase higher.”

Alexander said he is still waiting to see how many more “distressed sellers” are out there trying to recoup losses or liquidate assets to stay afloat.

The latter scenario is the one crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital is now facing as it looks at a major asset sell-off to pay off loans and secure investor cash.

Three Arrows held US$3 billion in assets as recently as April, according to the Wall Street Journal, including a US$200 million in Luna – the token related to failed algorithmic stablecoin TerraUSD that blew up spectacularly in May.

Kyle Davies, co-founder of Three Arrows, said the company are still “believers in crypto” but that the Terra/Luna collapse “caught us very much off guard”.

Celsius Network, a crypto lender, was likewise struck by the market contagion when it began freezing account withdrawals as it faced a liquidity crisis.

Many smaller exchanges are facing what are essentially bank-runs as customers race to cash out quickly.

In the last week, AEX, Hoo, and Babel have all simply stopped withdrawals to stem the bleeding.

The current crypto fall has coincided with a general cooling of financial markets as inflation fears, rising interest rates, and ongoing supply chain concerns has investors spooked.

Still, the crypto world is used to its short boom-bust cycles and inevitable ‘crypto winter’ periods in which public interest in crypto greatly wanes.

In March 2020 – as the extent of COVID-19 was being unveiled – Bitcoin’s price had a dramatic fall when it lost nearly half its value in a single day.

During that fall, Bitcoin fell below the US$5,000 mark for the first time in four years but just 12 months later it was hitting new heights over the US$55,000 mark.

High profile crypto influencers remain optimistic that this current crash brings as much opportunity as it does pain for investors.

“Historically speaking, if you bought Bitcoin every time there is a ‘bitcoin is dead’ headlines [sic], you would have done well,” Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao tweeted on Monday morning.

“Logic: when they lose hope, that’s when the bottom is in.”