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The cryptocurrency market is under pressure on Friday amid a cautious mood in international markets days ahead of the Federal Reserve's annual global central banking conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on 26 August.

The largest digital token Bitcoin plunged as much as 8.3% at one point, reaching the lowest level since late July. It recovered slightly and last stood at $22,047.

Ethereum was last down 5% at $1,753. Other smaller virtual coins suffered sharper declines, including plunges that exceeded 10% in Avalanche, Cardano and Solana.

According to Coinglass, around $220 million of crypto positions got liquidated in the span of an hour today, with Bitcoin accounting for roughly half of that. 

Cryptocurrency's recovery since June is looking increasingly fragile as traders struggle to get a clear sense of the direction of Federal Reserve monetary policy. Two Fed officials, James Bullard and Esther George, on Thursday gave divergent signals on the size of the next interest-rate hike. 

“The recovery trend was looking weak and has done for weeks, but I don’t think that alone explains such a huge move all of a sudden," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda.

All eyes are now on next week's central bankers' symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where finance chiefs and central bankers will speak, with all attention on the utterances of Powell.

Powell, in what will be his fifth year speaking at the event, will talk about the economic outlook at 10 am EDT (1400 GMT), the US central bank has said.

There’s already speculation that Powell may lean against a recent loosening in financial conditions that’s driven financial markets higher in recent times.

With agency inputs

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