The drop in leading cryptocurrency mining stocks accelerated on Monday, as bitcoin fell alongside the broader market on concerns that tightening monetary policy could push the country into recession.

Even though cryptocurrency trading is outlawed in China, a market crash that has devastated the value of some of the world’s leading cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has attracted the interest of Chinese internet users.

Luna, a cryptocurrency whose price plummeted by more than 80% on Tuesday, was the top trending search phrase on the Chinese social media platform Weibo on Wednesday after it first appeared in the trending search rankings.

On Tuesday, one of the most searched terms on Weibo was bitcoin, which has lost half of its value since its peak in November.

Despite Beijing’s harsh repression, strong interest in those issues shows that a sizable, albeit quiet, community of bitcoin fans exists in China. Before the government restricted the activity to avoid potential cash flight, China accounted for the vast bulk of the world’s bitcoin trading and mining volume.

Following the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates to manage decades-high inflation, investors sold off riskier asset classes, including technology companies, causing the values of a variety of prominent cryptocurrencies to fall.

Despite China’s ban on cryptocurrency trading, a global cryptocurrency sell-off has piqued the interest of Chinese social media users.

Investors’ faith has been eroded by the problems surrounding TerraUSD, an algorithmic stablecoin supposed to be tied to the US dollar through its functioning in cooperation with Luna. This week, it began selling considerably below $1, plunging 83% to just 50 cents on Wednesday.

During the market downturn, the world’s most popular non-fungible token (NFT) collections, such as Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), have lost their luster. According to data from Price Floor and DappRadar, BAYC’s average sales price decreased by 29% in US dollar terms over the last seven days, while transactions and user counts fell by 21% and 27%, respectively, after a disorderly introduction of new virtual land NFTs.

The floor prices of Cryptopunks and Moonbirds, two other popular NFT projects, each fell by more than 20%.

On Wednesday, a Weibo page hosting postings with the hashtag “Luna” attracted nearly 8 million views, with fans commenting that they were “witnessing history.”

Despite Beijing’s ban on cryptocurrency trading, it is known that fans in the country have developed ways to circumvent the regulations.

According to data from SimilarWeb, which was first published by cryptocurrency news outlet Wu Blockchain, China accounted for 9.61 percent of desktop browser traffic on OKX, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges by trading volume on Wednesday.

China was the exchange’s second-largest producer of desktop traffic, with 12.18 percent, after Russia.

China accounts for around 5% of desktop traffic on Huobi, another popular cryptocurrency exchange, according to SimilarWeb data.

Although so-called digital collectibles on domestic blockchains are sold in yuan and are largely barred from the resale, Chinese internet users have been buying NFTs, which are not illegal in the nation.

While a host of state-run businesses and large technology firms have dabbled in NFTs, Chinese officials have frequently warned against financialized virtual assets and the speculative dangers that come with it.

The slump in bitcoin mining stocks continues.

Marathon Digital Holdings, the largest publicly traded miner in the United States by market capitalization, fell 15% to $12.78, extending its year-to-date losses to almost 60%. In the meantime, Core Scientific hit a new low, and Riot Blockchain plunged to its lowest level since 2020.

Because these companies have huge sums of mined bitcoin on their balance sheets, cryptocurrency mining stocks have surged in lockstep with the world’s largest cryptocurrency. Such stocks can be used as a proxy to wager on bitcoin values by investors who do not want to have bitcoin directly in their portfolio.

The losses come after miners’ stock, as well as bitcoins, soared late last year as China banned cryptocurrency mining, allowing the rest of the world to mine tokens with less competition.

However, since then, shares have plummeted in tandem with bitcoin’s price, and margins have deteriorated as a result of rising energy prices resulting from restrictions on Russian energy imports. Other cryptocurrency-related stocks, such as MicroStrategy and Coinbase Global, have also had their stock prices fall.

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