First Mover Americas: Bitcoin Slips Below $43K as Ukraine Shadows Financial Markets

The latest moves in crypto markets in context for Feb. 17, 2022.

AccessTimeIconFeb 17, 2022 at 2:09 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 7:14 p.m. UTC

Good morning, and welcome to First Mover, our daily newsletter putting the latest moves in crypto markets in context. Sign up here to get it in your inbox each weekday morning.

Here’s what’s happening this morning:

  • Market Moves: Bitcoin slips as cryptocurrency trades in sync with tech stocks and geopolitical tensions over Ukraine cast a pall over broader financial markets.
  • Featured stories: Metaverse-related tokens nurse hangover after Super Bowl euphoria. Deflation comes to graphics-card prices as proof-of-stake transition starts to hit computer-processor market.

And check out the CoinDesk TV show "First Mover," hosted by Christine Lee, Emily Parker and Lawrence Lewitinn at 9:00 a.m. U.S. Eastern time. Today's show will feature guests:

  • Dante Disparte, chief strategy officer and head of global policy, Circle
  • Don Kaufman, co-founder, TheoTrade

Market Moves

By Lyllah Ledesma

Over the last 7 day days, bitcoin has struggled to reach above the $45,000 mark. (Messari)
Over the last 7 day days, bitcoin has struggled to reach above the $45,000 mark. (Messari)

Bitcoin (BTC) is down 2% on the day, falling in line with broader markets as traders continue to assess the geopolitical tensions between Russia and the U.S. over Ukraine.

Unable to break the $45,000 mark over the last seven days, bitcoin’s relationship with global markets continues to strengthen, despite previously having been touted as an uncorrelated hedge against inflation.

Futures contracts tracking the U.S. S&P 500 share index fell by 0.5% on Thursday, and futures tracking the tech-stock-heavy Nasdaq 100 fell 0.6%.

“Bitcoin quite clearly is still viewed as a 'risk-on' asset at the moment and declining in line with broader assets and tech,” said Jason Deane, analyst at Quantum Economics.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, bitcoin, was trading in the $44,300-$43,100 range over the past 24 hours. Ether (ETH), the second-largest cryptocurrency, was trading at $3,054 at press time, down 2.5% over the same period.

For the short-term, bitcoin’s choppy trades in sync with equity markets could continue, according to Matthew Dibb, chief operating officer of Stack Funds. “However, we believe that crypto (BTC) is beginning to show some relative strength to other assets.”

Dibb predicts that in the medium term, bitcoin will break $50,000 again, though a push past the all-time high near $69,000, set last November, may take a little longer.

Latest Headlines

Metaverse hangover

By Sam Reynolds

Metaverse tokens are pulling back after a rally fueled by the crypto-heavy Super Bowl, which broke records for viewership ratings with an audience of 112 million.

Yield Guild Games, the eponymous token of the YGG gaming guild, a DAO that generates yield by providing laborers for play-to-earn games, was down 7% on-day, according to CoinGecko.

Axie Infinity’s AXS token, the largest token for a play-to-earn game, posted losses of nearly 6% by the start of the European business day.

Sandbox’s SAND and Decentraland’s MANA followed, with losses of 5.8% and 2.5% respectively.

Metaverse stocks fell. Meta (formerly Facebook) is down 2% on the day and 5% for the last week. So far the stock has posted a 31% decline during the last month as confidence wanes in Mark Zuckerberg’s ambition to transform Facebook into a metaverse-centric company.

HTC, the Taiwanese producer of virtual reality headsets that are considered an essential tool for VR-based vision of the metaverse was up 1% during the Asia trading hours. During the past half-year the stock is up nearly 80% as retail investors in Taiwan latch on to the idea of it being a proxy for the broader growth of the metaverse.

GPU Supply Improving as Proof-of-Stake Shift Continues

By Sam Reynolds

According to analysis by European tech research firm 3D Center, pricing for graphics cards continues to decline as supply improves because of slackening demand from miners preparing to shift towards proof-of-stake protocols.

The report said that while the median price for a graphics card is way above the manufacturer's suggested retail price, it’s trending downwards — a 30% decline since December for median pricing of Nvidia cards and 37% for AMD.

During an earnings conference call with stock analysts on Wednesday, Nvidia said its cryptocurrency Mining Processors (CMP) revenue fell to $24 million in its fiscal fourth quarter, down 77% on quarter.

Chipmaker Intel has also recently announced that it's working on a mining application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) for mining. Argo Blockchain (ARGO) and Block (SQ) will receive Intel’s first ASICs when they are available later this year.

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Lyllah Ledesma

Lyllah Ledesma is a CoinDesk Markets reporter currently based in Europe. She holds bitcoin, ether and small amounts of other crypto assets.

Parikshit Mishra

Parikshit Mishra is CoinDesk's Deputy Managing Editor responsible for breaking news coverage. He does not have any crypto holdings.

Bradley Keoun

Bradley Keoun is the managing editor of CoinDesk's Tech & Protocols team. He owns less than $1,000 each of several cryptocurrencies.