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

Shaurya is an analyst/editor for CoinDesk's markets team in Asia.

Parikshit Mishra is the news editor for CoinDesk during the mid Asia and early European hours. He does not have any crypto holdings.

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

Good morning, and welcome to First Mover. I’m Lyllah Ledesma, here to take you through the latest in crypto markets, news and insights.

  • Price Point: Bitcoin and ether prices had a flat weekend with little movement. Fantom's FTM token surges 20% on the day.
  • Market Moves: Bitcoin’s four-hour time frame price chart signals upside, according to one analyst.
  • Feature: The seemingly dormant blockchain project Sparkster's apparent conversion of $22 million of ether into the stablecoin USDC – visible in blockhain data – is raising suspicions among some community members, CoinDesk’s Shaurya Malwa reports.

Price Point

Bitcoin (BTC) is stuck trading in the $29,000-$30,000 range after an uneventful weekend. The world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization dipped to lows of $28,900 on Saturday.

Ethereum (ETH) is up 2.8% on the day, trading at around $2,000 after experiencing a relatively flat weekend.

Altcoins mostly traded in line with BTC’s flat performance over the weekend, apart from layer 1 project Fantom (FTM), which is outperforming.

In traditional markets, stocks and the Chinese yuan advanced after President Joe Biden signaled he’d reconsider China tariffs imposed by the Trump administration. U.S. stock futures make a jump start to the week, with the Dow Futures up 340 points, S&P 500 Futures up 1.1% and the Nasdaq Futures up 1% on the day.

Market Moves

Until the next U.S. Consumer Price Index data is released (in three weeks) and the next Federal Reserve meeting, sideways movement is expected in the crypto market, according to Florian Giovannacci, head of trading at Covario AG.

Marcus Sotiriou, analyst at the U.K.-based digital asset broker GlobalBlock, said in an email to CoinDesk that bitcoin has printed a higher high and higher low on the four-hour time frame, which is considered a bullish indicator for continuation to the upside.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Bitcoin's four-hour price chart. (TradingView)

Fantom’s FTM was up 20% over the last 24-hours, making it the top performer amongst major digital assets on the day.

FTM is also up 48% over the last seven days.

Some analysts have attributed the uptick in Fantom to rumors that decentralized finance (DeFi) developer Andre Cronje might be returning to the project.

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Fantom has risen more than 20% over the last 24 hours. (Messari)

Latest Headlines

Feature: ICO-Funded Project Sparkster Converts $22M in Ether to USDC After 3 Years, No Product

By Shaurya Malwa

The conversion in recent days of nearly $22 million of ether (ETH) into the stablecoin USD coin (USDC) by the seemingly dormant blockchain project Sparkster has got some observers crying foul and calling on the funds to be blacklisted.

Bizarre narratives and ideas claiming world-changing potential peaked at the height of the initial coin offering (ICO) boom in early 2018. While some projects went on to build legitimate products and ecosystems, others have yet to deliver.

Sparkster looks to be in the latter camp. The project raised over $30 million in July 2018 in an ICO for what it described as a "no-code" software creation platform. The final tweet from the project’s Twitter account was in 2021 – a link to a demonstration of a supposedly upcoming product. Nothing has been communicated from that account since.

The wallets holding the proceeds from the ICO suddenly became active this weekend, however, and by Monday they were sitting on over $22 million of the stablecoin USDC. The move is seen as unusual and is raising suspicions among some community members – especially in the absence of a public explanation from the Sparkster team.

Today’s newsletter was edited by Lyllah Ledesma and produced by Parikshit Mishra and Stephen Alpher.

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The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

CoinDesk - Unknown

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

CoinDesk - Unknown

Shaurya is an analyst/editor for CoinDesk's markets team in Asia.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Parikshit Mishra is the news editor for CoinDesk during the mid Asia and early European hours. He does not have any crypto holdings.

CoinDesk - Unknown

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

CoinDesk - Unknown

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

CoinDesk - Unknown

Shaurya is an analyst/editor for CoinDesk's markets team in Asia.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Parikshit Mishra is the news editor for CoinDesk during the mid Asia and early European hours. He does not have any crypto holdings.

CoinDesk - Unknown

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