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Market Wrap: Bitcoin Rangebound as XRP Plummets After SEC Lawsuit

Bitcoin continues trading below $24,000 as legal action by the SEC rattles the XRP market.

Dec 23, 2020 at 9:29 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:47 a.m. UTC

Bitcoin's price continues to trade below $24,000 as legal action against Ripple Labs rattled the XRP market. Bitcoin is the only asset in the CoinDesk20 with a positive 24-hour return as of 4 p.m. ET.

  • Bitcoin (BTC) trading around $23,500 as of 21:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET) gaining less than 1% over the previous 24 hours.
  • Bitcoin’s 24-hour range: $22,822.26 to $24,086.95.
  • XRP's sell-off continues with the token's price dropping another 40% to $0.27 Wednesday.

The price of bitcoin has been bouncing between $22,000 and $24,000 since Friday.

BTCUSD four-hour price action

Despite its monster rally through the fourth quarter of 2020, bitcoin's volatility has stayed low. There was a slight increase in December as bitcoin continued setting new record highs, but 180-day volatility has been sitting at its lowest levels since February 2017, per data from Coin Metrics.

Bitcoin 180-day volatility

Where the price heads next is anyone's guess. But on Twitter, Ki Young Ju, CEO of cryptocurrency data provider CryptoQuant, shared his bullishness, saying, "BTC will break $25,000 without retesting $21,000."

Part of the reason for Ju's prediction are the large outflows from Coinbase, which could be viewed as transfers to Coinbase cold storage following new over-the-counter deals for institutional clients.

Bitcoin price and BTC Coinbase outflows annotated by Ki Young Ju

Sharing Ju's market outlook, Zoran Scekic, managing partner at cryptocurrency trading firm Zorax Capital, also took to Twitter, calling bitcoin's market conditions a "consolidation or up" trend. Regardless of what it's called, bitcoin's current trend has resulted in over 200% year-to-date returns, with a roughly 20% gain so far in December.

Along the way, bitcoin's correlation to traditional markets has continued to weaken, per data from Coin Metrics, with the 90-day correlation between bitcoin and the S&P 500 stock index at its lowest level since just before the market crash in March 2020.

Ripple

Following news of the SEC lawsuit against Ripple, XRP investors are facing a very un-merry Christmas weekend. The fifth-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization crashed more than 40% Wednesday as of 21:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET), trading hands around $0.27.

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse warned Monday the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) planned to file a lawsuit, per prior CoinDesk reporting. Sure enough, on Tuesday afternoon the SEC filed a suit that claimed Ripple Labs violated federal securities laws in selling the XRP cryptocurrency to retail consumers.

Some organizations are taking a wait-and-see approach to this news, such as Ripple partner MoneyGram, which said it has yet to see any “negative impact” on its business arrangements with Ripple following the SEC lawsuit.

But some investors aren't being as patient. Cryptocurrency money manager Bitwise liquidated its XRP, worth $9.3 million, following news of the SEC's lawsuit. “The Fund liquidated its position and reinvested the proceeds in other portfolio assets," Bitwise wrote to clients.

XRP/USD daily price action

Other markets

Digital assets on the CoinDesk 20 are down Wednesday. Bitcoin is the index's only asset with a positive 24-hour return as of 21:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET), reporting a gain of 0.4%.

Notable losers:

Equities:

  • Asia’s Nikkei 225 is in the green, up 0.33%.
  • The FTSE 100 in Europe is up 0.7% from its Wednesday open.
  • The S&P 500 in the United States closed flat, with a modest 0.2% gain Wednesday after giving back some of its gains from early afternoon trading hours.

Commodities:

  • Oil was up over 2%. Price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude: $48.12.
  • Gold was in the green 0.26% above $1,875 as of press time.

Treasurys

  • The 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yield climbed Wednesday with a nearly 0.04% daily gain.

COINDESK-20

DISCLOSURE

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.

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