First Mover Asia: Signs Point Upward for Crypto in India and South Korea; Bitcoin and Ether Soar on US Executive Order

India's finance minister says the country will launch a central bank digital currency sooner than she'd previously indicated; cryptos rise as investors view the Biden administration's executive order as a positive development.

AccessTimeIconMar 9, 2022 at 11:50 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 6:41 p.m. UTC

Good morning. Here’s what’s happening:

Prices: Bitcoin, ether and other major cryptos spiked following U.S. President Joe Biden's executive order.

Insights: The signs for crypto in India, South Korea and other parts of the world pointed upward on Wednesday

Technician's take: BTC appears to be overbought on intraday charts.

Catch the latest episodes of CoinDesk TV for insightful interviews with crypto industry leaders and analysis. And sign up for First Mover, our daily newsletter putting the latest moves in crypto markets in context.


Bitcoin (BTC): $42,020 +3.2%

Ether (ETH): $2,729 +1.6%

Top Gainers

Asset Ticker Returns Sector
Stellar XLM +9.3% Smart Contract Platform
Bitcoin Cash BCH +8.5% Currency
Bitcoin BTC +8.4% Currency

Top Losers

There are no losers in CoinDesk 20 today.

Prices Rise After Executive Order

After near five days of bad news and sagging prices, crypto hit a gusher on Wednesday.

For once the drumbeat of horror stories from Ukraine, ongoing angst about inflation and energy supplies, and uncertainty about crypto regulation evaporated with the release of U.S. President Joe Biden's executive order on cryptocurrency. The document provided few specifics but allayed many investors' fears the administration would adopt a ham-fisted approach, hindering innovation and discouraging consumers and financial institutions from diving deeper into the market. Those groups, particularly the institutions, fueled the massive increase in bitcoin, ether and other major cryptos last year.

Instead, the order acknowledged crypto's importance and instructed agencies responsible for regulation to coordinate their efforts. Investors saw this approach as a positive.

"The market hates uncertainty," John Sarson, CEO and founder of Sarson Funds, a provider of blockchain and crypto investment products and services, told CoinDesk TV's "First Mover" program. He added: "We've been saying for some time this executive order would be a springboard for a rally in the crypto market, and that's exactly what we're seeing.

Recently, bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, was trading at around $42,000, up about 3% over the past 24 hours. Ether, the second-largest crypto by market cap, was changing hands at about $2,700, a roughly 1.5% gain over the same period. Both bitcoin were up even higher earlier on Wednesday All other cryptos in the CoinDesk top 20 by market cap were in the green, most of them significantly.

In a CoinDesk op-ed Kristin Smith, the executive director of the Blockchain Association, the powerhouse, Washington, D.C., trade group, called the Biden order "a major milestone for the industry in the United States."

"If you are bullish on the long-term possibilities for cryptocurrencies to transform many of the foundational services of our lives, then this recognition by the federal government of crypto's fundamental importance can only be viewed as an affirmation of that position," Smith wrote.

Wednesday's price increases dovetailed with the performance of equity markets that have been battered lately as Russia escalated its unprovoked attack on Ukraine and the U.S. and other countries that condemned the invasion responded with severe sanctions. Sarson noted bitcoin is now functioning both as "a safe haven and risk-on asset, which is where we can really start to see new all-time highs made for the asset category."


S&P 500: 4,277 +2.5%

DJIA: 33,286 +2%

Nasdaq: 13,255 +3.5%

Gold: -2.8%


Crypto Regulatory Signs Also Point Upward in India and South Korea

Wednesday was a good day for crypto in parts of Asia, as well as the U.S. and Dubai.

Prices soared on the Biden Administration's release of a crypto executive order that recognized the importance of crypto and mapped some reasonable next steps for regulating the rapidly growing industry. U.S. investors and beyond expecting a more stringent approach were relieved.

But the news was far from the only boost on the regulatory and political front for cryptos. South Korea elected a new president in an election that was marked partly by the two main candidates' efforts to woo younger voters by promising crypto friendly policies. India's finance minister said that the nation's central bank would launch a central bank digital currency sooner than previously indicated. In the Middle East, where a number of countries have accelerated their efforts to cultivate blockchain projects, Dubai's ruler tweeted about the adoption of a crypto law.

South Korea

In a close election, South Korea picked the conservative People Power Party candidate Yoon Seok-youl as president. In an effort to connect with younger, tech-savvy voters, both Yoon and his opponent, Lee Jae-myung of the governing Democratic Party promised to promote crypto friendly policies during their campaigns.

Yoon pledged to raise the threshold for a crypto capital gains tax to be the same as equities, taking it from the current 20% tax which kicks in at KRW 2.5 million (US$2,024) to KRW 52.4 million ($42,450). He also promised something similar to Lee, which was to "take legal measures to confiscate crypto profits gained through illegitimate means and return them to the victims.”

Lee said he would use security token offerings as a way to issue tokenized securities to return ill-earned profits from real estate speculation to the people, to establish a monitoring agency and to bring back initial coin offerings (ICO), which the nation banned in 2017.


India Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that she expected the nation's central bank to launch a central bank digital currency (CBDC) or digital rupee “this year,” veering from her earlier statement that it would launch some time between 2022 and 2023. The announcement ratcheted up the competition with China in which will be the first country to make a CBDC a staple of their monetary system. China, the world’s most populated nation, is increasingly embracing blockchain and the metaverse, even recently holding a metaverse job fair.


Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai's ruler, addressed uncertainty and concerns in his country about crypto when he tweeted about the adoption of a crypto law and the establishment of an independent authority for oversight.

Al Maktoum said that Dubai hopes to create the “best business environment in the world for virtual assets” and coincides with its hosting Dubai Blockchain Week and several crypto or metaverse related events throughout the month.


According to the South China Morning Post, the state-backed Shanghai Data Exchange has launched what it describes as a metaverse-based recruitment program in which job seekers “enter the metaverse and adopt the avatar of an animated man in a black suit and then meet recruiters who represent nine departments. Controversially, job seekers cannot interact with human recruiters while in the metaverse and the gender of the avatar, a man, cannot be changed.

Technician's take

Bitcoin four-hour chart shows support/resistance with RSI on bottom (Damanick Dantes/CoinDesk, TradingView)
Bitcoin four-hour chart shows support/resistance with RSI on bottom (Damanick Dantes/CoinDesk, TradingView)

Bitcoin (BTC) rallied as much as 10% over the past 24 hours as buyers reacted to short-term oversold readings.

Resistance, or the point where an uptrend is expected to pause temporarily due to a concentration of supply, at around the $40,000-$45,000 price zone could stall the current upswing, similar to what occurred last week.

The relative strength index (RSI) on the four-hour chart is oversold, which typically precedes a brief pullback in price. On the daily chart, however, the RSI is neutral, suggesting that lower support around $37,000-$40,000 could stabilize pullbacks into the Asia trading day.

For now, bitcoin remains in a tight trading range, although downside momentum has slowed over the past two months. That means bulls could remain active at short-term support levels.

BTC was recently trading near $42,000 at press time and is down 3% over the past week.

Important events

12 a.m. HKT/SGT(8 a.m. UTC): Australia consumer inflation expectations (March)

China M2 money supply (Feb. YoY)

China new loans (Feb.)

8:45 a.m. HKT/SGT(12:45 a.m. UTC): European Central Bank interest rate decision (Feb.)

8:45 a.m. HKT/SGT(12:45 a.m. UTC): European Central Bank monetary policy decision statement (Feb.)

CoinDesk TV

In case you missed it, here is the most recent episode of "First Mover" on CoinDesk TV:

Blockchain Association Executive Director Kristin Smith and CoinDesk Managing Editor for Global Policy and Regulation Nikhilesh De join "First Mover" to share their insights and analysis of President Joe Biden's executive order that calls for federal agencies to coordinate their approach to cryptocurrencies. Prices of bitcoin, ether and other digital assets jumped on the heels of this news. John Sarson, Sarson Funds CEO and founder, shares his markets analysis. Plus, tips on how to navigate crypto tax rules this tax season from Seth Wilks of Taxbit.


Biden Issues Long-Awaited US Executive Order on Crypto: Federal agencies will evaluate their approach in six “key priorities” within the digital asset sector.

Biden’s Executive Order on Crypto Met With Relief From Key Industry Players: The order is largely perceived as a step in the right direction that could offer the industry much-needed regulatory clarity.

Conservative Candidate Yoon Suk-Yeol Wins South Korea’s Presidential Election: Yoon defeated his Liberal Party opponent in a contest in which cryptocurrency issues were unusually prominent.

Bitcoin Tops $41K After Yellen's Crypto Statement Inadvertently Published Early: Gemini's Cameron Winklevoss said that based on Yellen's remarks the impending crypto order is positive and supports responsible innovation.

Binance in Talks to Obtain Dubai License Amid Middle East Push: Report: The move comes as Dubai adopts its first law governing virtual assets.

Longer reads

AssangeDAO Raised $56M and Quickly Split Up. Was It Still a Success?: The WikiLeaks founder is still behind bars while the DAO works to release him by “any means necessary.”

Said and heard

“At the same time, however, digital assets can also provide opportunities for American innovation and competitiveness and promote financial inclusion. Innovation is central to America's story and our economy, generating jobs and opportunities, creating and building new industries, and sustaining our global competitive edge and leadership.” (Senior White House official on executive order, as quoted by CoinDesk) ... "Start with energy. So far, the sanctions being applied by Europe against Russia conspicuously don’t apply to oil and gas exports; the United States is banning oil imports from Russia, but this won’t matter that much, because America can buy and Russia can sell elsewhere." (New York Times columnist Paul Krugman) ... "Politics aside, food may actually be a bigger issue than energy. Before [Vladimir] Putin’s war, Russia and Ukraine combined accounted for more than a quarter of the world’s wheat exports. Now Russia is sanctioned and Ukraine is a war zone. Not surprisingly, wheat prices have shot up from less than $8 a bushel before Russia began massing its forces around Ukraine to around $13 now." (Krugman) ... Today, @POTUS signed an Executive Order on crypto-assets. I look forward to collaborating with colleagues across the government to achieve important public policy goals: protecting investors & consumers, guarding against illicit activity, & helping ensure financial stability. (SEC Chair Gary Gensler)


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Amitoj Singh

Amitoj Singh is a CoinDesk reporter.

Damanick Dantes

Damanick was a crypto market analyst at CoinDesk where he wrote the daily Market Wrap and provided technical analysis. He is a Chartered Market Technician designation holder and member of the CMT Association. Damanick is also a portfolio strategist and does not invest in digital assets.

James Rubin

James Rubin was CoinDesk's U.S. news editor based on the West Coast.