Good morning. Here’s what’s happening:
Prices: Bitcoin went on a roller-coaster ride but also rose above $41,000.
Insights: India's crypto community awaits a finance bill that will clarify the government's approach to crypto taxation.
Technician's take: BTC pared earlier losses; support at $37K and resistance at $45K.
Bitcoin (BTC): $41,609 +3.8%
Ether (ETH): $2,754 +6%
Bitcoin rises on a day of price swings
Bitcoin was well into the green over the past 24 hours, although not before experiencing a roller-coaster ride of steep ascents and dips spurred by news events, including economic fallout from Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the widely expected decision by the U.S. central bank to raise interest rates.
The largest cryptocurrency by market cap had soared past the psychologically important threshold of $40,000 early Wednesday morning (UTC time) and then climbed past $41,000 over a roughly 90-minute period. The source of the quick spike remained unclear, although some market observers believe it was tied to China's pledge to support its real estate and tech industries, a move that calmed investors who have been abandoning stocks in droves after a regulatory crackdown and recent slowdown in the country's storied economic growth.
After dropping under $40,000 on two occasions during Asian and U.S. trading hours, bitcoin was changing hands again above $41,000, up about 4%. Ether, the second-largest crypto by market cap, was trading at nearly $2,800, a roughly 6% gain. Most other major altcoins had gained ground over the past 24 hours.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed into law a bill that legalizes crypto in the country. Ukraine has been using a flood of digital asset donations to support the country's defense against the Russian invasion. In an impassioned speech delivered virtually, Zelenskyy asked the U.S. Congress to provide more support and to strengthen sanctions against Russia. "We need such principles of European business that the Russian state does not have the money to ruin lives," he said.
The Federal Reserve decided to raise interest rates by 25 basis points and indicated it would increase rates in similar increments six more times in 2022. The Fed has adopted a more hawkish stance to tame rising inflation but without sending the U.S. economy into recession.
Ben Emons, the managing director of global macro strategy at Medley Global Advisors, said crypto markets had largely already priced in the interest rate increase. "It's a fair point to say that there's been anticipation in the affect of rate hikes," Emons told CoinDesk TV's "First Mover" hosts, adding: "As [for] the Fed signal it's ready to do this faster, that's not priced in."
S&P 500: 4,358 +2.2%
DJIA: 34,063 +1.5%
Nasdaq: 13,436 +3.7%
Gold: $1,946 -0.4%
India awaits crypto taxation clarity
India’s crypto community will likely have to wait till next week to receive clarity on new tax rules.
This after India’s Parliament websites did not mention the introduction of the finance bill that is expected to explain the government's crypto taxation policies. At least one source said the bill is unlikely to be introduced on the last working day of the week, Thursday. The week is shortened as Friday is a holiday celebrating Holi, one of India’s most significant festivals.
The delay gives India’s crypto community more time to mobilize and express themselves to the framers of the bill. Since the announcement of the proposed taxation, crypto supporters have been knocking on the doors of the finance ministry, holding informal and formal conversations urging them to make changes.
The current tax proposal includes a 30% tax on any income generated from crypto transactions and a second tax of 1% at source on all transactions (tax deducted at source, or TDS). Expectations are low that the government will roll back the 30% tax but the industry is hopeful the 1% TDS could be tweaked.
A change.org petition asking for a reduction in the 30% tax and the 1% TDS, among other demands, has already received around 100,000 signatures out of the 150,000 sought.
China looks to allay investors' fears
China’s top financial policy committee, the Financial Stability Development Committee of the State Council, promised to keep the market stable and support property and tech companies.
Following reports of the meeting in Chinese state media Wednesday, Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng Index, which had its biggest loss since 2018 on Monday, posted double digit gains in Wednesday afternoon trading.
Bitcoin Holds Above $40K; Resistance at $45K
Bitcoin (BTC) pared earlier losses and returned above $40,000 toward the end of the New York trading day. The cryptocurrency experienced wild price swings over the past few days, which typically occurs during times of low trading volume.
For now, support around $37,000-$40,000 remains intact, although resistance toward $45,000 could stall the upswing in price.
The relative strength index (RSI) on the daily chart continues to rise from an oversold reading on Jan. 21. Still, price jumps have been capped at resistance over the past two months, indicating persistent selling pressure.
On a positive note, BTC could see additional price gains if the daily RSI remains above 50, which could signal the end of the four-month long downtrend.
South by Southwest (SXSX)
8:30 a.m. HKT/SGT(12:30 a.m. UTC): Australia fulltime/part-time employment (Feb.)
5:30 p.m. HKT/SGT(9:30 a.m. UTC): Speech by European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde
The Federal Reserve raised the interest rate by 25 basis points to tame soaring inflation in the U.S. Ben Emons of Medley Global Advisors shared his readings on the pulse of the U.S. economy and global markets. Rebecca Rettig of Aave weighed in on the role of crypto exchanges in the Ukraine crisis amid calls for compliance with Russia sanctions. Plus, former National Basketball Association star Metta Sandiford-Artest (formerly Metta World Peace) discussed celebrity endorsement of non-fungible tokens (NFT).
Binance Middle East Progress Continues With Operating License in Dubai: It’s the second approval this week in that region for the crypto exchange.
HSBC Enters the Metaverse Through Partnership With The Sandbox: The bank wants to engage with sports, e-sports, and gaming fans on the metaverse.
FTX Strengthens Global Presence With AZA Finance Link in Africa: The agreement follows one day after FTX Europe said it received a license to operate a crypto exchange in Dubai.
Hex Trust Raises $88M for Crypto Custody Focused on the Gaming Sector: The funding round was co-led by Animoca Brands and Liberty City Ventures.
Joe Biden’s Crypto Executive Order Is a Symbol: The symbolism of U.S. President Joe Biden signing last week’s directive may have more of an impact than the practical effects.
LimeWire and the Zombie Brands Pivot to Crypto: LimeWire joins MoviePass and RadioShack in the blockchain resurrections club.
Today's crypto explainer: What's the Most Profitable NFT Strategy: Buying at Mint or Later?
Other voices: Surviving Off Crypto When Cash Fails (CNET)
Said and heard
"But Russia is increasingly isolated from global financial markets, and investors are losing hope that they will see their money. As the government strives to protect what’s left of its access to foreign currency, it has suggested it would pay its dollar- or euro-denominated debt obligations in rubles instead. That has prompted credit rating agencies to warn of an imminent default." (The New York Times) ... "I don’t want to get political, but it is worth marveling for a moment at the fact that we went from a president who once tweeted he wasn’t a “fan of bitcoin” to one who signed a formal document saying the crypto industry is growing, it must be monitored, guidelines should be put in place and the U.S. should be a leader in responsible innovation within the digital asset sector." (CoinDesk Managing Editor for Global Policy and Regulation Nikhilesh De) ... "You need to put pressure. Such sanctions against Russia are needed so that every Russian soldier knows the price of every shot at civilians. We need such principles of European business that the Russian state does not have the money to ruin lives." (Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy) ... “The economy no longer needs – or wants – these, this very highly accommodative stance.” (U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell)
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