Market Wrap: Bitcoin Stabilizes as Altcoins Take the Lead

BTC was up 2% over the past 24 hours, while CAKE rallied 20% and ApeCoin dropped 80%.

AccessTimeIconMar 17, 2022 at 8:32 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 18, 2022 at 5:57 p.m. UTC

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.

Angelique is a market contributor at CoinDesk.

Bitcoin (BTC) held steady around the $40,000 price level on Thursday while several alternative cryptocurrencies (altcoins) took the lead.

The rise in altcoins over the past few days suggests a greater appetite for risk among crypto traders. BTC and ether (ETH) were up 2% over the past 24 hours, compared with a 20% rally in PancakeSwap (CAKE). But there were some misses, especially in ApeCoin, the token linked to the popular Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) non-fungible token (NFT) collection, which dropped as much as 80% on Thursday.

Despite occasional rallies and crashes, it appears that major cryptos (large market capitalization) such as BTC and ETH are stabilizing after a volatile past few days.

Global equities are also higher, especially in Asia, after China's government pledged support for its stock market on Wednesday. Some analysts expect China's central bank to maintain low interest rates this year, which could keep the economy afloat despite the rise in COVID-19 cases and geopolitical woes.

And on the macro front, analysts expect limited upside for the U.S. dollar, which could be positive for bitcoin over the short term.

"The U.S. dollar has appreciated since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, which is not a surprise given that the greenback has a track record of appreciating in response to geopolitical events," MRB Partners, a global investment research firm wrote in a report. "However, this strength has generally been followed by a consolidation phase."

Latest prices

Bitcoin (BTC): $40,827, +0.15%

Ether (ETH): $2,824, +2.96%

S&P 500 daily close: $4,412, +1.23%

Gold: $1,936 per troy ounce, +1.49%

Ten-year Treasury yield daily close: 2.19%


Bitcoin, ether and gold prices are taken at approximately 4pm New York time. Bitcoin is the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index (XBX); Ether is the CoinDesk Ether Price Index (ETX); Gold is the COMEX spot price. Information about CoinDesk Indices can be found at coindesk.com/indices.

Bitcoin's trading activity remains relatively low across major exchanges, according to CoinDesk data.

The recent peak in BTC volume was seen on Wednesday when the U.S. Federal Reserve's rate hike triggered 5% price swings. Still, trading activity has been low relative to prior volume spikes such as the price sell-off in late January and the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war in late February.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Bitcoin trading volume by exchange (CoinDesk, CryptoCompare)

Critical levels

Some analysts have increased their price targets for bitcoin, while others remain cautious because of ongoing macroeconomic and geopolitical risks.

"The Fed rate hike was not damning enough to worry crypto investors, hence solidifying renewed buying spirit," Alexander Mamasidikov, co-founder of mobile digital bank MinePlex, wrote in an email to CoinDesk. Mamasidikov expects selling pressure to subside toward the end of the second quarter, and has a price target at $50,000 for BTC.

Still, bitcoin will need to make a decisive break above the $40,000 psychological barrier to trigger an increase in buying activity. So far, volatility hasn’t been particularly high "taking into account a barrage of largely negative news over the past few days with COVID-19 cases rising and China’s Shenzhen province going into lockdown," Mikkel Mørch, executive director of ARK36, a crypto investment fund, wrote in an email.

Generally, the narrative of bitcoin as a safe haven and store of value has been consistent across some analyst commentary despite the recent decline in a risk-off environment, similar to what occurred in 2018 and 2020.

Despite short-term stabilization, bitcoin's market capitalization relative to the total crypto market cap remains elevated this year. Typically, BTC outperforms (declines less) in a down market because of its lower risk profile relative to altcoins.

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Bitcoin dominance ratio (TradingView)

Altcoin roundup

  • HSBC enters the Metaverse through partnership with The Sandbox: HSBC (HSBC), with almost $3 trillion in assets, is the first global bank to enter The Sandbox metaverse. The bank will buy a plot of land at The Sandbox metaverse, which it will develop to engage with sports, e-sports and gaming fans, the statement said. Details of HSBC's development in the virtual plot of land weren't announced. A promotional GIF that was posted along with the statement showed an HSBC stadium next to a virtual body of water, according to CoinDesk’s Eliza Gkritsi. Read more here.
  • APE token tied to Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs sinks 80%: ApeCoin, the token linked to the popular Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) non-fungible token (NFT) collection was airdropped to Bored Ape NFT owners on Thursday after being announced Wednesday as a part of a larger ApeDAO campaign, but holders quickly selling the coin have sent its price plummeting. The token has fallen from its highest price of $39.40 to a now stable $8.90, trading for as low as $6.48, per CoinMarketCap, according to CoinDesk’s Eli Tan. Read more here.
  • Andrew Yang launches new DAO for AAPI advancement: Former U.S. presidential candidate Andrew Yang has launched GoldenDAO, a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) dedicated to Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) issues. The effort comes right after Yang’s first foray into DAOs. Last month, he announced Lobby3, a new organization advocating for Web 3 policies in Washington, D.C. In recent months, DAOs have been used for everything from social clubs to investment syndicates to crowdfunding vehicles, according to CoinDesk’s Tracy Wang. Read more here.

Relevant news

Other markets

Digital assets in the CoinDesk 20 ended the day higher.

Largest winners:

Asset Ticker Returns Sector
Solana SOL +5.7% Smart Contract Platform
Algorand ALGO +3.7% Smart Contract Platform
Internet Computer ICP +3.0% Computing

Largest losers:

Asset Ticker Returns Sector
Cosmos ATOM −0.8% Smart Contract Platform

There are no losers in CoinDesk 20 today.

Sector classifications are provided via the Digital Asset Classification Standard (DACS), developed by CoinDesk Indices to provide a reliable, comprehensive, and standardized classification system for digital assets. The CoinDesk 20 is a ranking of the largest digital assets by volume on trusted exchanges.

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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.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Angelique is a market contributor at CoinDesk.

CoinDesk - Unknown

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.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Angelique is a market contributor at CoinDesk.

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