Good morning. Here’s what’s happening:
Prices: Bitcoin and ether rose, but several major altcoins had even bigger days.
Insights: A Taiwan-based GameFi company's $5 million seed round will help its efforts to create technologically advanced – and entertaining – games.
Technician's take: BTC momentum signals are on the verge of turning positive for the first time since August 2021.
Bitcoin (BTC): $44,020 +3.4%
Ether (ETH): $3,115 +3.3%
Bitcoin has a good day; several altcoins even better ones
Bitcoin and most other major cryptos spent most of Thursday well into the green, seemingly buoyed by remarks at one point by a high-ranking member of Russia's national legislature, who said that the country might accept bitcoin from countries on which it is on good terms as payment for oil and other resources.
The largest crypto by market cap had recently gained over 3.4% over the past 24 hours and was trading over $44,000, a threshold it crossed earlier in the day as many investors seemed at least temporarily willing to commit to riskier assets.
Ether, the second-largest crypto by market cap, had risen similarly, and was changing hands at over 3,100. Several altcoins fared even better, including popular meme coin DOGE, which spiked over 7% at one point, and SOL, which climbed over 8.5%.
Cardano's ADA and Axie Infinity's AXS were up over 7% and 22%, respectively. Crypto prices dovetailed with gains in equity markets. The tech-focused Nasdaq was up almost 2%, while the S&P 500 rose 1.4%. Many analysts have seen an increasing correlation between digital assets and stocks.
The comments by Russian Duma deputy Pavel Zavalny, who said that countries could pay "in hard currency," or in different currencies, including bitcoin, underlined arguments that bitcoin is useful as a means of exchange that is not subject to centralized financial services organizations. It also supported critics' contention that Russia will use cryptocurrency to evade economic sanctions from countries who oppose its unprovoked invasion of neighboring Ukraine.
At the summit of world leaders in Brussels, U.S. President Joe Biden raised the possibility of removing Russia from the G20, the forum of largely industrialized countries that addresses global economic issues. Biden said the U.S. would donate $1 billion to help with the exodus of Ukrainians – now at over three million – escaping their war-torn country, and take in 100,000 immigrants from Ukraine.
Crypto received an additional boost when Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock (BLK), confirmed that the world's largest asset manager was exploring how to serve clients with digital currencies. Fink cited increasing interest from clients around digital currencies in a letter to shareholders Thursday. Fink's comments countered his previous assessment of client interest in crypto last July when he said that he was not seeing much demand for digital assets.
In an interview with CoinDesk TV's First Mover program, The Strategic Funds' co-managing director Marc Lopresti said that the importance of Fink's comments and the surging interest of major institutional investors could not be "overstated."
"This is a trend that started in January last year by most accounts, and that ongoing drumbeat of adoption – acceptance by the traditional finance of banks through wealth management firms, brokerage houses, asset managers – is absolutely a trend that catalyzed and propelled a lot of price action that we saw in Bitcoin and other cryptos last year," Lopresti said. "Institutional adoption of a new asset class almost always drives appreciation of the price and the value in the short- and medium-term and 99% of the time over the long term."
S&P 500: 4,520 +1.4%
DJIA: 34,707 +1.0%
Nasdaq: 14,901 +1.9%
Gold: 1,957 +0.6%
See Wan Toong received a boost on Thursday in his quest to create online games that are technologically superior to their predecessors but also fun.
The chief technology officer for Taiwan-based gaming company Red Door Digital closed a $5 million seed round to build high-quality games for the Web 3 ecosystem. The company will use the funding from M6, Shima Capital, Maven Capital, Cryptology Asset Group and LucidBlue Ventures to build out the studio’s proprietary game-theory models, which the company said will “drive the scalability and sustainability of the in-game economy.”
“Web 3 and the metaverse might be buzzwords right now, but more immersive online interactions is the undeniable trajectory for gaming, and we want to make games that bring mainstream gamers onboard,” Red Door Digital CEO Joseph Derflinger told CoinDesk.
In an interview with CoinDesk's First Mover Asia newsletter last week, Toong bemoaned many recent games' inability to entertain players, even as he was praising the improvements that GameFi is bringing to the space. This failure to engage users threatens to undermine the user experience, yet many gaming companies have hesitated to take creative risks that might not pay off.
Toong spoke longingly of the earlier, console era of gaming when "everyone was trying to outperform each other and find creative ways to make interesting games that capture attention.” He added: "It [gaming] seems to be consolidated and has become a more corporate, money-making thing rather than more creative. I think everyone’s trying to survive or trying to be very conservative in their approach.”
Red Door Digital has three games in development, with the first, Reign of Terror, set for release in the summer of 2022. Toong is hoping that at least one of them, or a future project, will become a masterpiece to rival World of Warcraft and Everquest, two games from the massively multiplayer online game boom that followed the console era but also was able to take advantage of technology breakthroughs while keeping sight of gaming's purpose to delight.
A win for the stablecoin community
Proponents of stablecoins enjoyed the announcement that Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) had teamed up with crypto custodian Fireblocks to mint a stablecoin pegged to the Australian dollar.
The bank said that it was the first time a major bank has been involved in the creation of a stablecoin. ANZ said that it had created the stablecoin for Victor Smorgon Group, a large family office based in Australia, which plans to use it to trade on the Melbourne-based exchange Zerocap.
"An ANZ-issued Australian dollar stablecoin is a first step in enabling our customers to find a safe and secure gateway to the digital economy," said ANZ Banking Services Portfolio Lead Nigel Dobson in a press release.
The relative strength index (RSI) on the daily chart is not yet overbought, which means buyers could remain active into the Asia trading day. On the weekly chart, the RSI is neutral, which typically supports an upswing in price, albeit within a year-long trading range between $30,000 and $68,000.
Further, momentum signals are a few days away from turning positive on the weekly chart for the first time since August 2021. That could encourage short-term price strength, consistent with relief rallies in equities.
Still, upside could be limited around the $51,000 resistance level, especially given negative momentum signals on the monthly chart.
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3 p.m. HKT/SGT(7 a.m. UTC): UK retail sales (MoM/YoY Feb.)
5 p.m. HKT/SGT(9 a.m. UTC): M3 money supply (3M/YoY Feb.)
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell repeated his crypto concerns, but BlackRock (BLK) CEO Larry Fink predicted crypto adoption will accelerate. Marc Lopresti, The Strategic Funds' co-managing director, joined "First Mover" to discuss the latest news moving the crypto markets. Harold Bossé of Mastercard (MA) shared the latest development of its crypto accelerator and collaboration with Ava Labs. Plus, Friends With Benefits Mayor Alexander Zhang discussed the importance of crypto social club
UK Regulators Says Crypto Adoption Poses Financial Risk, Call for Additional Powers: The regulators worry that international norms could come too late – and called for banks to exercise utmost caution when dealing with what they said were extremely volatile assets.
Ukraine Crypto Fundraiser Wants EU to Investigate Whether Binance Is 'Helping' Russia: One of Ukraine’s major crypto fundraisers has asked the European Union to investigate whether Binance is "cooperating" with Russia.
David Beckham Tapped by DigitalBits Blockchain to Be Global Ambassador: The retired soccer superstar will also launch a series of NFTs and blockchain-based digital assets on DigitalBits.
Russian Lawmaker Suggests Nation Could Accept Bitcoin for Oil Payments: Under pressure from Western sanctions, Russia is mulling other currency options for natural resource sales.
US Senate to Consider Bill Examining El Salvador's Bitcoin Experiment: The bill, which was passed out of committee on Wednesday, generated the displeasure of El Salvador's President, Nayib Bukele.
Ray Dalio, Sigma Males and the New Grindset: Are we in a "post-narrative" age of institutional adoption of crypto?
Today's crypto explainer: Why Do Old-Line Businesses Enter Crypto Mining? Simple: Fat Profits
Other voices: The Latecomer’s Guide to Crypto
Said and heard
"Over the last two decades, people have tried rebuilding finance using fintech. While many interesting financial applications have resulted from fintech innovations, they all remained bound to the traditional fiat system. True innovation in money and finance has only started with Bitcoin." (CoinDesk columnist Pascal Hügli) ... "History is full of big moments that have changed America’s economic trajectory: The Great Depression of the 1930s, the Great Inflation of the 1970s and the Great Recession of 2008 are examples. It’s too early to know for sure, but the changes happening today could prove to be the next one." (The New York Times) ... "Without unequivocal confirmation that staking rewards are taxed like all other created property, America could lose its foothold as a home for a growing staking ecosystem, which drives blockchain innovation and job creation. It’s time for the courts, Congress or the [Internal Revenue Service] to make clear that staking rewards should receive the same tax treatment as any other type of created property." (CoinDesk contributors Alison Mangiero, Evan Weiss) ... "It comes down to transaction fees. What people are paying to use the system should be a kind of proportional marker of what their emissions responsibility is. So instead of looking at the number of transactions, I look at the fees to make an estimate of what percentage of the Ethereum network’s emissions belong to [non-fungible tokens]." (Researcher Kyle McDonald in a CoinDesk Q&A)
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