Good morning. Here’s what’s happening:
Prices: Bitcoin and other major cryptos trade rise slightly.
Insights: Stablecoins face increasing scrutiny.
Technician's take: Bitcoin is weighed down by resistance at $34,000 and support at $20,000-$25,000.
Bitcoin (BTC): $30,377 +2.2%
Ether (ETH): $1,840 +2.5%
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Bitcoin Ticks Up in Weekend Trading
Bitcoin spent another weekend well inside the same neighborhood it's been inhabiting for much of the past month.
The largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization was recently trading just above $30,000, up slightly from Friday but still in the doldrums. Bitcoin has been ticking a little above and below this threshold since early May, depending on the day's events as investors nervously await clear signs about the direction of inflation and the global economy.
"BTC remains weak until it conclusively breaches the $31k to $32k range," Joe DiPasquale, the CEO of crypto fund manager BitBull, wrote to CoinDesk. "However, we continue to see some buying below $30K that is keeping the price afloat."
Ether, the second largest crypto by market cap, was recently changing hands just above $1,800, up slightly over the same period and well within the range it's held over the last two two weeks under $2,000. Other major cryptos were about flat, although mostly on the green side with LINK and ADA among the biggest winners, rising 5% and 3%, respectively. Trading was light as is typical on most weekends.
Cryptos' weekend holding pattern veered slightly away from equity indices, which closed down on Friday with the tech-focused Nasdaq plunging 2.4% and the S&P 500 falling 1.6%. Digital assets and stocks have correlated increasingly in recent months.
On a more upbeat note, a better-than-expected U.S. jobs report on Friday, showing that nonfarm payrolls added about 390,000 jobs in May, suggested that the economy was far from ready to fold. Analysts have been concerned that the U.S. central bank's interest rate hikes will throw the U.S. economy into recession. And in a sliver of possible good news for crypto, shares of investor savant Cathie Wood's ARK Innovation ETF, which includes crypto exchange Coinbase, have risen over 15% since the second week in May. Wood's as been a noted Bitcoin advocate.
Still, crypto traders remain bearish as evidenced by last week's downturn in the Fear & Greed Index. BitBull's DiPasquale sees a greater likelihood of Bitcoin tumbling from its current perch than breaking out. "We are expecting some directional action in the coming week or so, as Bitcoin either breaks out of the current range or breaks down to look for a lower low," he wrote. "Currently, the probability of a breakdown appears higher than a break upwards."
S&P 500: 4,108 -1.6%
DJIA: 32,899 -1%
Nasdaq: 12,012 -2.4%
Gold: $1,852 +0.09%
Another Challenging Week for Stablecoins
First South Korea. Then Japan.
Stablecoin protocols finished another bumpy week of increased regulation and scrutiny.
The protocols that peg a digital asset to a fiat currency, commodity or a mathematical formula based on some group of assets have been on the defensive since the collapse of the TerraUSD stablecoin (UST) token in early May. Observers of stablecoins, which are supposed to be lower risk than other digital assets, anticipated the extra attention, particularly for algorithm-based stablecoins such as UST.
On Friday, Japan's parliament passed a legal framework around stablecoins to protect investors, making the country one of the first first major economies to pass a stablecoin-specific law. The legislation, which goes into effect in a year, clarifies the definition of stablecoins as digital money that must be linked to the yen or another legal tender and guarantees holders the right to redeem them at face value. The bill does not address existing asset-backed or algorithmic stablecoins.
Only licensed banks, registered money transfer agents and trust companies can now issue stablecoins, although Japanese exchanges do not list them.
The law followed less than two weeks after a report in the Korea Times that South Korean financial authorities would introduce measures to hold crypto exchanges to greater scrutiny following the implosion of UST and the LUNA token behind it. A two-day National Assembly emergency seminar to discuss the debacle, which may have victimized about 280,000 South Koreans, considered the role of exchanges and law enforcement, among other topics.
"We need to make exchanges play their proper role, and toward that end it is crucial for watchdogs to supervise them thoroughly," Rep. Sung Il-jong of the ruling People Power Party said. "When exchanges violate rules, they should be held legally responsible to ensure that the market functions well without any troubles."
The country's Financial Services Commission plans to build close ties with law enforcers "to monitor any illegal acts in the industry and protect investors' rights," said its vice chair, Kim So-young.
Bitcoin Weighed Down by $34K Resistance, Support at $20K-$25K
The cryptocurrency has been anchored to the $30,000 price level over the past two weeks, absorbing a majority of trading volume. That could point to volatile price moves later this month.
On the daily chart, bitcoin's relative strength index (RSI) is stuck below the 50 neutral mark, which indicates slowing momentum behind the recent upswing in price. The persistent decline in momentum means BTC's six-month downtrend remains intact.
The weekly RSI is the most oversold since March 2020, which preceded an uptrend in price. This time, however, upside appears to be limited because of negative long-term momentum signals.
Still, over the short term, BTC could stabilize above the $20,000-$25,000 support zone. The 200-week moving average, currently at $22,179, is another gauge of long-term trend support.
BTC is on watch for a countertrend bullish signal, per the DeMark indicators, which could appear over the next two weeks. That could pave the way for a short-term price bounce, which would delay additional breakdowns on the chart. Upside moves could be fleeting, however, with secondary support at $17,673 providing a more stable ground for capitulation.
9 a.m. HKT/SGT(1 a.m. UTC): Australia TD inflation MoM/YoY (May)
9:30 a.m. HKT/SGT(1:30 a.m. UTC): ANZ job advertisements
9:45 a.m. HKT/SGT(1:40 a.m. UTC): China Caixin services PMI (May)
Ali Pourdad of Quantfury joined "First Mover" to discuss the latest crypto market moves as bitcoin traded below $30,000 and the market downturn leads to crypto industry layoffs. NFT and Web 3 attorney Moish Peltz shared insights into the U.S. Justice Department's lawsuit against ex-OpenSea product manager Nate Chastain over non-fungible token insider trading allegations. Plus, a group of tech experts are lobbying the Biden administration in Washington, D.C., against crypto. One of the signatories, David Gerard, explained the reasons behind the move.
Japan Passes Landmark Stablecoin Bill for Investor Protection: Report: The new legal framework will take effect in a year.
GameStop Reports $76.9M in Proceeds From Sales of Digital Assets in First Quarter: The company also confirmed intentions to launch its NFT marketplace in the second quarter.
Middle East Oil Producers Move Into Bitcoin Mining With Crusoe Energy Stakes: The U.S. startup – which uses flared natural gas to power bitcoin mining rigs – counts the sovereign wealth funds of Abu Dhabi and Oman as investors.
Will Crypto Markets Be Regulated Like Traditional Markets? One NFT Lawyer Weighs In: “They [consumers] should have confidence that the marketplace works, and it's not stacked against them,” said NFT and Web 3 lawyer Moish Peltz on CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover” program.
Are Exchange Layoffs the First Sign of Crypto Winter, or Is It Already Over?: Coinbase, Gemini and other crypto exchanges are laying off employees. Things could get worse from here – but there’s reason to hope for a soft landing.
Today's crypto explainer: What Is a Satoshi? Understanding the Smallest Unit of Bitcoin
Other voices: The crypto-skeptics’ voices are getting louder
Said and heard
"The data signaled that the [U.S.] Federal Reserve’s initial moves to dial back its monetary support for the economy were – at least so far – not constraining business activity so much that hiring was feeling a pinch. After the strong rebound from the depths of the coronavirus lockdowns – all but 800,000 of the 22 million jobs that were lost have been recovered – the Fed has shifted its emphasis from maximum employment to its other mandate: price stability. The challenge is to apply its primary tool, a steady series of interest-rate increases, without inflicting a recession." (The New York Times) ... “I understand that families who are struggling probably don’t care why the prices are up; they just want them to go down." (U.S. President Joe Biden on the May jobs report) ... "Financial advisers say some investors are interested in picking up shares of the ARKK fund at what look like bargain prices compared with the previous two years." (The Wall Street Journal)
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