First Mover Asia: Bear Market? Taxes? Crypto’s Allure in India Grows, KuCoin Survey Finds; Bitcoin Continues Holding Pattern Over $21K

A study by crypto exchange KuCoin found that 15% of the country’s population aged 18-60 held or had traded crypto in the past six months; ether trades sideways.

AccessTimeIconAug 25, 2022 at 1:10 a.m. UTC
Updated Nov 14, 2022 at 6:16 p.m. UTC

Shaurya is an analyst/editor for CoinDesk's markets team in Asia.

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

Good morning. Here’s what’s happening:

Prices: Bitcoin and ether trade sideways a day before the opening of the Fed's Economic Symposium.

Insights: India likes crypto, new taxes and the bear market notwithstanding, a KuCoin survey found.

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.

Prices

Bitcoin (BTC): $21,465 +0.1%

Ether (ETH): $1,670 +1.5%

S&P 500 daily close: 4,140.77 +0.3%

Gold: $1,766 per troy ounce +1.1%

Ten-year Treasury yield daily close: 3.11% +0.05


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 Trades Flat a Day Before Fed Economic Symposium Starts

By James Rubin

Crypto jitters continued Wednesday as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's next public comments about inflation and the economy neared.

Bitcoin and ether traded sideways. Bitcoin was recently changing hands at about $21,500, up a few fractions of a percentage point over the past 24 hours. After plunging late last week, the largest cryptocurrency by market value has been stubbornly clinging to its handhold above $21,000 amid largely tepid trading as investors wait for more clarity about the U.S. central bank's monetary policy going forward.

"Bitcoin is not at the bottom and the crypto winter is not turning to spring quite yet," Stefan Rust, CEO of Layer1 blockchain and incubator Laguna, said in an email.

Ether was recently trading below $1,700, rising over 1% during the same period. The second-largest crypto by market value has been outperforming bitcoin over the past few weeks amid eager anticipation of the Ethereum blockchain Merge, which will shift the protocol from energy-sapping proof-of-work to faster, more environmentally friendly proof-of-stake.

Other major altcoins were mixed with AVAX and SHIB slightly lower but ATOM rising more than 7%.

Major U.S. indexes broke a three-day skid, albeit not by much, with the tech-focused Nasdaq, S&P 500, which has a strong tech component, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) all rising a few ticks of a percentage point.

Markets have been running in place this week until Powell offers some hoped-for hint about the pace of the Fed's next interest rate hike. Minutes from last month's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting have suggested that the bank will approve a third consecutive 75-basis point rate hike, although most indicators lately point to an economy slowing but not headed for recession – moderate enough to merit a dovish touch likely to please markets.

"Like wider markets, cryptocurrency has been spooked by comments from the Fed, which has indicated that there will be no letup in 75 basis point rate hikes in the near future," Rust noted.

Other observers are hoping that Powell will bring clarity to the current disconnect between investors perceptions and economic realities. “I’m looking forward to seeing if Powell can straighten the market out,” David Wessel, a senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution and a former Wall Street Journal economics editor, told CoinDesk's Helene Braun. “At a time when the Fed’s public forecast is at odds with the market, he knows that this is his chance to steer the markets.”

Biggest Gainers

Asset Ticker Returns DACS Sector
Cosmos ATOM +7.8% Smart Contract Platform
Gala GALA +3.0% Entertainment
Loopring LRC +1.8% Smart Contract Platform

Biggest Losers

Asset Ticker Returns DACS Sector
Terra LUNA −2.3% Smart Contract Platform
Shiba Inu SHIB −0.8% Currency
Avalanche AVAX −0.6% Smart Contract Platform

Insights

Crypto's Growth in India Continues, Challenges Notwithstanding: KuCoin Report

By Shaurya Malwa

Despite regulatory hurdles that Indians face to invest in or trade crypto, they remain upbeat about investing in digital assets and the sector’s outlook, a recent KuCoin survey has found.

About 15% of the population age 18-60 as of June either hold or have traded crypto in the past six months, the survey showed. More than half of those holding crypto plan to increasing their crypto investments over the next six months.

The KuCoin report, which the crypto exchange shared with CoinDesk, follows months of drama about crypto taxes and regulation in India, and amid continued surging demand for cryptos and related services.

As of April 1, Indians must pay a 30% tax on income received from crypto transactions regardless of profit or loss, and, since July 1, they face a 1% flat tax per transaction.

The new taxes have caused trading volumes in the country to decline to a fraction of their pre-crypto tax levels. WazirX, a top-ranked crypto exchange, traded just $1.9 million over the past 24 hours across all its trading pairs, according to CoinGecko data.

Yet, the number of investors, particularly among the younger generation, is growing. In this year’s first quarter, 39% of crypto investors were age 18 to 30, up 7% from the previous quarter. That increase was larger than for more mature age groups.

Some 39% of the investors below the age of 30 were first-time crypto investors who only started trading over the past three months.

About half of surveyed individuals are holding on to their crypto holdings, with no plans to sell or add to their positions.

Hurdles

About 41% of survey respondents said lack of knowledge about the crypto market presented a hurdle to investment, adding that they are not sure which types of crypto investment products to choose. Some 37% stated they had difficulty managing the risk of their portfolios, while 27% said they had trouble predicting the market direction and values of crypto, and 21% were not clear about how crypto works.

The ambiguity in government regulations has also been a key factor deterring potential investors, with 33% of surveyed individuals saying that government regulation is a concern when considering crypto investments.

However, over 26% of surveyed participants worried about hackers being the biggest threat to their crypto portfolio, with 23% of that group fearing that they might not recover their money after security incidents.

Important events

5 p.m. HKT/SGT(9 a.m. UTC): Argo Blockchain earnings call.

8:30 p.m. HKT/SGT(12:30 p.m. UTC): U.S. initial jobless claims (August 19)

CoinDesk TV

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

"First Mover" continued to explore this week's hot topic in markets – the Jackson Hole conference for central bankers from around the world. Will U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and central bank leaders abroad signal a change in their monetary policies? And how may the outcome of this meeting affect crypto markets? Martin Leinweber of MV Index Solutions shared his perspective. Also, Alex Thorn of Galaxy Digital spoke about how NFT projects may be misleading buyers about ownership rights.

Headlines

Anomalous Ether Futures Pricing Condition Is Likely to Revert After the Merge: "The current state of backwardation reflects the general market view that ETH will fall following the Merge, but this could be short-lived," one observer said.

China's Ant Group to Work With Malaysian Investment Bank Kenanga on Crypto 'SuperApp': Malaysia's largest independent investment bank will introduce an app that includes crypto trading and portfolio management.

Tron Consumes 99.9% Less Power Than Bitcoin and Ethereum, Crypto Researcher Says: The network consumed power equivalent to fifteen U.S. households in a year, the report said.

CoinShares a Good Way to Play the Crypto Recovery, BTIG Analyst Says: CoinShares was given a buy rating and $5.63 price target from BTIG.

NFTs Worth $100M Reported Stolen Over Past Year: Elliptic: Thefts in May 2022 topped the list in in terms of value with 3,473 NFTs worth $23.9 million stolen.

Longer reads

The More Energy Bitcoin Uses, the Better: The distributed network can help incentivize development in the energy sector leading to a more abundant future, Swan Bitcoin's Steven Lubka writes.

Said and heard

"Instead of writing op-eds, maybe the agency could try (a) engaging with the market participants it’s supposed to oversee and then (b) make pragmatic practicable rules and enforce them equally" (Meltem Demirors) ... "[Y]ou can’t print more energy but it’s fascinating to watch governments try" (Meltem Demirors)... "Having spent the year conceptualizing and designing the SuperApp, we are thrilled to partner with Ant Group, a globally recognized and experienced infrastructure and platform provider, to develop this platform and bring it to life.” (Kenanga Investment Bank Group Managing Director Chay Wai Leong) ... "From what I’ve heard Bitboy will be pulling the lawsuit. I’m blown away from the support. In less than 24 hours we raised roughly $200,000 USD Once I have the confirmation it’s officially pulled. I will be refunding everyone who donated. Thank you guys for saving me."(@atozy)

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CoinDesk - Unknown

Shaurya is an analyst/editor for CoinDesk's markets team in Asia.

CoinDesk - Unknown

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

CoinDesk - Unknown

Shaurya is an analyst/editor for CoinDesk's markets team in Asia.

CoinDesk - Unknown

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