First Mover Asia: Cryptos Rise, Even as Stocks Falter; Token2049 Conference Signals Singapore’s Resurgence as a Crypto Hub

More than 7,000 people representing over 2,000 companies are scheduled to attend; Hong Kong plays catch-up. Bitcoin trades over $19,00 again.

AccessTimeIconSep 27, 2022 at 12:15 a.m. UTC
Updated Apr 14, 2024 at 10:31 p.m. UTC

Good morning. Here’s what’s happening:

Prices: Cryptos rose gently even as equities suffered through another dreary day.

Insights: Token2049 Conference highlights Singapore's resurgence as a crypto and business hub.

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.


Bitcoin (BTC): $19,198 +2.3%

Ether (ETH): $1,333 +3.2%

CoinDesk Market Index (CMI): $956 +1.7%

S&P 500 daily close: 3,655.04 −1.0%

Gold: $1,634 per troy ounce −0.7%

Ten-year Treasury yield daily close: 3.88% +0.2

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

Cryptos Rise Even as Stocks Suffer

By James Rubin

Bitcoin and ether inched upward in Monday trading, countering equity markets that closed lower but remaining in the same narrow bands they've occupied for more than a week.

The largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization was recently trading above $19,200, a more than 2% gain over the past 24 hours. BTC has been tangoing with the $19,000 threshold for eight days, dipping and rising according to the winds of the latest economic indicators.

Ether was recently changing hands over its most recent support of $1,300, a more than 2% increase from the previous day. Most other major cryptos were largely in the green, with DOT and BSV recently up more than 6% and 5%, respectively.

"Crypto markets are holding up quite well in the face of everything that's going on globally," Nauman Sheikh, managing director at Wave Financial, told CoinTV's "First Mover" program.


Equity markets, from which crypto prices have drawn their lead for much of the year, closed lower, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and S&P 500 both falling over a percentage point and the tech-heavy Nasdaq dropping 0.6%. The declines came amid investors' heightened recessionary fears that took root following a wave of hawkish interest rate hikes and economic data pointing firmly downward. The DJIA tumbled into bear market territory, meaning it has declined at least 20% from its previous peak.

On Monday, yields for two-year U.S. Treasurys soared to 4.3%, reaching levels last seen in August 2007. Ten-year notes topped 3.9%, their highest mark since 2010. An inverted yield curve suggests that investors are placing a higher degree of risk on short-term than longer-term lending, and historically has foreshadowed recessions that affect all risk assets. Cryptocurrencies typically move in the opposite direction of yields.

Earlier in the day, markets were further roiled when the British pound fell to a historic low against the U.S. dollar before rallying. The drop occurred after the British government introduced its largest tax cuts in a half century to spur economic growth, but raising fresh inflation concerns.

Crypto news offered a mix of events, negative, neutral and positive. The search for Do Kwon intensified following Interpol's Red Notice asking law enforcement agencies worldwide to find and arrest the Terraform Labs co-founder, pending extradition, surrender or similar legal action.

Australia said it would complete its central bank digital currency by 2023 and Walmart, the world's largest retailer, announced a major non-fungible token (NFT) initiative. The Walt Disney Company separately hinted at a ramped-up metaverse presence through a recent job listing for a principal counsel specializing in non-fungible tokens and decentralized finance (DeFi).

Despite the ongoing, macroeconomic turbulence, Jeff Dorman, chief investment officer at crypto fund manager Arca, took issue with "the convenient narrative" that ties "digital assets' fates to macro." In his Two Satoshis newsletter, Dorman wrote that the correlation was "short-lived" and applied only to bitcoin and "a few other bellwether cryptocurrencies."

"The future success or failure of digital asset investments will be more closely tied to user and app growth than to dot plots," he wrote, adding: "But with the Ethereum Merge in the rear-view mirror and the Federal Reserve stranglehold transparently and clearly stated, what will be the next catalyst to drive digital asset prices? To answer that, we must acknowledge how bad the data is and compare it to data points suggesting trends may reverse soon."

Biggest Gainers

Asset Ticker Returns DACS Sector
Terra LUNA +23.1% Smart Contract Platform
Polkadot DOT +5.6% Smart Contract Platform
Solana SOL +4.4% Smart Contract Platform

Biggest Losers

Asset Ticker Returns DACS Sector
XRP XRP −5.1% Currency
Stellar XLM −2.5% Smart Contract Platform
Cosmos ATOM −0.9% Smart Contract Platform


Singapore Surges Back as a Crypto and Business Hub

By Sam Reynolds

Good luck trying to book a hotel in Singapore this week.

Token2049 is in town, followed by the Formula 1 race. Despite the bear market for crypto, organizers say there are over 7,000 people scheduled to attend and 2,000 companies represented.

Hotel prices are up nearly 70% from last year with the highest prices per night in a decade as visitors flock back to a Singapore free of COVID-19 restrictions. The event, which features developers and executives from leading Web3 and other blockchain-related companies, underscores not only the global return to normality but also Singapore’s resurgence as a crypto hub and business hub. It also highlights the different roads that Singapore and its perennial rival, Hong Kong, which is playing catch-up, have been traveling.

Singapore re-opened its borders and dropped most COVID-19 restrictions in March 2022. Hong Kong is now only doing so this month, perhaps egged on by its loss of the title of top financial hub in Asia to Singapore.

Another loss for Hong Kong is the Token2049 conference itself. Initially, this event was a London and Hong Kong affair until it was canceled twice in Hong Kong because of pandemic restrictions.

This year’s Singapore Fintech Festival and Hong Kong Fintech Week are actually scheduled to be overlapping events. But as CoinDesk has previously reported, these might be two different events entirely.

Hong Kong Fintech week is less about fintech and more about govtech: how financial technology can help Hong Kong and its firms be more efficient for Beijing’s vision of the "Greater Bay Area," the future tight integration of Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Macau, along with several regional mainland cities. Singapore’s festival, in contrast, is a much more international affair, judging by the speakers’ list.

Besides, anyone from overseas who wants to go to Hong Kong’s Fintech Week needs to arrive three days early as the current rules say no “maskless or group activities” (including restaurants and bars) for 72 hours. And there’s a required PCR test at the airport, and three more spread out during the first week.

Not much fun for conference goers.

Important events

8: 30 p.m. H1HKT/SGT(12:30 p.m. (UTC): U.S. durable goods orders (August)

CoinDesk TV

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

Has bitcoin (BTC) hit bottom yet? "First Mover" dove into the crypto markets with Wave Financial Managing Director Nauman Sheikh. Douglas Rushkoff, author of "Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires" shared insights into why tech billionaires seem obsessed with survival plans. Plus, it's Education Week! CoinDesk ranks the best universities for blockchain.


Chinese Authorities Arrest 93 for Crypto-Related Money Laundering: The suspects laundered as much as RMB 40 billion, according to Hengyang county police.

CFTC’s Ooki DAO Action Shatters Illusion of Regulator-Proof Protocol: The action raises still-unanswered questions about who is culpable when a DAO commits a crime – will casting a vote with a governance token be seen as a smoking gun?

Interpol Issues Red Notice for Do Kwon: Report: Kwon maintains that he is not on the run, but his location is unknown after Singapore authorities said he's not in the city-state.

Founder of Failed Crypto Exchange QuadrigaCX Starts DeFi Protocol UwU Lend: Sifu is back with UwU Lend, an Aave-forked decentralized finance protocol.

Filesharing Crypto Project Filecoin Reports Strong Fundamental Growth Ahead of FVM Launch: Some 20,000 individual users are said to be using Filecoin to store over 50 million data objects used by dapps.


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James Rubin

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