First Mover Asia: Bitcoin Retreats Further Into the Gloom

The largest crypto by market capitalization dropped below $16,500 at one point on Wednesday. ALSO: CoinDesk research analyst George Kaloudis ranks his top five industry annoyances with FTX topping the list.

AccessTimeIconDec 29, 2022 at 12:01 a.m. UTC
Updated Apr 14, 2024 at 10:20 p.m. UTC

Good morning. Here’s what’s happening:

Prices: Bitcoin, ether and most other major cryptocurrencies spent Wednesday in the red.

Insights: In this last week of 2022, First Mover Asia is revisiting a few of CoinDesk's most noteworthy columns. In his latest Crypto Long and Short newsletter, CoinDesk research analyst George Kaloudis considered five of the most annoying events and trends in 2022. Unsurprisingly, topping his list, Kaloudis wrote of his anger at FTX.


−14.8 1.9%
−164.2 1.0%
−22.3 1.8%
S&P 500 daily close
−46.0 1.2%
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Treasury Yield 10 Years
BTC/ETH prices per CoinDesk Indices; gold is COMEX spot price. Prices as of about 4 p.m. ET

Another Gloomy Day for Bitcoin

By James Rubin

Bitcoin added another dollop of gloom to an already gloomy year on Wednesday.

The largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization was recently down a percentage point over the past 24 hours to about $16,500. BTC has been clinging closer to $17,000 since mid-December amid market concerns about the latest macroeconomic uncertainties and the increased likelihood of Federal Reserve continuing to raise interest rates.

In an interview with CoinDesk TV's "First Mover" program, Brent Xu, founder and CEO of cross-chain DeFi (decentralized-finance) hub Umee, said that markets seem to be destined to continue their declines well into 2023. "Markets are going to bottom out around Q2 to Q3," Xu said. "We're going to see another six to 12 months of negative sentiment, possibly 18 months."

Still, he added that he expects "better developments" in the long term.

Ether was recently changing hands at just under $1,200 for a second consecutive day, off more than 2% from the day before. Other major cryptos were largely in the red amid tepid trading that is typical for most assets as a year closes. SOL, the token of the Solana blockchain, and APT, the native cryptocurrency of the Aptos blockchain system were down more than 11% and 10%, respectively. The CoinDesk Market Index (CDI), an index measuring cryptos' performance, recently fell 1.86%.

U.S. equity indexes slipped slightly as investors chewed over the implications of China reopening its borders after months of Covid-related lockdowns. The tech-focused Nasdaq and S&P 500, which has a hefty technology component, declined 1.4% and 1.2%, respectively. Stocks usually trade sideways at this time of the year, although a massive sell-off of Tesla's (TSLA) stock this month and Southwest Airlines' (LUV) mass cancellations may alter this traditional course.

For at least one day, a couple of faintly positive stories replaced the latest developments in crypto exchange FTX's crisis among industry headlines. Bitcoin miner Argo Blockchain (ARBK) avoided filing for bankruptcy protection after agreeing to sell its Dickens Country, Texas mining facility to Galaxy Digital for $65 million and securing a $35 million loan from the crypto-focused financial-services firm.

Earlier in the day (Hong Kong time), CoinDesk also reported that MicroStrategy (MSTR), the business software vendor that was co-founded by crypto proponent Michael Saylor, has added to its bitcoin stockpile, purchasing about 2,395 bitcoins for $42.8 million between Nov. 1 and Dec. 21 through its MacroStrategy subsidiary

Umee's Xu said that the recent uptick in macroeconomic conditions and crypto price stability has been troublesome for options trading. "If you're an options trader, not a lot of volatility," Xu said. "Whenever there's any price movements, they're not going to be sustained long enough form some notable trend.

"It's just not the best time for investing in crypto assets," he added.

Biggest Gainers

There are no gainers in CoinDesk 20 today.

Biggest Losers

Asset Ticker Returns DACS Sector
Solana SOL −11.7% Smart Contract Platform
Terra LUNA −6.5% Smart Contract Platform
Loopring LRC −5.6% Smart Contract Platform


5 Crypto Things That Riled Me Up in 2022

By George Kaloudis

Enclosed are just five of the crypto-related things that got under my skin in 2022. There were far more than five, but obvious things like “the market went down” are not included because they’re not fun to write about.

You’re reading Crypto Long & Short, our weekly newsletter featuring insights, news and analysis for the professional investor. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every Sunday.

1. The FTX/Alameda/SBF fraud

This is probably the umpteen-millionth time you have read some version of a crypto person being mad about this, but I’m still mad at FTX (for the fraud), the reckless risk-takers (for the flexing) and many Twitter-ers (for the hero worship). I think the fraud speaks for itself. The embezzlement (or whatever it was) at FTX hurt real people. Rubbing salt in the wound: I got to ask FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried some questions, months before his exchange collapsed, on a CoinDesk TV program, but I failed to touch on anything hard-hitting. We talked about the Super Bowl mostly.

2. Crypto hedge fund founders flexing

My brain is raising at least two pitchforks for the folks at crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital (3AC). It’s one thing to be a little annoyed with highly leveraged hedge funds (like 3AC) doing risky things in general; it’s another to be annoyed at the associated flexing (i.e., “showing off”) that took place on social media and elsewhere as highly leveraged hedge funds raked in the cash the last few years.

But it was revealed during liquidation proceedings that 3AC co-founders Kyle Davies and Su Zhu paid for a $50 million superyacht with company funds all while flexing that “100K ETH is dust.” Calling 100,000 ether “dust” was calling $400 million “not a lot of money.” 3AC collapsed. Also, the superyacht was named: “Much Wow.”

Yeah, I know.

Much cringe.

Important events.

9:30 p.m. HKT/SGT(1:30 p.m. UTC): U.S. first-time jobless claims (Dec. 23)

CoinDesk TV

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

Avraham Eisenberg, the crypto investor whose "highly profitable trading strategy" drained DeFi trading platform Mango Markets of $110 million worth of crypto, was arrested in Puerto Rico. Plus, Galaxy will buy Argo's Helios facility for $65 million and provide a $35 million loan to help the miner amid restructuring. And, Sam Ewen, CoinDesk's SVP, head of CoinDesk Studios, cut through the Metaverse confusion to explain where the innovation stands and where it's going.


China to Launch First National ‘Digital Asset’ Marketplace: While trading digital collectibles has been popular amongst Chinese collectors through heavily regulated marketplaces, this is the country’s first official foray into NFTs.

Why Solana Was Decimated by Bankman-Fried’s Downfall: The blockchain heavily tied to the disgraced founder of FTX has been badly wounded by his unmasking. Here are the headwinds facing the formerly hot project and its SOL token.

Anonymous Twitter User Leaks 3Commas API Database: The leak comes after 3Commas repeatedly told users that they had been “phished” after widespread hacks.

FTX Users Sue for Priority Repayment and Damages in Bankruptcy Proceedings: The class-action lawsuit accuses the bankrupt crypto exchange's executives of intentionally misappropriating customer funds to fund risky strategies and their lavish lifestyles.


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CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

James Rubin

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