First Mover Asia: Bitcoin’s Store of Value Narrative Is on Full Display; Crypto Prices Stay Green

ALSO: CoinDesk's Helene Braun writes that the current banking crisis won't doom banks that serve the digital asset industry.

AccessTimeIconMar 14, 2023 at 1:54 a.m. UTC
Updated Mar 14, 2023 at 3:05 p.m. UTC
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Good morning. Here’s what’s happening:

Prices: Bitcoin is leading the crypto rally as a flight from USDC accelerates.

Insights: Banks serving the digital asset industry will continue to exist, despite the recent banking crisis.

Prices

1,099
+51.6 4.9%
$24,235
+1630.1 7.2%
$1,674
+52.5 3.2%
S&P 500
3,855.76
−5.8 0.2%
Gold
$1,919
+56.6 3.0%
Nikkei 225
27,832.96
−311.0 1.1%
BTC/ETH prices per CoinDesk Indices, as of 7 a.m. ET (11 a.m. UTC)

Twenty-four hours ago, crypto was in dire straits. The industry’s fiat pipelines were being disconnected one by one. Circle’s USDC had been knocked off its dollar peg because of the issuer's exposure to Silicon Valley Bank, and the stablecoin still hadn’t recovered.

Fast forward to today and this all seems like less of an issue. Depositors are being made whole. Circle said it would cover any shortfall.

Stablecoins are supposed to be the safe haven asset of crypto. They came into the spotlight during the COVID-19 crypto crash of March 2020, and the subsequent bull market, making them a key part of the ecosystem.

“We are closely watching whether this moment creates an opening for other currencies, notably the euro, to emerge as a linchpin of the digital asset ecosystem,” David Bachelier, Asia-Pacific CEO of Flowdesk, said in a note to CoinDesk. “Such an outcome would be positive, as it would bolster the role of the euro in crypto in terms of trading volumes, too. This would put crypto-fiat trading volumes more in line with proportions of the euro’s trading volumes versus the dollar’s.”

Bitcoin, as BitMEX co-founder Arthur Hayes correctly predicted, is on a rally, up nearly 8.5% in the last 24 hours, leaving other cryptocurrencies in its digital dust. Ether is up 5%, Binance’s BNB up 6% and dogecoin is up 2.5%.

Tokens associated with layer 1 blockchains Solana (SOL), Polkadot (DOT) and Avalanche (AVAX) are all fairly flat.

On-chain data suggests this rally is fueled by a flight from USDC into bitcoin. Data from Nansen shows the supply of USDC on exchanges has increased over the last few days. Total supply on exchanges is up 8% compared to a week ago. Notably, the largest deposit of USDC in the last 24 hours was 18.3 million, a 41% increase from the prior record of 13 million.

The same can’t be said for stablecoin USDT. There’s been a 5.7% decline of USDT on exchanges from the last week, which translates into a negative net flow of 96.6 million.

"Bitcoin is rallying as financial stability risks sent Treasury yields crashing. In a scramble to avoid another massive bank run, federal regulators stepped in as some Americans grew skeptical of traditional banking,” Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda, told CoinDesk via email. “Bitcoin volatility should remain elevated and it will be interesting to see how much momentum will be left with today's surge."

Moya also pointed to gold as a continued safe haven in times of uncertainty with Treasury yields.

“Gold's breaking out as volatility is picking up, [Treasurys] are surging and it seems there is too much headline risk,” he wrote. “The two-year Treasury yield is down 49 basis points to 4.095%, which means we are almost down a full point since last week. ​The entire Treasury curve is now below [the Federal Reserve's] target, and that normally means a recession is coming.”

Biggest Gainers

Asset Ticker Returns DACS Sector
Bitcoin BTC +7.1% Currency
Gala GALA +3.1% Entertainment
Ethereum ETH +3.0% Smart Contract Platform

Biggest Losers

Asset Ticker Returns DACS Sector
XRP XRP −1.5% Currency
Solana SOL −0.5% Smart Contract Platform

Insights

Will Small Banks Fill the Crypto Gap?

The crypto ecosystem was built on the belief that no one entity, meaning a bank, should be in charge of one individual’s finances. Until that becomes a reality, traditional banking will likely have to serve as a bridge between centralized finance and decentralized finance.

Thus, the shutdown of Silvergate Bank, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank will certainly cause headaches for the industry in the short-term as many crypto companies search for new banking partners, uncertain if larger entities will even want to touch crypto companies anytime soon.

“For now, it's not clear what new financial institutions will partner with these crypto companies in the wake of Silvergate, SVB and now Signature,” said Ilya Volkov, CEO of and co-founder of YouHodler, a Swiss-based international fintech platform providing a variety of Web3 crypto and fiat service.

“The industry is currently running out of options and that needs to be addressed soon to prevent further problems,” Volkov added, noting that it will cause some fear-based reactions from the investors.

In the long run, however, this contagion shouldn’t hurt the crypto industry as there will likely be other smaller banks that will likely bridge the gap. “Crypto liquidity is likely to take a hit in the short term, but this is an opportunity for new innovative challenger banks to step up and take the place of SVB, Silvergate and Signature,” said Andrei Grachev, managing partner at digital asset market maker DWF Labs.

Read the full version of this analysis here.

Important events

CoinDesk TV

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

Bitcoin (BTC) has climbed above $24,000 in the last 24 hours, as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said depositors of Silicon Valley Bank would have full access to their money beginning Monday morning, after confirming a successful transfer of deposits to a new bridge bank. This came as crypto exchange Binance said it would convert $1 billion worth of Binance USD (BUSD) to bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH), BNB coin (BNB) and other tokens to support the market.

Headlines

DYdX Passes Vote to Reduce Trading Rewards by 45%, Sending Token Up 29.89%: The DYDX token is up by 121% since the turn of the year.

MakerDAO Weighs Using Emergency Switch to Prevent Future DAI Depegging: The community proposal comes just two days after DAI followed stablecoin USDC in slipping beneath the $1 mark.

The Banking Crisis Is Not Crypto’s Fault: Crypto might have a banking problem, but banks don’t have a crypto problem.

Coinbase Officially Suspends Binance USD Stablecoin Trading: Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong previously said the decision was made due to liquidity concerns.

Crypto Fund Outflows Hit Record Weekly Level: The outflows rose for a fifth consecutive week, according to a CoinShares report.

Disclosure

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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 Block.one; 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.

Helene Braun

Helene is a New York-based reporter covering Wall Street, the rise of the spot bitcoin ETFs and crypto exchanges. She is also the co-host of CoinDesk's Markets Daily show. Helene is a graduate of New York University's business and economic reporting program and has appeared on CBS News, YahooFinance and Nasdaq TradeTalks. She holds BTC and ETH.


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