First Mover Americas: Bitcoin Holds Steady at $28K Before Fed Meeting

The latest price moves in crypto markets in context for March 21, 2023.

AccessTimeIconMar 21, 2023 at 12:18 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 21, 2023 at 3:15 p.m. UTC

This article originally appeared in First Mover, CoinDesk’s daily newsletter putting the latest moves in crypto markets in context. Subscribe to get it in your inbox every day.

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Price chart 03/21/2023

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After surpassing $28,000 for the first time in nine months, bitcoin traded between $27,300 and $28,350 over the past 24 hours, as investors await a decision by the Federal Reserve on interest rates on Wednesday. Traders are predicting a 25 basis point increase. The world’s largest cryptocurrency appears to be stalling at about $28,000. Swissblock Insights wrote in a report that the market appears to be betting on a 0.25 percentage point rate hike. “If the Fed proceeds to raise rates, the market shouldn’t react as aggressively. If the Fed pauses, however, we will see a strong move to the upside,” the report stated. “We expect volume to decrease and bitcoin’s price action to lose some steam going into the meeting.” Altcoins were down, with most losing 5% over the past 24 hours.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in its first-ever crypto-related case on Tuesday, when lawyers for crypto exchange Coinbase (COIN) will attempt to convince the nine justices to pause a pair of class-action lawsuits against it. Though the case involves crypto, it isn't about crypto itself. Instead, the case is a fairly esoteric, procedural argument over whether a lawsuit can proceed in federal court while one party – in this case, Coinbase – is attempting to send the dispute to arbitration.

Arbitrum (ARB) token derivative markets are popping up on centralized and decentralized exchanges ahead of Thursday’s claim event. Decentralized marketplace Clober is letting traders purchase puts on ARB with strike prices of 50 cents, $1, $2, $4, $8 and $16. The options have cumulatively seen over $50,000 in trading volume in the past 24 hours after issuance. Put options are a type of option that increases in value as the price of the underlying asset, such as a token or stock, falls. “$ARB $2 put options are sold for 54 cents,” Clober said Tuesday. “By paying 54 cents, you can buy the right to sell your $ARB tokens for $2 at any time within 24 hours of claiming your $ARB airdrop.” “That guarantees $1.46 of profit per $ARB on claim day,” Clober added.

Chart of the Day

Chart of the Day 03/21/2023
  • The chart shows bitcoin continues to move in lockstep with the ratio of Wall Street's tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index to the broader S&P 500 index.
  • "Pricing divergence between equities and crypto markets may not be so wide as we initially thought," Gabriel Selby, lead research analyst at CF Benchmarks, said in an email, referring to the concurrent rally in bitcoin and the Nasdaq/S&P 500 ratio amid banking turmoil in the U.S.

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Lyllah Ledesma

Lyllah Ledesma is a CoinDesk Markets reporter currently based in Europe. She holds bitcoin, ether and small amounts of other crypto assets.

Omkar Godbole

Omkar Godbole is a Co-Managing Editor on CoinDesk's Markets team.

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