First Mover Americas: SEC Warns Coinbase

The latest price moves in crypto markets in context for March 23, 2023.

AccessTimeIconMar 23, 2023 at 12:18 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 23, 2023 at 4:23 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 03/23/2023

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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission issued a Wells notice to crypto exchange Coinbase (COIN), a step that may lead to the SEC suing Coinbase or taking other enforcement actions against it. Coinbase said the SEC alleged the U.S.-based company may be operating in violation of securities laws in the running of its exchange and providing staking services. Coinbase now has an opportunity to respond to the SEC and possibly reach a settlement with the agency.

The SEC sued Justin Sun, founder of the Tron blockchain, on Wednesday on allegations that his projects sold and airdropped unregistered securities and committed fraud and market manipulation. The SEC said in a press release it was suing Sun, the Tron Foundation, the BitTorrent Foundation and BitTorrent over the sale of the tronix (TRX) and bitTorrent (BTT) tokens, which the regulator described as unregistered crypto-asset securities. The Tron network’s native TRX token dropped 13% to 5.8 cents after the announcement, according to CoinDesk data.

Bitcoin gradually moved to just under $28,000 on Thursday as traders digested the quarter-point interest-rate hike Wednesday by the Federal Reserve, which was in line with expectations. The decision reinforced the Fed's concerns that inflation remains problematic and that it remains "strongly committed to returning inflation to our 2% objective.” Bitcoin slid to under $27,000 immediately after the Fed’s announcement as traders took profits on a 20% gain over a seven-day rolling period. However, traders of bitcoin-tracked futures took on over $150 million in losses amid the volatility, with billions in open interest – or the number of unsettled contracts – effectively getting washed out.

Chart of the Day

(Source: Aksel Kibar)
(Source: Aksel Kibar)
  • The chart shows bitcoin's rally has stalled at around $28,600, a resistance level marked by the swing low reached in April 2021.
  • "The more BTCUSD resists a sharp pullback from $28.6K, the higher the chances of it breaking on the upside and price targeting $34K," chartered market technician Aksel Kibar tweeted.

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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.