First Mover Americas: XRP Marches Forward

The latest price moves in crypto markets in context for March 31, 2023.

AccessTimeIconMar 31, 2023 at 12:14 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 31, 2023 at 5:19 p.m. UTC
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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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XRP has been the top-performing digital asset in March, gaining 39% as investors await court rulings in a case between the Securities Exchange Commission and Ripple Labs, which the U.S. argues issued the token (something Ripple disputes). The SEC sued Ripple in 2020, saying that it raised $1.3 billion in an allegedly unregistered securities offering. At issue is whether XRP is a security. Traders are anticipating a positive outcome for Ripple. Trading volume for XRP soared to billions of dollars on three of South Korea’s top exchanges on the back of the rally this month. Bitcoin, meanwhile, has gained 17% this month to put in on track for its best quarterly increase since 2021. Ether has risen 7.5% in March.

FTX founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted bribery and campaign-finance violations unveiled in two recent superseding indictments during a court appearance on Thursday. Prosecutors unveiled the bribery charge on Tuesday, alleging Bankman-Fried tried using over $40 million in crypto to bribe at least one Chinese government official to unlock funds in accounts tied to Alameda Research, another one of his companies. The latest indictment came on top of an indictment unveiled last month that added bank fraud charges and detailed the campaign-finance allegations. Bankman-Fried was arrested last year in the Bahamas and extradited to the U.S., where he was released on bond. He is set to go to trial in New York this fall.

U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Kraken said it will continue operating in Canada and complying with tougher rules set by the country’s financial regulator, the Canadian Securities Administrators. Kraken has filed a pre-registration application with the Ontario Securities Commission as it works toward becoming a registered “restricted dealer” across Canada, the company said in a press release on Thursday. Canada has tightened its rules governing crypto exchanges and set a deadline for crypto companies to commit to enhanced pre-registration requirements, causing some big firms to exit the country's market – OKX, Deribit and Blockchain.com among them – while others say they will remain. A restricted dealer in Canada is one that doesn’t fit into a category of other kinds of dealers, which are entities that trade securities for their own accounts or the accounts of others.

Chart of the Day

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  • The chart shows bitcoin's trading volume has diverged from the cryptocurrency's rising price over the past two weeks.
  • The so-called bearish volume divergence weakens the case for an unabated move higher.
  • "We are observing a divergence in price and volume, which usually isn't a good thing as it is signaling that there's exhaustion in the price action," Switzerland-based blockchain analytics firm Santiment said in a market update.

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UPDATE (March 31, 2023, 17:08 UTC): Clarifies that while the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission argues Ripple issued XRP, Ripple disputes that assertion.

Edited by Mark Nacinovich.

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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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