Good morning. Here’s what’s happening:
Prices: Bitcoin steadies itself comfortably above $29K. One analyst says that investors are now looking for assets that retain their value.
Insights: Captain Kirk drops his first NFT collection and speaks boldly about crypto's potential in a Consensus 2023 discussion.
Bitcoin Holds Above $29K; Ether Rises Over $1.9K
Bitcoin set aside its concerns about renewed banking unrest and slowing U.S. economic growth to hold comfortably above $29,000 throughout U.S. trading hours on Thursday.
The largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization was recently trading at about $29,500, up roughly 2.2% over the past 24 hours. BTC topped $30,000 at one point, near its earlier week highs but still well off its April peak close to $31,000. Still, investors seem to have forgotten Wednesday's dramatic seesawing when the crypto dipped to around $27,200 amid a mass liquidation of short and long positions and separate unfounded rumors of bitcoin sales – by the U.S. government and of crypto from failed exchange Mt. Gox – before rebounding.
Since spiking approximately 40% in January, bitcoin and other cryptos have been stubbornly resistant to industry mishaps and wider macroeconomic uncertainty.
"The operative word here is resilience," said Michael Sonnenshein, CEO at crypto asset management company Grayscale Investments, told CoinDesk TV on the opening day of the Consensus 2023 conference in Austin, Texas. "Despite recent setbacks whether it be trust or certain businesses that were once integral to crypto that are no longer around, what we're seeing is resilience."
Sonnenshein added: "It's really encouraging time and again as this industry gets challenged, it demonstrates its strengths and comes out stronger."
Grayscale and CoinDesk share the same parent company, Digital Currency Group.
Ether was recently trading above $1,910, up about 0.8% from Wednesday, same time. Other major cryptocurrencies were recently up marginally little more than 36 hours after they had fallen well into the red. The CoinDesk Market Index, a measure of crypto markets performance, recently climbed 0.8%.
U.S. equity markets rose as surprisingly strong earnings from tech giants Microsoft, Google parent Alphabet and, most recently Meta Platforms, trumped concerns about unexpectedly sluggish 1.1% growth in first-quarter GDP and the struggles of regional bank First Republic. The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500, which has a strong technology component, climbed 2.4% and 2%, respectively.
Investors will now be focusing on next week's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) interest rate decision. The CME FedWatch Tool is currently showing an 87% probability of a third consecutive 25-basis point rate hike, although Edward Moya, senior market analyst for foreign exchange market maker Oanda, wrote in an email that the U.S. central bank is close to ending this type of monetary hawkishness. The Federal Reserve will be able to move forward with one, perhaps two, more rate hikes, "but then that should be it," Moya wrote. "Today’s economic data painted a picture of an economy that is slowing down, inflation is temporarily accelerating, and the labor market is softening."
Meanwhile, Bob Baxley, chief technology officer at decentralized finance (DeFi) platform Maverick Protocol, told CoinDesk's Jocelyn Yang that bitcoin’s performance in recent days reflects investors’ confidence in the crypto’s ability to hold value even during unsettling events.
“Bitcoin and other crypto assets have clearly been performing as the sort of safe haven that many had hoped this technology class would become,” Baxley told CoinDesk in an email.
William Shatner is speeding to Web3 at warp 9.
Infinite Connections comprises two collections: Cosmic Explorer, with 2,500 NFTs that feature a Shatner 3D avatar paired with artwork that explores scientific themes like quantum physics and sonic vibrations. Each one also includes a physical action figure of Captain James T. Kirk, the role for which Shatner is best known, each hand-signed by Shatner with a quote from the character.
The other collection is Timeless Voyager, which includes 1,000 NFTs of 2D artwork of future tech and the cosmos. There’s no action figure included, but “select” holders will have access to unspecified IRL opportunities.
"NFTs are slowly becoming more artistic," Shatner said backstage at the conference. "These, developed by Orange Comet, are among the most artistic that I've ever seen."
To create and release his collection, Shatner worked with Orange Comet, a Web3 entertainment company that recently raised $7 million in a funding round. The company has also worked with former National Basketball Association star Scottie Pippen, Sir Anthony Hopkins and the hit TV show "The Walking Dead."
Orange Comet CEO Dave Broome, who also spoke at the conference, revealed how the deal with Shatner occurred, and how Shatner's intellectual curiosity was a key component.
"This is a man at 92 who is still inquiring, and still has an ability to learn and embrace technology and understanding what it could do," Broome said. "What we're interested in doing is taking someone like iconic legendary William Shatner and all of the millions and millions of fans that he has, and bring them over into web3."
Read the full story here:
5:00 p.m. HKT/SGT(9:00 UTC) Eurozone Gross Domestic Product s.a. (YoY/Q1)
8:00 p.m. HKT/SGT(12:00 UTC) Germany Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (YoY/April)
"First Mover" was live in Austin, Texas, as Consensus 2023 continued with special guests, including SkyBridge Capital founder and managing partner Anthony Scaramucci, ShapeShift founder Erik Voorhees, Solidus Labs Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Kathy Kraninger, Polygon Labs Chief Policy Officer Rebecca Rettig, and EY Global Blockchain Leader Paul Brody.
Arbitrum Co-Founder Addresses DAO Vote Fiasco, Waves Off Allegations of ‘Decentralization Theater’: Offchain Labs CEO Steven Goldfeder took pains to differentiate his company, which built Arbitrum, from the newly created Arbitrum DAO that now controls it.
Bahamian Prime Minister Doesn’t Regret FTX: Philip Davis says the country is “open for business” for legitimate digital-assets companies.
Sustainable Bitcoin Protocol Piloting a Waste Gas Methodology With Miner Crusoe Energy: Crypto miners, like Crusoe, use gas that would otherwise be wasted and minimize methane emissions.
Bitcoin's 'Estimated Leverage Ratio' Hits Lowest Point Since December 2021: The estimated ratio indicates how much leverage is used by traders on average, according to CryptoQuant.
Ex-a16z Engineering and Security Heavyweights to Start Crypto Custody Firm, Source: A16z’s former chief technology officer, Riyaz Faizullabhoy, and former Chief Information Security Officer Nassim Eddequiouaq have the blessing and seed backing of the venture-capital giant, a person familiar with the plans said.
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