First Mover Asia: Bitcoin Holds Below $27K Amid Macro Uncertainties

ALSO: Market maker Flowdesk is looking to expand in the U.S., even as a number of major crypto firms, including Coinbase, have lost enthusiasm there because of ongoing regulatory uncertainties.

AccessTimeIconMay 25, 2023 at 12:45 a.m. UTC
Updated Apr 14, 2024 at 10:21 p.m. UTC

Good morning. Here’s what’s happening:

Prices: Bitcoin remains in the red as Asian markets open and investors consider U.S. debt ceiling woes and other uncertainties.

Insights: In an interview with CoinDesk, Market maker Flowdesk's CEO sees opportunity in the U.S.


−32.2 2.7%
−856.1 3.1%
−48.8 2.6%
S&P 500
−30.3 0.7%
−11.3 0.6%
Nikkei 225
−275.1 0.9%
BTC/ETH prices per CoinDesk Indices, as of 7 a.m. ET (11 a.m. UTC)
CoinDesk Market Index (CMI)
1,145 −32.2 2.7%
Bitcoin (BTC)
$26,362 −856.1 3.1%
Ethereum (ETH)
$1,805 −48.8 2.6%
S&P 500
4,115.24 −30.3 0.7%
$1,961 −11.3 0.6%
Nikkei 225
30,682.68 −275.1 0.9%
BTC/ETH prices per CoinDesk Indices, as of 7 a.m. ET (11 a.m. UTC)

A Down Day for Bitcoin

As the Asian trading day opened, investors continued to mull over recent macroeconomic uncertainties that have plagued digital assets for more than 12 days.

Bitcoin was recently trading at $26,362, down about 3.1% over the past 24 hours. The largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization had been hovering in a narrow range before dipping below its recent $26,500 support early Wednesday. Markets have been roiled by an ongoing debt ceiling stalemate and inflationary and crypto regulatory concerns. Federal Open Market Committee minutes showing a difference of opinion among U.S. central bankers about further rate hikes did little if anything, to soothe markets – crypto or otherwise.

"Bitcoin remains rangebound and should continue to consolidate near the lower boundaries of its downward sloping trading range, with the $25,000 level providing massive support," Edward Moya, senior market analyst for foreign exchange market maker Oanda, wrote in an email.

Ether was recently changing hands at about $1,800, down 2.8% from Tuesday at the same time. Other major cryptos were mostly in the red, with popular memecoins DOGE and SHIB recently falling about 3% and 4%, respectively. The CoinDesk Market Index, a measure of cypto markets performance, was down 3%.

Moya wrote that "bitcoin is under pressure as the risk of a U.S. default grows," and the U.S. central bank faces the prospect of continuing its monetary tightening.

"Bitcoin is going to be very sensitive to surging Treasury yields as too many crypto/blockchain companies will struggle with financing," he wrote. "It is hard enough to find a bank that will deal in cryptos, let alone take out loans for long-term projects."

Biggest Gainers

There are no gainers in CoinDesk 20 today.

Biggest Losers

Asset Ticker Returns DACS Sector
Terra LUNA −5.8% Smart Contract Platform
Decentraland MANA −4.8% Entertainment
Shiba Inu SHIB −4.5% Currency


Market Maker Flowdesk Aims for U.S. Expansion

It’s tough to find someone that’s bullish on the U.S. crypto market. Some of the most recognizable names in the industry are bearish, citing a lack of regulatory clarity, like Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong.

Coinbase has threatened to move offshore if regulatory clarity isn’t established soon. And its sentiment is shared by many – plenty of crypto venture capitalists prefer to invest in places like Singapore.

But Guilhem Chaumont, CEO of market maker and liquidity provider Flowdesk, sees things differently.

In an interview with CoinDesk, Chaumont says he views the U.S. as a central hub for the crypto market and believes his company can thrive there due to its commitment to compliance and regulatory requirements – as onerous and unclear as they might be – from day one.

Chaumont told CoinDesk that his company had just opened a New York office, which it wants to expand.

The sophistication and size of the U.S. capital markets is a worthwhile trade-off for having to deal with its regulatory regime, he argues.

He said that there’s an inevitable convergence of crypto and traditional finance (TradFi) regulations, which he views positively. He also notes the potential for a talent bridge between the sectors.

"Crypto is not going to happen without regulation. And if that means that regulation needs to be TradFi levels, we are on this side, as we prefer to have this than having no regulation basically," he said.

Hong Kong, for example, heavily emphasized the TradFi experience when it recently released the first draft of its crypto licensure framework.

“The convergence of these two regulatory frameworks is a positive sign for us. Because it will allow for a massive bridge of talent to come into crypto," Chaumont said.

In an ideal world, Chaumont says, there would be purpose-built regulation for crypto, but sometimes a compromise is necessary. After all, the future of crypto trading involves more and more regulated assets.

“There was a hope, which I shared, that we could reinvent everything from scratch and take the best of both worlds to devise new regulation that is simpler than that of TradFi and lacks its costly complexity,” he said. “What we're seeing is that this hope is slowly fading away, and crypto regulation is basically converging with TradFi.”

Which, for Flowdesk, isn’t a bad thing.

Important events.

7:30 a.m. HKT/SGT(23:30 UTC) Tokyo Consumer Price Index (YoY/May)

CoinDesk TV

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

Following scrutiny from the crypto community, hardware wallet provider Ledger said it will delay releasing a key recovery feature. Ledger CEO and Chairman Pascal Gauthier joined "First Mover" to discuss why the firm won’t introduce the new feature before releasing the code for it. Separately, Prometheum Inc. founder and co-CEO Aaron Kaplan discussed the SEC-friendly crypto path that the firm has found with the U.S. regulator. And, "The Crypto Trader" author Glen Goodman shared his markets analysis, as bitcoin (BTC) is on track to post its first losing month of 2023.


Crypto Security Firm Unciphered Claims Ability to Physically Hack Trezor T Wallet: Unciphered, a company of cybersecurity professionals who recover lost cryptocurrency, says it found a way to physically hack into the Trezor T hardware wallet. Trezor says it acknowledged a similar-sounding attack vector a few years ago.

Fantom Foundation Removes $2.4M MULTI from SushiSwap Liquidity Pool: Multichain’s current upgrade is taking longer than expected, causing delays in their transactions.

0x Releases Latest Version of DEX Aggregator Matcha: The newest iteration is focused on enhancing the trading experience for users.

Ava Labs Launches 'No-Code' Web3 Launchpad AvaCloud: Ava Labs says that the tool will allow companies to bring Web3 products to market faster, cheaper and with lower risk.

Non-Profit Organization Energy Web Starts Sustainability Registry for Bitcoin Miners: Miners will be scored based on their use of clean energy and grid impact.

Edited by James Rubin.


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James Rubin

James Rubin was CoinDesk's U.S. news editor based on the West Coast.