Bitcoin Hovers Over $30.3K Despite Renewed Inflation Worries

In comments Thursday at a Madrid event on financial stability, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that “it will take time for the full effects of monetary restraint to be realized.”

AccessTimeIconJun 29, 2023 at 8:44 p.m. UTC
Updated Jun 29, 2023 at 9:31 p.m. UTC

Jobless claims dipped, while productivity rose – both unexpectedly.

Digital assets responded with a nothing-to-see-here shrug, mostly rising a little from where they stood 24 hours ago.

Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, was recently trading at $30,374, a 1% gain from Wednesday, same time. BTC has been on a roller coaster ride the past couple of days, albeit the kiddie version, rising above $31,000 briefly on Tuesday after a news story that Fidelity Investments would join BlackRock in the queue of financial services giants applying for spot bitcoin ETFs, but sinking below $30,000 on Wednesday as investors paused to consider the timing of an SEC approval and inflationary pressures.

On Thursday, Fidelity refiled paperwork for its Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust, a spot bitcoin ETF.

“Yes, interest rates in the United States might get hiked again, a recession could be nigh both in America and across Europe,” Nick Rose Ntertsas, CEO and co-founder of NFT platform Ethernity, wrote in an email to CoinDesk. “But we’re also seeing central bank interventions across a number of major economies that, in effect, have served as a driver of liquidity. Risk assets in particular respond well to these liquidity plays, and Bitcoin and digital assets are no different.”

Ntertsas added: “Looking ahead, I suspect we have another half year or so of volatility before we see a major upwards surge like that experienced in late 2020 and early 2021. Then the Bitcoin halving will kick in, meaning we’re off to the races.”

Ether, the second largest crypto in market value, was recently changing hands at $1,848, also up 1% from Wednesday, same time. Other major cryptos were trading in lightly green-tinted territory, although SOL, the token of the Solano smart contracts blockchain, recently spiked more than 10%.

As CoinDesk reported Thursday, crypto traders on the Solana blockchain have been following the example of Ethereum’s “Liquid staking token” (LST) craze by leveraging their SOL token derivatives in pursuit of lofty yields through an obtuse, re-leveraging process. The trend's emergence follows Drift Protocol’s Tuesday release of a new service, known as “Super staking,” which packages the entire cycle into a one-click operation.

The CoinDesk Market Index, a measure of cryptos’ performance, was trading up 1.7%.

Equity markets were mixed with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and S&P 500 rising 0.6% and 0.2%, respectively, on the upbeat U.S. economic data. First-quarter, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the first quarter was revised upward to 2%, surpassing expectations for 1.4% growth. And the Labor Department announced that jobless claims for the week ending June 24 fell by 26,000 to 239,000, the largest decline since October 2021 and below expectations of 265,000.

Both figures countered hopes that the economy was cooling and that inflation would continue to wane, enabling central banks to suspend interest rate hikes, which have weighed heavily on asset markets.

At the Banco de Espana Fourth Conference on Financial Stability, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, noted central bank uncertainty about the appropriate inflationary medicine in the months ahead, although he has suggested in recent weeks that the Fed would raise rates in upcoming months.

“Nonetheless, inflation pressures continue to run high, and the process of getting inflation back down to 2 percent has a long way to go,” Powell said, adding: “We see the effects of our policy tightening on demand in the most interest rate–sensitive sectors of the economy, particularly housing and investment. It will take time, however, for the full effects of monetary restraint to be realized, especially on inflation.”

In an email to CoinDesk earlier this week, Stephane Ouellette, CEO of Toronto-based crypto platform, wrote that the BlackRock and other ETF applications had buoyed markets. “In our view, the largest incremental benefit for the industry from a US-based spot ETF is the continued entry of some of the world's most respected tradfi firms into the space, in spite of the bear market and horrendous 18 months of headlines.” Ouellette wrote.

Ouelette added: “Retail has even more methods of getting passive exposure to BTC. While some US-domiciled retail investors may now be able to buy the US ETF through their basic brokerage accounts, we view the ongoing acceptance of this asset class by firms like Blackrock and Fidelity as the real story.

Edited by James Rubin.


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James Rubin

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