First Mover Asia: Bitcoin Retreats, Quickly Regains $30K Perch as Investors Mull ETF Timing, Inflation

ALSO: Fast-paced, entrepreneurial Seoul ranked fourth globally in CoinDesk's crypto hub series. Korea's digital asset friendly, regulatory environment and a vibrant retail community have helped enabled the industry's rising prominence in the city.

AccessTimeIconJun 29, 2023 at 12:32 a.m. UTC
Updated Jun 29, 2023 at 2:59 p.m. UTC
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Good morning. Here’s what’s happening:

Prices: Bitcoin dips regains $30K after dipping Wednesday afternoon.

Insights: Seoul's grassroots embrace of crypto and a favorable regulatory environment have helped the city become one of the world's leading blockchain hubs.

Prices

1,215
−26.9 2.2%
$30,103
−424.4 1.4%
$1,830
−45.4 2.4%
S&P 500
4,376.86
−1.6 0.0%
Gold
$1,916
+2.4 0.1%
Nikkei 225
33,193.99
+655.7 2.0%
BTC/ETH prices per CoinDesk Indices, as of 7 a.m. ET (11 a.m. UTC)
CoinDesk Market Index (CMI)
1,215 −26.9 2.2%
Bitcoin (BTC)
$30,103 −424.4 1.4%
Ethereum (ETH)
$1,830 −45.4 2.4%
S&P 500
4,376.86 −1.6 0.0%
Gold
$1,916 +2.4 0.1%
Nikkei 225
33,193.99 +655.7 2.0%
BTC/ETH prices per CoinDesk Indices, as of 7 a.m. ET (11 a.m. UTC)

Bitcoin Rebounds as Investors Remain Upbeat

Bitcoin took a brief turn to the bad, old days below $30,000 early afternoon Wednesday (ET) before righting itself to return to its loftier perch.

The largest cryptocurrency was recently trading at about $30,100, down 2.2% over the past 24 hours. After rising to its highest level in a year last week – over $31,300 – following spot bitcoin ETF filings by BlackRock and two other large financial services firms, bitcoin has flattened as investors considered the potential timing of an SEC decision of the ETF applications and continued, inflationary pressure that has weighed on asset markets.

Still, Mark Connors, head of research for Canadian digital asset manager 3iQ, wrote in a message to CoinDesk that bitcoin has risen 11% for the month, breaking from its more sluggish performance of the last two months amid the more upbeat news.

"June has been the biggest month since November for digital assets as it relates to news flow," Connors wrote. "Not unusual to see the market take a breather."

Bitcoin Dominance

Connors also noted that bitcoin dominance has increased to a 26-month high. "It has only grown during this recent market pullback as it outpaces ETH and other Alt coins," he wrote, attributing the drop to more technical factors than a specific cause.

Bitcoin sentiment has turned bullish over the past week with the CoinDesk Bitcoin Indicator climbing into "significant upturn" territory after languishing in downturn areas for weeks. Earlier this week, European digital asset manager CoinShares reported the largest single weekly inflows in a year - mostly dominated by bitcoin-related products - after nine consecutive weeks of outflows

"Look at Coinbase, up today and up 21% over the past 5 days," Connors wrote. "If there were structural reasons for this move lower, COIN would have been hit as well."

Coinbase closed up more than 1% on Wednesday.

Investors will be eyeing bitcoin’s price as the market approaches Friday’s expiry of bitcoin options contracts could fuel a price increase, or send it spiraling in the immediate aftermath.

Ether was changing hands at $1,830, off 2.4% from Tuesday, same time. Other major cryptos were largely in the red with ADA and MATIC, the tokens of smart contracts platforms Cardano and Polygon each recently tumbling more than 6%. The CoinDesk Market Index, a measure of cypto markets performance, was recently down 2.3%.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite continued its recent rally, inching up 0.2%, fueled partly by a record jump in tech device manufacturer Apple's share price to nearly $190 and more than 2% increase of Tesla a few days before the electric car maker announces Q2 vehicle deliveries. The S&P 500 was roughly flat and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) edged down. The yield on U.S. 10-year Treasurys and safe haven asset gold ticked down.

Binance, Coinbase Suits "Not Forgotten"

In an email, Craig Erlam, senior market analyst for foreign exchange market maker Oanda, struck a wary note about cryptos' path forward.

"The SEC lawsuits against Binance and Coinbase have not been forgotten, but they've certainly drifted into the background and been overtaken by far more promising news flow," Erlam wrote. "It would appear the cryptocurrency has good momentum once more and the community may well be wondering if this could be the kind of development that sees enthusiasm for cryptos surge again."

He added: "It's obviously been a fantastic year for bitcoin so far" but a spring sell-off "was another reminder that it doesn't come without major setbacks."

Biggest Gainers

There are no gainers in CoinDesk 20 today.

Biggest Losers

Asset Ticker Returns DACS Sector
Gala GALA −7.9% Entertainment
Terra LUNA −7.5% Smart Contract Platform
Decentraland MANA −6.3% Entertainment

Insights

Seoul: Asia’s Retail Crypto Capital Moves on After Do Kwon

The capital city of Seoul is in the top tier for regulatory structure and scored high for ease of doing business and digital infrastructure – all criteria in which the government has a strong influence. Its grassroots’ embrace of crypto puts the country within the top 15% of the world in the crypto adoption index. But as the most populous hub in our final 15, it was hurt by a low opportunities score, which is a measurement of per-capita crypto jobs, companies and events. The sparse postings could be due to a cultural or language barrier, however, as we measured activity on Linkedin, Eventbrite and Meetup.com.

For more on the criteria and how we weighted them, see: How We Ranked CoinDesk’s Crypto Hubs 2023: Our Methodology.

Data breakdown for Seoul in Crypto Hubs 2023 ranking
(Ian Suarez/CoinDesk)

Earlier this year XRP was soaring, and at first it wasn’t entirely clear why. It later became evident that this was just another example of how Korean retail investors have the power to move global markets. At the time UpBit, Korea’s biggest exchange, led global XRP trading volumes with more than $790 million in tokens traded over 24 hours, overtaking volumes on Binance, the largest exchange in the world.

This is just one instance. Korean retail traders are known for pushing up other coins as well – and no, that’s not just smaller altcoins. The Korean won is consistently in the top three national currencies traded against Bitcoin, according to Coinhills. More generally, awareness of and interest in crypto is relatively high. Korea’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) reported in September that there were nearly seven million registered crypto users in Korea. That’s roughly 14% of the total population.

It’s not surprising that such a powerful retail market would help vault Seoul onto a list of global crypto hubs. But Seoul is appealing in plenty of other ways: It’s a fast-paced and entrepreneurial city in an often fast-paced and entrepreneurial region. It’s no secret that Asia’s prominence in crypto is on the rise, especially after regulatory crackdowns in the United States.

Members of South Korea’s crypto community explained Seoul’s appeal in a few ways. One was an openness to experimentation. Another was Korea’s prowess in gaming. A third was simply its community of “builders.”

- Emily Parker

Read the full story here:


Important events.

Blockchance 23 (Hamburg, Germany)

2:30 p.m. HKT/SGT(6:30 a.m. UTC): Fed Chair Jerome Powell speech

1 p.m. HKT/SGT(5 a.m. UTC): Japan Consumer Confidence

CoinDesk TV

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

The market remains optimistic about the future of a spot bitcoin ETF in the U.S., as bitcoin (BTC) maintains the key $30,000 level. Quinn Thompson, Maple head of growth and capital markets, shared his crypto markets analysis. Plus, Hut 8 CEO Jaime Leverton joined "First Mover" after the North American digital asset miner secured up to $50 million in loans from Coinbase Credit to fund its operations. And, RockX founder and CEO Zhuling Chen explained why Singapore nabbed second place in CoinDesk's Crypto Hub 2023 rankings.

Headlines

CoinDesk Indices Smart Contract Platform Highlights the Difference Between Bitcoin and Ether Performance: Stablecoin supplies on smart contract platforms continue to trend downward, but the smart contract index has maintained a solid performance.

Bitcoin Drops Below $30K as Altcoins Tumble; BTC Dominance Reaches 26-Month High: Bitcoin's market cap composes 52% of the total crypto market, its highest level since April 2021.

Ex-FTX Compliance Officer Sued for Allegedly Paying Off Would-Be Whistleblowers: FTX's lawyers allege Daniel Friedberg allowed its executives' criminal activities to fly under the radar for years.

Mastercard is Piloting Tokenized Bank Deposits in New UK Testbed: The company is launching what it calls a Multi-Token Network (MTN), which will begin by testing tokenized bank deposits and move onto experiments using stablecoins and CBDCs.

Ethereum’s Layer 2 Teams Want You to Clone Their Code: By making their code open source and easy to replicate, projects including Arbitrum, Optimism and zkSync are making it easier for copycat blockchains to steal away their users – in pursuit of broader ecosystems of related networks.

Edited by James Rubin.





Disclosure

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk offers all employees above a certain salary threshold, including journalists, stock options in Bullish Group as part of their compensation.

James Rubin

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


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