First Mover Asia: Bitcoin Maintains $30K as Prospective Issuers Refile ETF Applications

PLUS: Japan is a regulatory success story when it comes to digital assets and Web3. But walking around the recent IVS Crypto Conference in Kyoto, one can’t help but feel that something is amiss.

AccessTimeIconJul 3, 2023 at 1:27 a.m. UTC
Updated Apr 14, 2024 at 10:28 p.m. UTC
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Good morning. Here’s what’s happening:

Prices: Bitcoin continues to show upside potential as issuers work to refile their bitcoin ETF applications.

Insights: Is Japan racing toward the future of crypto? Or stuck a few years in the past?


+5.8 0.5%
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S&P 500
+53.9 1.2%
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Nikkei 225
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BTC/ETH prices per CoinDesk Indices, as of 7 a.m. ET (11 a.m. UTC)
CoinDesk Market Index (CMI)
1,258 +5.8 0.5%
Bitcoin (BTC)
$30,654 +71.4 0.2%
Ethereum (ETH)
$1,938 +15.3 0.8%
S&P 500
4,450.38 +53.9 1.2%
$1,927 +17.4 0.9%
Nikkei 225
33,189.04 −45.1 0.1%
BTC/ETH prices per CoinDesk Indices, as of 7 a.m. ET (11 a.m. UTC)

SEC Says ETF Applications Aren't Good Enough, But Bitcoin Hasn't Given up Hope

As North America celebrates a long weekend, markets are quiet, but both bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) are maintaining price stability.

Bitcoin is opening the trading week in Asia at $30,654, according to CoinDesk data, while ether is at $1,938. CoinDesk Indices Bitcoin Trend Indicator is showing that the world’s largest digital asset is going through a “significant uptrend” period.

Crypto had a rough end to last week, as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said that current bitcoin ETF filings were “inadequate” sending prices down. Some of the issuers have re-filed, naming Coinbase as their market surveillance partner.

BitBull Capital CEO Joe DiPasquale sees bitcoin potentially testing a support zone between $27K-$29K, and he says that such price action is likely to result in deeper declines in altcoins.

“Last week, we highlighted how Bitcoin staying above $30K would be positive for the market. This week we saw some of that sentiment shift toward alts, as ETH showed signs of wanting to test $2K, and other altcoins also rallied,” he told CoinDesk in a note. “Market participants will do well to remain cautious of sustained upside momentum.”

Despite the week opening with a holiday, this week will see some major economic events, with the June FOMC minutes being published on Wednesday – which will give more insight into how the Fed will next move on interest rates – JOLTs Job openings on Thursday, and new unemployment numbers on Friday.

Traders will no doubt be balancing all of that against news of the SEC’s next steps on the bitcoin ETFs.

Biggest Gainers

Asset Ticker Returns DACS Sector
Polkadot DOT +4.1% Smart Contract Platform
Solana SOL +2.7% Smart Contract Platform
XRP XRP +2.2% Currency

Biggest Losers

Asset Ticker Returns DACS Sector
Decentraland MANA −2.3% Entertainment
Gala GALA −1.2% Entertainment
Terra LUNA −0.8% Smart Contract Platform


Is Japan in the Crypto Future? Or a Few Years in the Past?

Explore the Japanese internet for a while, and you’ll find that it looks a bit ancient.

You can do many more things online in Japan than you could in the West, but there are a few notable exceptions, and overall the country’s Web2 space feels a decade out of date. Think about how the Web looked like when the iPhone 4 came out.

“The government really felt that we totally missed Web2...So now they see Web3 as something Japan could potentially embrace and create the new generation of Japanese tech companies and tech visionaries in this space," said Akio Tanaka, a founding partner of IVC, which recently hosted its IVS Crypto and Web Conference in Kyoto.

“There are no Web2 giants from Japan,” he continued.

Much has been written about Japan’s regulatory successes in these early days of Web3. Unlike the U.S., which has been openly hostile to the industry, Japan is seemingly embracing it and has worked to regulate it – regulations that were born in blood after the collapse of Mt. Gox in 2013. And, in the end, Japan was the safest place to be an FTX customer.

But what does the celebration of Web3 look like in Japan?

A lot like it did at the height of the bull market in the West.

NFTs and GameFi are big, and curiously, so is enterprise blockchain. Some of Japan’s largest companies are announcing that they have a Web3 strategy, and lots of money is being thrown around, but these strategies are still ambiguous (think: “carbon credit trading” or “healthcare records”) and on the drawing boards.

Tanaka emphasizes that in Japan, this will all be different.

Japanese GameFi developers, for instance, “want to serve gamers, not crypto speculators,” he said.

“They will probably not try to create the same kind of speculative move that you may have seen outside of Japan, because they realize that can actually backfire and negatively impact their core game fans,” he continued.

Sega knows this well, as when it first mentioned it was entering the NFT space. It was hit with a strong backlash from fans, and recalibrated its stance, saying that if its venture into Web3 were “perceived as simple money-making…it would make a decision not to proceed.”

Same with Square Enix. While the stock market liked its decision to embrace NFTs, starting with characters from Final Fantasy 7 – considered to be the best iteration of its long-running franchise – fans hated the idea.

In the end, Square Enix’s NFTs weren’t really something for speculation, as the on-chain assets are “frozen” to the wallet that bought them.

One help can’t think that this embrace of Web 3 might be a bit more conservative than the bulls say it is, once you peel away the layers.

Despite all the talk of GameFi and NFTs at the show, Japan’s best-known IP is staying well away from it, aside from Square’s experiment. Nintendo was looking to hire an NFT and metaverse expert in March, but nothing has materialized (Tanaka says that if Nintendo does anything, it would be the last to do it).

Even the Japanese Prime Minister’s speech which opened the conference, didn’t mention Web3 by name, only generic platitudes about the importance of startups to economic growth and his government’s plans to make Japan a friendly market for these startups.

But there is something there, even if it's not what the evangelists say it is.

As the interview with Tanaka wound to a close, the next group, a corporate delegation from Sega, arrived early.

Sega, an investor in IVC, has recently been in the news dismissing rumors that it plans to be acquired. A spokesperson for IVC declined to comment as to what the meeting was about, but it probably involved crypto.

Important events.

8:30 a.m. HKT/SGT(12:30 a.m. UTC): Jibun Bank Manufacturing PMI (June)

9:45 a.m. HKT/SGT(1:45 a.m. UTC): Caixin Manufacturing PMI (June)

CoinDesk TV

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

Asset management giant Fidelity has refiled paperwork for its Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust, a spot bitcoin ETF. Hashnote CEO Leo Mizuhara shared his crypto markets analysis. 507 Capital Managing Partner Thomas Braziel weighed in on the latest FTX bankruptcy developments. And, Iomob CEO Boyd Cohen discussed the methodology behind CoinDesk's Crypto Hubs list for 2023.


Harry Styles Concert App Takes Fans in More Than One Direction With Blockchain Rewards: At a recent concert, 5,000 of the pop star’s fans opened digital wallets through the EVNTZ app, paving the way for future blockchain-based rewards.

Celsius to Potentially Sell More Than $170M in ADA, MATIC, SOL and Altcoins for BTC, ETH: Court documents from last November give a rough picture of the lender’s altcoin holdings.

Crypto Hubs 2023: Where to Live Freely and Work Smart: With shifting regulatory regimes worldwide, crypto is on the move to find the best locales to put down roots, get licensed, register or just be. Crypto Hubs 2023, our ranking of the top 15 global crypto hubs, is a good place to start.

Edited by James Rubin.


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