Good morning. Here’s what’s happening:
Prices: Bitcoin was holding steady about about $30.5K – unmoved by upbeat crypto comments by BlackRock CEO Larry Fink's
Insights: Pita Limjaroenrat, a candidate to become Thailand's next prime minister, owns crypto. What does his disclosure say about politicians and crypto?
Bitcoin Holds Steady Through Good and Bad
The end of a long, U.S. holiday weekend, the release of June Federal Reserve minutes offering some detail on the central bank's current thinking about monetary policy and crypto-favorable comments by BlackRock CEO Larry Fink left bitcoin largely unstirred from its current resting place well above $30,000.
The largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization was recently trading at about $30,465, down slightly more than a percentage point over the past 24 hours. After surging above $31,000 in mid-June following multiple spot bitcoin ETF filings, BTC has remained mostly impervious to potential price catalysts, even as investor sentiment has brightened.
In an email to CoinDesk, Tim Frost, the CEO of digital wealth platform Yield App, wrote that the crypto market was likely transitioning from the 18-month bear market to more promising times. Frost noted parallels in the crypto 2019 crypto market when bitcoin stalled after emerging from a crypto winter before spiking again the following year.
"We could be looking at that same period of stability around about now. Indeed, bitcoin has remained relatively stable over the past three months ranging between $28,000 and its current level of just below $31,000," Frost wrote. "If we were to see a few more months of this, this would set the stage for a much more optimistic period in terms of price."
Frost added that macroeconomic signals and crypto industry trends were pointing positively, including recent declines in inflation, the unveiling of a quantitative easing program in China, increased regulatory clarity in Singapore, Korea and Thailand to prevent the type of asset co-mingling that led to the implosion of disgraced exchange giant FTX and subsequent contagion. He also noted that the SEC was allowing bankrupt crypto lending platform Celsius to sell altcoins for bitcoin and ether that it can then distribute to creditors and other clients.
"We really are seeing a clearing of the decks in cryptocurrency," Frost wrote, "and regulation is creating a landscape that will make it easier for everybody to operate. This, combined with some more stable and promising price signals, means that now may be a very good time to think long term.”
Ether was recently changing hands at $1,910, off 1.5% from Tuesday, same time. Other major cryptos spent much of the day in the red with ADA, the token of smart contracts platform Cardano, declining 3%. Litecoin, and popular meme coins DOGE and SHIB all recently dropped more than 2%. STORJ, the native crypto of the Storj cloud storage platform, rose more than 40% earlier in the day, but relinquished its gains to trade down 20% from a day ago.
The CoinDesk Market Index, a measure of crypto markets' overall performance, was recently down 1.3%.
U.S. stocks edged down with the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 falling 0.3% and 0.2%, despite Fed minutes showing some officials favoring a June rate hike. Central bankers have been wrestling with how to continue addressing annual inflation, which remains more than double their 2% goal without casting the U.S. economy into recession. The bank seemed to forge a compromise at its last meeting by halting its year-long diet of rate hikes while indicating in subsequent comments that it would pass two more rate hikes in 2023. The U.S. Labor Department will announce its next Consumer Price index on July 12, giving economic observers their next key read on price trends.
In recent months, equity and crypto prices have increasingly decoupled, a trend underscored by recent data from derivatives analytics firm Block Scholes.
Late Wednesday, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink seemed to buoy crypto markets' prospects, telling Fox Business in an interview that crypto "could revolutionize finance." Last month, BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, applied for a spot bitcoin ETF, spurring a mini-run of filings and re-filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) by other prominent, financial services firms. The SEC has yet to approve a spot BTC ETF.
“We believe that if we can create more tokenization of assets and securities – that’s what bitcoin is – it could revolutionize finance,” he said, adding: “Instead of investing in gold as a hedge against inflation, a hedge against the onerous problems of any one country, or the devaluation of your currency whatever country you’re in – let’s be clear, bitcoin is an international asset, it’s not based on any one currency and so it can represent an asset that people can play as an alternative.”
Bitcoin traded sideways in the subsequent hours.
Thai PM Hopeful Owns Cryptocurrency. Why Does It Matter?
Pita Limjaroenrat, the leader of Thailand’s Move Forward Party, and contender for Prime Minister, holds crypto, according to disclosures filed.
Now to be sure, he doesn’t own a ton of crypto and has way more traditional finance assets.
The cumulative thousands of dollars worth of crypto, split between bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH), BNB, and Cardano (ADA) is only a fraction of his total net worth of 64,283,544 THB ($1.84 million), and he owns significantly more land and equities.
All this is interesting because now Pita joins the ranks of politicians holding crypto. In the United States, a total of eight members of Congress hold crypto, or shares in Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust, according to Bitcoinpoliticians.org, which tracks holdings based on financial disclosures. In Korea, one elected representative was referred to their parliamentary ethics committee after he disclosed that he owns a “significant amount of coins”, with a large holding consisting of GameFi platform WeMIX tokens.
To put into perspective how mainstream crypto is in Thailand, the Move Forward Party wasn’t “the” crypto party in the country’s recent elections. That honor goes to the Pheu Thai party, one of the other parties to form a governing coalition. The Pheu Thai party promised an airdrop of 10,000 THB (around $300) to every Thai citizen, although the Move Forward Party did make promises about integrating blockchain into government affairs to increase transparency.
Pita isn’t Prime Minister quite yet. Thai political procedure requires the House of Representatives and Senate to vote on who will be prime minister, and that could be an uphill battle.
But there is a chance that an elected leader of a major country in Asia will also be a bitcoin hodler. Isn’t that a sign of the times?
8:15 p.m. HKT/SGT(12:15 p.m. UTC): ADP Employment Change Report (June)
8:30 p.m. HKT/SGT(12:30 p.m. UTC): U.S. Continuing Jobless Claims (June 23)
10 p.m. HKT/SGT(2 p.m. UTC): JOLTS Jobs Openings (May)
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