First Mover Asia: Bitcoin Lingers Below $30K, While XRP Continues Its Rally

PLUS: Last week's partial court victory for Ripple last week buoyed Coinbase's share price by clarifying a nettlesome regulatory issue. The company still needs to recapture trading volume but seems headed for better times, an analyst says.

AccessTimeIconJul 19, 2023 at 1:30 a.m. UTC
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Good morning. Here’s what’s happening:

Prices: Caleb & Brown's Jake Boyle explains why ether might be the more interesting play than bitcoin.

Insights: Coinbase's stock is up more than 23% since Ripple's partial court victory against the SEC last Thursday. In a CoinDesk TV interview, Needham analyst John Todaro discussed why he's upbeat about the company.


−10.5 0.8%
−311.4 1.0%
−18.6 1.0%
S&P 500
+32.2 0.7%
+28.8 1.5%
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)
1,254 −10.5 0.8%
Bitcoin (BTC)
$29,856 −311.4 1.0%
Ethereum (ETH)
$1,896 −18.6 1.0%
S&P 500
4,554.98 +32.2 0.7%
$1,981 +28.8 1.5%
Nikkei 225
32,493.89 +NaN NaN%
BTC/ETH prices per CoinDesk Indices, as of 7 a.m. ET (11 a.m. UTC)

Looking Beyond Bitcoin

As East Asia’s business day begins, bitcoin is down 1% to $29,856, while ether is also down 1% to $1,896. Although many parts of the altcoin market are beginning the day as a sea of red, XRP is continuing its upwards trajectory, rising 5% to hit $0.77.

The current Bitcoin movements indicate that the market is range-bound and stagnant, Jake Boyle, the Chief Commercial Officer at Australian crypto exchange Caleb & Brown said on CoinDesk TV.

While Bitcoin is experiencing some ups and downs around the $30,000 mark, Boyle argues that no major movements are expected until certain key events take place.

Stellar, Solana, and Optimism have shown explosive growth following last week's XRP news, each for different reasons.

"Stellar is regularly associated with XRP... Optimism provides something new, it hasn't experienced a dramatic bull market, and it hasn't come down 99% from its all-time high," Boyle said.

Right now, Boyle is interested in Ethereum as he’s observed a “noticeable increase in buying power against bitcoin.”

“Ethereum is prone to upgrades. It’s prone to community changes,” he said, explaining how it's more receptive to news announcements and updates while bitcoin stays relatively constant.

“Bitcoin is just bitcoin,” he said.

Biggest Gainers

Asset Ticker Returns DACS Sector
XRP XRP +3.9% Currency

Biggest Losers

Asset Ticker Returns DACS Sector
Gala GALA −6.9% Entertainment
Solana SOL −5.9% Smart Contract Platform
Polygon MATIC −5.7% Smart Contract Platform


Coinbase on the Rise?

Ripple's partial win last week in its long-running Federal court feud with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will likely benefit Coinbase by clarifying a nettlesome aspect of crypto regulation and enabling the exchange to re-list certain tokens, John Todaro, a senior research analyst at broker Needham & Company, told CoinDesk TV's "First Mover" program Tuesday.

Todaro noted that industry observers had feared a decision favoring the SEC would have required Coinbase to delist tokens, potentially costing it more than a third of its revenue.

"It does remove some those concerns that along the way, Coinbase might have to delist a lot of assets, which is going to be a big deterrent to their exchange business, which is where they get most of their revenue," Todaro said, adding that the ruling would also "give institutional investors more clarity."

"Now you can start digging into Coinbase fundamentals a bit more versus the stock only moving just on regulatory concerns or positive regulatory announcements."

Last Thursday, a U.S. district court ruled that Ripple’s XRP token should not be considered a security if sold via an exchange or through programmatic sales. In a research report the following day, Todaro and another analyst, Daniel Lehmann wrote that the decision could boost Coinbase shares by establishing that token sales through exchanges, at least in the case of XRP, did not violate securities laws.

"This outcome should moderately de-risk the regulatory pressure on the stock,” the analysts wrote.

The broker maintained a buy rating on Coinbase shares and raised its price target to $120 from $70. Coinbase shares closed at $104.59, down 0.9% but are up more than 23% since last Thursday.

Coinbase has faced its own regulatory issues, including an SEC lawsuit last month accusing the exchange of violating securities law, and it also still addressing the fall-out from a lengthy bear market that has spooked investors.

In the "First Mover" interview, Todaro predicted that Coinbase trading volumes for its second quarter (ending June 30) should be the poorest second quarter since the exchange started trading publicly in 2021. But he said July volumes "are okay," and that investors should already have priced in the company's Q2 issues. "Folks should start looking at what's coming up," including next year's bitcoin halving, "which is historically coinciding with higher crypto prices, ETF applications and a little bit more of a positive view on regulation," he said, and described the exchange as "the only kind of adult left in the room at the exchange level.

Important events.

CoinDesk TV

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

Bloomberg reported Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong met with House Democrats Wednesday morning. Needham & Company senior research analyst John Todaro shared his outlook on Coinbase (COIN)'s stock performance. Aku creator and former MLB player Micah Johnson discussed teaming up with Starbucks. Caleb & Brown director Jake Boyle shared his crypto markets analysis. And, John Oliver from PwC weighed in on how traditional hedge funds view investing in crypto assets.


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Edited by James Rubin.


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James Rubin

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

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