First Mover Asia: Asia Stocks Open Soft, Bitcoin Jumps Past $30K on MicroStrategy Filing and Despite Fitch Treasury Downgrade

PLUS: Bitcoin dominance sagged in July, absent a compelling BTC catalyst, and as altcoins seemed to benefit from a partial Ripple court victory.

AccessTimeIconAug 2, 2023 at 2:07 a.m. UTC
Updated Apr 14, 2024 at 10:20 p.m. UTC

Good morning. Here’s what’s happening:

Prices: Bitcoin is shrugging off a downgrade of U.S. Government debt by Fitch.

Insights: How quickly times change. Bitcoin dominance sagged in July after rising in June. CoinDesk CDI Head of Research Todd Growth explained why.


+17.3 1.4%
+651.6 2.2%
+14.8 0.8%
S&P 500 daily close
−12.2 0.3%
+14.8 0.8%
Treasury Yield 10 Years
BTC/ETH prices per CoinDesk Indices; gold is COMEX spot price. Prices as of about 4 p.m. ET
CoinDesk Market Index (CMI)
1,287.89 +17.3 1.4%
Bitcoin (BTC)
$29,927 +651.6 2.2%
Ethereum (ETH)
$1,874 +14.8 0.8%
S&P 500 daily close
4,576.73 −12.2 0.3%
$1,985 +14.8 0.8%
Treasury Yield 10 Years
4.05% 0.1
BTC/ETH prices per CoinDesk Indices; gold is COMEX spot price. Prices as of about 4 p.m. ET

Bitcoin Bounds Over $30K After Debt Downgrade, MicroStrategy Filing

Both bitcoin and ether are beginning the Asia trading day in the green, with the world’s largest digital asset up 2.2% and ether up 0.8% as markets in the East open in the red after Fitch downgraded the U.S’. long-term ratings to AA+ from AAA.

The CoinDesk Market Index (CMI) is up 1.43% to 1,286.

This downgrade comes at a time when companies are reporting relatively positive earnings, which is why the market doesn’t seem to be as panicked as it was in 2011 when S&P downgraded U.S. debt.

In the middle of Q2 2023 earnings season, the S&P 500 has seen a greater proportion of companies reporting positive earnings surprises, according to Factset. This is in contrast to 2011, where stocks generally performed poorly, and news of the then-downgrade caused a panic.

Back in 2011, bitcoin wasn’t really a mature asset class, and there wasn’t at the same trading volume making the quality of correlation to macroeconomic events poor.

But how did it perform when the downgrade happened?

Mixed. On August 6, 2011, it was down 33% to $6.6, but the next day it jumped by 20% to $7.9. Although, between the two days, there was only $200,000 in trading volume.

Biggest Gainers

Asset Ticker Returns DACS Sector
Gala GALA +14.1% Entertainment
XRP XRP +10.5% Currency
Terra LUNA +7.0% Smart Contract Platform

Biggest Losers

Asset Ticker Returns DACS Sector
Stellar XLM −14.6% Smart Contract Platform
Dogecoin DOGE −12.5% Currency
Chainlink LINK −9.1% Computing


A July Decline in Bitcoin Dominance

Bitcoin dominance waned in July after gaining ground the previous month, CoinDesk Indices Head of Research Todd Groth told "First Mover" TV hosts on Tuesday.

Groth tied the trend reversal to an absence of the sort of catalysts that drove bitcoin's price dramatically higher in June, and Ripple's partial win last month in an ongoing court case with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that buoyed altcoin investors. The decision in U.S. federal court found that the sale of Ripple’s XRP tokens on exchanges and through algorithms did not constitute investment contracts and raised hopes that the SEC could not deem other tokens as securities.

"What it basically did was allowed for a lot of the altcoins to catch up with where bitcoin was, and even Etherium relative to the small cap universe," Groth said.

In the days following the ruling, Coinbase, Kraken and other exchanges re-listed or announced plans to reopen trading of XRP and trading of the token mushroomed. Meanwhile, bitcoin slogged steadily downward to finish July off at 5%, the second monthly decline in an otherwise upbeat year. The BTC dominance rate in July sank below 49% in July after rising over 52% near the end of June. The CoinDesk Market Index was off only about 1%.

"That was really driven by the computing sector, DeFi and digitalization, which have small tokens relative to currency and smart contract platforms where bitcoin and Etherium reside," Groth said.

Important events.

8:15 p.m. HKT/SGT(12:15 UTC) United States ADP Employment Change (July)

7:00 a.m. HKT/SGT(23:00 UTC) Australia S&P Global Composite PMI (July)

7:50 a.m. HKT/SGT(23:50 UTC) Japan Foreign Bond Investment

CoinDesk TV

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

The exploit at DeFi giant Curve Finance has driven down the price of its CRV token, putting a $168 million stash of founder Michael Egorov's money at risk of being liquidated. BlockSec co-founder Yajin "Andy" Zhou joined the conversation. Todd Groth, CFA, CoinDesk Indices head of research, discussed how the crypto markets performed in July. And, Koray Caliskan, author of "Data Money" shared his thoughts on the future of crypto regulation.


The Ordinals Team is Creating a Non-Profit to Support Bitcoin NFT Developers: The team behind the Ordinals protocol, led by Casey Rodarmor, has created the Open Ordinals Institute to grow its ecosystem without compromising neutrality.

Spooked by Curve Liquidation Threat, DeFi Protocols Shore Up Defenses: They’re responding to the potential systemic risk posed by Michael Egorov’s teetering financial position.

Binance Japan Starts Onboarding Users: Two years earlier, the exchange was warned by Japanese regulators that it was operating in the country without permission.

GameStop to Remove Crypto Wallets Citing 'Regulatory Uncertainty': The company will remove its iOS and Chrome wallet extensions on Nov. 1.

MicroStrategy Books Impairment Charge of $24.1M on Massive Bitcoin Holdings in Q2: The software firm reported its second-quarter earnings after the close on Tuesday.

Edited by James Rubin.


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James Rubin

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