First Mover Asia: Bitcoin Turns Range-Bound Again Amid an Absence of Fresh Capital; Altcoins Dip Further Into Red

PLUS: A spot bitcoin ETF may be in the offing, and crypto prices are unpredictable, but MicroStrategy "still fills a need in the marketplace," the president of crypto asset fund ProChain Capital told CoinDesk TV.

AccessTimeIconAug 3, 2023 at 2:15 a.m. UTC
Updated Apr 14, 2024 at 10:43 p.m. UTC

Good morning. Here’s what’s happening:

Prices: Bitcoin wavers at $29.2K as investors look hopefully for spot BTC ETF news.

Insights: MicroStrategy does not have a "finite shelf life," said David Tawil, president of crypto asset fund ProChain Capital


−26.3 2.1%
−593.7 2.0%
−23.9 1.3%
S&P 500
−63.3 1.4%
+31.6 1.6%
Nikkei 225
−768.9 2.3%
BTC/ETH prices per CoinDesk Indices, as of 7 a.m. ET (11 a.m. UTC)
CoinDesk Market Index (CMI)
1,223 −26.3 2.1%
Bitcoin (BTC)
$29,225 −593.7 2.0%
Ethereum (ETH)
$1,844 −23.9 1.3%
S&P 500
4,513.39 −63.3 1.4%
$1,972 +31.6 1.6%
Nikkei 225
32,707.69 −768.9 2.3%
BTC/ETH prices per CoinDesk Indices, as of 7 a.m. ET (11 a.m. UTC)

Bitcoin Settles Back Down

After swinging high and low over the course of a day, bitcoin was firmly nestled in the narrow range of between $29,000 and $29,500 that it has held for much of the past 10 days as Asian equity markets opened.

The largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization was recently trading just below $29,223, off 2% over the past 24 hours. BTC rose above $30,000 but then plunged under $29,000 as investors responded to a series of industry specific and macroeconomic events.

But markets settled back to familiar territory, an ongoing pattern that seems likely to continue, short a significant catalyst, which could appear if the Securities and Exchange Commission approves one of the spot bitcoin ETF applications filed in mid-June by BlackRock and other financial-services powerhouses. The timing of an SEC decision is uncertain.

"Bitcoin is wavering above the $29,000 level as traders await any updates with a US spot Bitcoin ETF," Edward Moya, senior market analyst for foreign-exchange market maker Oanda, wrote in a note. "We’ve seen this movie before.

"Fresh money has not yet been coming into the cryptoverse so range trading might remain a while longer," he added.

Ether, the second-largest crypto by market capitalization was recently changing hands at $1,843, off 1.3%. Other major cryptos, which spent much of Wednesday in the red, moved more deeply into negative territory. And litecoin (LTC) recently plunged more than 5%, despite the token's anticipated halving event, which cut miners rewards in half, curbing the issuance of new tokens. Decentralized exchange Uniswap's UNI token was off more than 7.5%, while SOL and ADA, the native cryptos of the smart contracts platforms Solana and Cardano, were each down more than 2.5%.

The CoinDesk Market Index (CMI), a measure of crypto markets performance, was recently down 0.5%.

The Nikkei and Hang Seng indexes were off nearly a percentage point and 0.4%, respectively, following a down day for U.S. stocks, which struggled with a Fitch decision to downgrade the country's credit rating. The Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 dropped 2.2% and 1.4%, respectively

Biggest Gainers

Asset Ticker Returns DACS Sector
Gala GALA +9.7% Entertainment
XRP XRP +9.1% Currency
Terra LUNA +7.0% Smart Contract Platform

Biggest Losers

Asset Ticker Returns DACS Sector
Stellar XLM −15.7% Smart Contract Platform
Dogecoin DOGE −12.5% Currency
Chainlink LINK −10.3% Computing


MicroStrategy "Fills a Need"

MicroStrategy (MSTR) and its bitcoin-focused strategy are going to be around for a while, despite the potential passage of a spot bitcoin ETF and other industry developments, David Tawil, president of crypto asset fund ProChain Capital, told CoinDesk TV's "First Mover" program.

Tawil said that demand for the software developer's shares remained strong among investors seeking exposure to the world's largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization.

"Does MicroStrategy as it currently exists, as it seems to be going, have a finite shelf life in light of the developments in the sector?" Tawil asked rhetorically. "We've got a lot clamoring. MicroStrategy still fills a need in the marketplace."

Tawil's comments came a day after MicroStrategy said it will sell $750 million in stock with the intent of adding to its bitcoin stash of 152,300 BTC worth over $4.5 billion. Much of its holdings have come since the pandemic and followed a strategy shift by its now Executive Chairman Michael Saylor, a bitcoin bull. Saylor has faced criticism that MicroStrategy's performance depends too deeply on an asset that has been famously volatile through much of its history.

MicroStrategy's shares sank under $165 late last year at the height of the bear crypto market, a nearly 80% drop over the 12-month period when bitcoin's price sank from over $67,000 to about $16,500. The stock was recently trading over $400, its rise dovetailing with bitcoin's improved performance

Tawil noted that MicroStrategy stock is easier to trade than the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, which offers another way to invest in a bitcoin-targeted product without purchasing the asset itself.

"The most significant point out of yesterday's earnings call is the fact that they may go out and raise an additional three-quarters of a billion dollars to buy more bitcoin," Tawil said. "As long as we've got this disjointed system of how exactly people can invest in bitcoin, there seems to be room in the universe for one MicroStrategy."

Important events.

8:25 a.m. HKT/SGT(12:25 a.m. UTC): Jibun Bank Services PMI (July)

8:30 p.m. HKT/SGT(12:30 p.m. UTC): U.S. Initial Jobless Claims (July 28)


CoinDesk TV

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

The Wall Street Journal reported that China is Binance’s largest market, amounting to 20% of worldwide volume. ProChain Capital President David Tawil shared his crypto markets analysis and thoughts on MicroStrategy's latest earnings results. CertiK CEO Ronghui Gu weighed in on the Curve Finance exploit. And, Kraken Chief Marketing Officer Mayur Gupta discussed the crypto exchange's partnership with the Williams Racing team.


Is Sam Bankman-Fried Going to Jail?: Federal prosecutors are fed up with what they say are his repeated attempts to influence witness testimony. He maintains he’s just trying to defend his reputation.

Binance Could Face U.S. Fraud Charges, but Prosecutors Worry About Risk of Bank Run: Semafor: The price of bitcoin and Binance's BNB token immediately fell following the report.

Why You Should Care About Litecoin: It's the Backbone of Dogecoin: Litecoin, a blockchain cloned from Bitcoin in 2011 that underwent a key milestone on Wednesday known as a “halving,” provides network security to Dogecoin via a process called “merged mining.” Dogecoin is a frequent social-media topic for Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Bitcoin ETF Approval Odds Just Got Better: Bloomberg Analysts: They now see a 65% chance a U.S. spot bitcoin ETF will launch this year, up from 50% previously.

Litecoin Undergoes Third 'Halving,' in Milestone for 12-Year-Old Blockchain: The blockchain's "halving," where the pace of new issuance of cryptocurrency gets cut in half every four years, took place Wednesday, when it reached transaction block 2,520,000.

Edited by James Rubin.


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James Rubin

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