First Mover Americas: Bitcoin Struggles to Gain Momentum; FTX Files Plan to End Bankruptcy

The latest price moves in crypto markets in context for Dec. 18, 2023.

AccessTimeIconDec 18, 2023 at 1:16 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 9, 2024 at 5:43 a.m. UTC

This article originally appeared in First Mover, CoinDesk’s daily newsletter, putting the latest moves in crypto markets in context. Subscribe to get it in your inbox every day.

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Bitcoin [BTC] opened the trading week down 2% at $41,000. Ether [ETH] fell 3% to $2,100. Data from Coinglass shows there have been $103.5 million in liquidations of token-tracked futures in the past 12 hours, and $95 million of them have been longs, or bets on higher prices. Bitcoin has struggled to gain momentum over the past few days and is likely to start to look thin on volumes as traders take time off for Christmas, according to Simon Peters, a market analyst at eToro. He notes that there is little in the way of on-diary events that could affect crypto prices this week. “A higher-than-anticipated inflation reading could chill U.K. markets on bank rate expectations, but this is very much a sideshow relative to the overall crypto market at the moment,” said Peters. Altcoins such as Helium’s HNT gained 9% over the past 24 hours, and Stacks’ STX added 6%.

The estate of collapsed crypto enterprise FTX submitted a proposal to end bankruptcy with a Delaware court, a filing from Saturday shows. The exchange founded by Sam Bankman-Fried imploded in November 2022, shortly after CoinDesk reported on the shaky balance sheet of the firm’s trading unit, Alameda. The bankruptcy plan was expected by Dec. 16 following earlier informal proposals, which included plans to return up to 90% of creditors’ funds. In the new proposal, creditor and customer claims are classed according to the priority the estate plans to give them, and the value of claims will be calculated based on asset prices as of the date the company filed for bankruptcy. In a separate statement, the estate said the plan was designed to "maximize and efficiently distribute value to all creditors."

Historically, cryptocurrency markets have been dominated by unregulated trading venues and retail investor activity. Still, this year shows how much market structure and participation has evolved and become institutionalized, Goldman Sachs (GS) said in a report last week. The crypto market saw a growth of regulated, centrally cleared derivatives venues in 2023, including Coinbase Derivatives, CBOE, Eurex, GFO-X, AsiaNext and 24 Exchange, the bank observed. “The institutionalization of the market was most evident in the derivatives market,” the report said, adding that “CME saw a consistent increase in bitcoin and ether futures and options trading, and in Q4 has become the top BTC futures exchange by open interest.”

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Edited by Sheldon Reback.


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Lyllah Ledesma

Lyllah Ledesma is a CoinDesk Markets reporter currently based in Europe. She holds bitcoin, ether and small amounts of other crypto assets.