First Mover Americas: Optimism’s OP and Solana Rally

The latest price moves in crypto markets in context for Dec. 22, 2023.

AccessTimeIconDec 22, 2023 at 1:01 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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Solana’s SOL neared $100 early Friday as hype for the blockchain’s speedy transactions, cheap fees and a lottery of meme coin issuances extended into a third week. Metrics show Solana has possibly been the strongest draw among on-chain traders, with trading volumes and network fees crossing those of Ethereum – which is usually the highest – on a seven-day rolling basis. Value locked on Solana applications grew in tandem, rising to $1.3 billion worth of tokens from November's $400 million to reach levels previously seen in July 2022. Also gaining was layer 2 Optimism’s OP token, which climbed 23% over the past 24 hours. Optimism’s total value locked (TVL) is approaching $900 million according to data from DeFi Llama. Bitcoin was down slightly on the day.

Hong Kong regulators said they are ready to consider applications for spot crypto exchange-traded funds (ETFs). In a joint statement, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) said the virtual asset environment has changed since 2018, when the SFC formulated a "professional-investors only" regulatory approach. Hong Kong has been loosening its approach to crypto this year, and the regulators' opinion on retail exposure to digital assets has shifted. In October, the SFC updated its rule book to allow a broader range of investors to engage in spot-crypto and ETF investing. Then, last month, SFC Chief Executive Officer Julia Leung said the regulator was moving toward allowing retail amid investors to buy spot crypto ETFs and would "welcome proposals using innovative technology that boosts efficiency and customer experience" provided any risks were addressed.

Crypto exchange Coinbase (COIN) said it received registration as a Virtual Asset Services Provider in France, allowing it to offer a "full suite of retail, institutional, and ecosystem products and services" in the country. The registration with the Financial Markets Authority (AMF) was announced the same day as stablecoin issuer Circle said it was granted conditional registration by the regulator as France looks to attract crypto businesses. Coinbase is the third-largest crypto exchange by trading volume, according to CoinGecko, surpassed only by Binance, which is also registered in the country, and Bybit. Registration allows it to offer custody of digital assets, buying and selling of digital assets for fiat currency and trading of digital assets, Coinbase said

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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.