First Mover Americas: PEPE, Not BTC, Is The Top Trending Token

The latest price moves in crypto markets in context for Feb. 28, 2024.

AccessTimeIconFeb 28, 2024 at 1:01 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 9, 2024 at 5:50 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’s near-vertical rise continues, with the cryptocurrency scaling the $59,000 mark early Wednesday. Ether (ETH) topped $3,300, and the CoinDesk 20 Index, a measure of the broader market, jumped 3.5% to $2,177. The bears, if any, have been put on notice as bitcoin (BTC) is now just 16% short of challenging the record high of $69,000. The distance could be covered easily before April’s mining reward halving, assuming Wall Street continues pouring money into the spot exchange-traded funds, maintaining the demand-supply imbalance. That said, the market increasingly looks overheated, not only in terms of funding rates, but also because, as Santiment data show, the top trending cryptocurrency on social media in the past 24 hours is PEPE. The meme token’s market cap has skyrocketed by 153% this week, CoinDesk data show. Such frenzied action in smaller coins often presages market-wide price pullbacks. While past performance is no guarantee of future behavior, some traders have started purchasing bitcoin puts to hedge potential downside risks.

BlackRock's spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) on Tuesday set a record high of $1.36 billion in trading volume, surpassing Monday's $1.3 billion tally, according to Bloomberg Intelligence ETF analyst Eric Balchunas. The ETF, which trades under the ticker IBIT on Nasdaq, saw nearly 42 million shares change hands, more than double its lifetime average. While high volume is often perceived as bullish, it's not necessarily the case, according to NYDIG's global head of research, Greg Cipolaro, who prefers to track the ratio between the dollar trading volume and the fund's net asset value. "This ratio shows the proportion of the fund's assets traded on any given day, offering a glimpse into the investor and trader profiles and potentially what motivates their investment choices," Cipolaro wrote.

While Wall Street has embraced digital assets, "the powers that be" maintain their tough stance. In an interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) called out the crypto industry for being reluctant to follow the rules that guide the U.S. financial system. "I wanna collaborate with the industry, what I don't understand is why the industry seems to be saying that the only way that they can survive is if there's plenty of space for the drug traffickers and the human traffickers, oh and the terrorist, and the ransomware scammer, and the consumer scammers …," Warren said.

Chart of the Day

Weekly transactions on Scroll. (
Weekly transactions on Scroll. ( (
  • Activity on Scroll, a ZK-rollup Ethereum scaling project with EVM-compatibility, has picked up, with the weekly transaction count hitting a record high of 2.6 million.
  • Several factors, including key deployments like Aave, novel growth initiatives and a broad resurgence of interest in ZK rollups, have catalyzed the record transaction activity, according to crypto analytics newsletter OurNetwork.
  • Scroll’s mainnet went live in October.

- Omkar Godbole

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Edited by Sheldon Reback.


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Omkar Godbole

Omkar Godbole is a Co-Managing Editor on CoinDesk's Markets team.