First Mover Americas: Bitcoin Surpasses $65K, Meme Tokens Rally

The latest price moves in crypto markets in context for March 4, 2024.

AccessTimeIconMar 4, 2024 at 1:08 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 9, 2024 at 6:04 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) crossed $65,000 in European morning hours on Monday, inching closer to a lifetime peak of $69,000 set November 2021 as the value of bullish bets rose to a record. The largest cryptocurrency has added over 6% in the past 24 hours, while the CD20, a broad-based liquid index of various tokens, rose 5.6%. Bitcoin is now just 5% away from its record in U.S. dollar terms. It's already crossed peak prices against several major and emerging-market currencies in the past week. Further gains may be in the offing, signs from the futures market indicate. Open interest, or the number of unsettled futures bets, rose to an all-time high of $27 billion, data from Coinglass show. Rising interest is a sign of new money entering the market. Market capitalization also reached a record $2.8 trillion, crossing the $2.7 trillion level set in November 2021, data from multiple sources show.

While bitcoin posted significant gains to start the week, meme coins outperformed all assets, with some climbing as much as 30% over the last 24 hours. Pepecoin (PEPE) surged 30% on Monday to extend weekly gains to over 370% amid a rally sparked by the likes of dogecoin (DOGE) and bonk (BONK). Trading volumes for the frog-themed tokens jumped to lifetime highs of $3.6 billion, CoinGecko data show, as a risk-on environment likely fueled outsized bets on riskier assets. Pepecoin's gains were significantly higher than those of shiba inu (SHIB) and dogecoin – even as developers of some of these tokens introduced ecosystem upgrades. DOGE rallied 170% over the past week, while SHIB surged 200%.

In an insider trading case involving Ishan Wahi, Coinbase’s former product manager, his brother Nikhil Wahi and their friend Sameer Ramani, a U.S. court ruled that the trading of certain crypto assets on a secondary market, which Coinbase is, are securities transactions. “The court’s analysis remains the same even to the extent Ramani traded tokens on the secondary market,” the March 1 ruling said. “... Each issuer continued to make such representation regarding the profitability of their tokens even as the tokens were traded on secondary markets. Thus, under Howey, all of the crypto assets that Ramani purchased and traded were investment contracts.” The court took this critical position in a default judgment against Ramani. A default judgment is given when the defendant fails to respond to a court summons or does not appear in court.

Chart of the Day

  • The chart shows trends in Deribit's forward-looking 30-day implied volatility index for bitcoin, or BTC DVOL, since late 2022.
  • The DVOL surged to an annualized 80%, indicating heightened expectations for price turbulence in the coming four weeks.
  • Source: TradingView

- Omkar Godbole

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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.

Omkar Godbole

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