First Mover Americas: Ether Approaches $4K

The latest price moves in crypto markets in context for March 8, 2024.

AccessTimeIconMar 8, 2024 at 1:26 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 9, 2024 at 1:43 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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Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market value, is approaching the $4,000 mark, for the first time since December 2021. It's currently trading at around $3,950. The cryptocurrency has been climbing over the past few months alongside bitcoin, which reached record highs March 5. Over the past 30 days, ether has outperformed bitcoin, climbing 67%, while bitcoin rallied 57% and the CoinDesk 20 Index, a gauge of the broader crypto market, rallied 53%. According to Kenny Hearn, chief investment officer at SwissOne Capital, ether is rising in sympathy with bitcoin’s recent success and preempting an altcoin rally. “There is nothing stopping ETH hitting the $4,000 level other than psychological resistance,” Hearn said in an interview. “We think it’s a high probability it will happen in the next 24 hours so long as U.S. labor data comes in as expected,” said Hearn. The U.S. is due to publish its February non-farm payrolls report at 13:30 UTC.

If bitcoin were to match gold’s allocation in investor portfolios, its market cap should rise to $3.3 trillion, implying a more than doubling of its price, but that probably won't happen because of the cryptocurrency's risk and heightened volatility, JPMorgan (JPM) said in a research report. Gold is the best comparison for the cryptocurrency given investor perception of bitcoin as a digital version of the metal, the report said. “Most investors take risk and volatility into account when they allocate across asset classes and given the volatility in bitcoin is around 3.7 times the volatility of gold it would be unrealistic to expect bitcoin to match gold within investors’ portfolios in notional amounts,” analysts led by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou wrote.

Optimism Foundation said on Friday that it entered into a private token sale of approximately 19.5 million OP tokens, worth nearly $90 million at current prices, to an undisclosed buyer. The foundation is one of the maintainers and developers of the Optimism network, a blockchain that runs and settles transactions on Ethereum. The sold tokens are subject to a two-year lockup. However, the buyer can delegate the tokens to unaffiliated third parties for participation in governance decisions, giving the same benefits as an unvested holder.

Chart of the Day

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  • The chart shows the dollar value of the active ether call and put options contracts on Deribit as of early Friday.
  • The so-called notional open interest in calls stood at $7.57 billion versus $3.5 billion in put options.
  • The market is positioned for a continued move higher in Ethereum's native token, ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market value.
  • Source: Amberdata

- 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.