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Digital Yen Would Make Crypto Markets ‘More Lively,’ Says CEO of Monex Group

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The chief executive of Monex Group, a financial services firm based in Tokyo, believes central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) would be a boon for the cryptocurrency market.

As reported by Reuters on Wednesday, Oki Matsumoto said the introduction of a digital version of the yen by the Bank of Japan (BoJ) would “significantly enhance the interoperability of cryptocurrencies” by smoothing the process of exchanging them into legal tender.

Further, smaller brokers don’t always have bank accounts, he said.

Matsumoto’s company manages a host of retail online brokerages in Japan and overseas and is also the owner of Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck.

The BoJ has been exploring the implications of CBDCs having set up a task force in July and moving its most senior economist, Kazushige Kamiyama, to lead the department in charge of digital currency research and development. A proof-of-concept trial is likely to take place in 2021, the central bank said recently.

“[A digital yen] would make the cryptocurrency market more lively,” Matsumoto told Reuters.



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Market Wrap: Bitcoin Back Above $33K While Ether Up 65% in 2021

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Crypto markets have reversed course across the board and are flashing green Friday. Bitcoin crossed over $32,000 and ether is rallying hard in 2021 so far.

  • Bitcoin (BTC) trading around $33,608 as of 21:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET). Gaining 5.3% over the previous 24 hours.
  • Bitcoin’s 24-hour range: $28,845-$33,873 (CoinDesk 20)
  • BTC above the 10-hour and the 50-hour moving averages on the hourly chart, a bullish signal for market technicians.

Bitcoin trading on Bitstamp since Jan. 19.
Source: TradingView

Bitcoin’s price was on an uptrend Friday, a marked reversal from the past several days. The price per 1 BTC bottomed out at $28,845 around 01:00 UTC (8:00 p.m. ET Thursday) and since then the world’s oldest cryptocurrency has been on an upward run. It reached as high as $33,873, according to CoinDesk 20 data, an appreciation of over 17% in that time span. Price has since settled somewhat, at $33,608 as of press time. 

Read More: MicroStrategy Buys the Dip, Adds $10M to Bitcoin Treasury

Guy Hirsch, U.S. managing director for multi-asset brokerage eToro, says one support level, where traders scoop up bitcoin to push the price back up, seems to have taken hold, leading to the reversal Friday. “There appears to be strong support around $30,000, as prices have rebounded to trade north of $32,000,” Hirsch told CoinDesk. This consolidation is likely the result of smart money continuing to buy bitcoin at a perceived discount.

Historical bitcoin price over the past year.
Source: CoinDesk 20

Quantitative trading firm QCP Capital echoed a similar sentiment about the $30,000 level in its most recent investor letter published Friday. “In the near term, we’re expecting a key battle at the $30,000 spot level. This battle for the $30,000 weekly close will be key.”

In the derivatives market, bitcoin funding rates for swaps continue heading towards zero, particularly on venue FTX, which currently has the lowest rate, at 0.0318%. This signals leveraged demand to go long is dissipating.

Bitcoin perpetual swaps funding on major venues the past week.
Source: Skew

“We pay close attention to weekend price action and the leveraged [perpetual] funding rates to gauge retail interest,” QCP noted Friday. 

Read More: Bitcoin Exchange LVL Launches Mastercard Debit Card

In the futures market, total open interest (OI) on the eight exchanges monitored by the CoinDesk 20 was at $11 billion Thursday, down from Tuesday’s record high of $13 billion. That is a sign institutional investors are losing interest and may be unwinding some of their positions.

Bitcoin futures on major venues the past six months.
Source: Skew

“After the BTC top two weeks ago, the strength in U.S. hours has lost momentum for the first time,” QCP also noted. “This is a clear sign of exhaustion in demand from the U.S. institutions and corporates [that] have been the primary drivers of this bull run.”

Yet, macroeconomics may come into play, eToro’s Hirsch noted to CoinDesk. “With economic uncertainty continuing as the COVID-19 pandemic continues raging and central bank money printing continues unchecked, I’d expect more people to eventually rotate back into bitcoin in the not-too-distant future.”

Ether blowing out bitcoin in 2021

Ether (ETH), the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, was up Friday, trading around $1,253 and climbing 4% in 24 hours as of 21:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET).

Read More: Mining Pools Threaten to Collude Against Contentious Ethereum Update

While bitcoin has gained more than 15% thus far in 2021, ether is doing much better, up over 70% over the same time frame. “Ether appears to have finally broken its recent lockstep correlation with bitcoin, as evidenced by its more rapid recovery after a sell-off, which also appears to have been fueled by profit taking after the second-largest crypto asset hit an all-time high earlier this week,” noted eToro’s Guy Hirsch.

Spot ether (blue) versus bitcoin (gold) on Bitstamp so far in 2021.
Source: TradingView

Jake Brukhman, chief executive officer of crypto investment firm CoinFund, told CoinDesk investors are taking profits made from bitcoin and trading into ether and other assets given the 2021 price performance and high profile of bitcoin. 

“I think the major assets are going through a dynamic of high hitting, consolidation and rotation,” Brukhman said. “Bitcoin hits [a] high, then consolidates and the money flows into ether. Then ether hits a high, then consolidates and the money flows into polkadot.”

Other markets

Digital assets on the CoinDesk 20 are mostly green Friday. Notable winners as of 21:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET):

  • Oil was down 1.8%. Price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude: $52.05.
  • Gold was in the red 0.85% and at $1,853 as of press time.
  • The 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yield fell Friday to 1.084 and in the red 2.3%.

The CoinDesk 20: The Assets That Matter Most to the Market



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Coinbase Now Has Over $90B in Assets on Platform

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Coinbase saw whopping growth in 2020 as bitcoin rallied to close out the year.

New numbers published on the Coinbase “About” page Friday show the exchange now has over $90 billion in assets on platform and over 43 million registered users. An Internet Archive snapshot from as recently as last week shows $25 billion in assets on platform though it’s unclear when that data was collected.

The updated figures were collected as part of Coinbase’s 2020 year in review and are current as of Dec. 31, 2020.

“In this report, we take you on a comprehensive tour of the crypto asset class, sharing our unique perspective on how and why these institutions are engaging with the market,” Coinbase Institutional’s Brian Foster wrote in the report’s cover letter.

Coinbase’s asset surge is likely driven by the likes of MicroStrategy, Ruffer Investment and other institutions that have used the exchange’s prime brokerage service to make large bitcoin buys in recent months.

Assets under the control of Coinbase Custody accounted for “more than 50%” of the $90 billion total, the report states, adding that Coinbase executed “single trades exceeding $1 billion for some of the largest institutions in the world.”

The update from Coinbase comes ahead of an expected public listing. Investment bank Goldman Sachs is reportedly working with the firm on its Wall Street debut.

This is a developing story and will be updated.



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Alameda-Backed Investment Platform ‘Stacked’ Acquires Automated Trading Service

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Terms of the deal were not disclosed.



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