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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 S-1 Filing Details Shows Company Is Ready for Public Market

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According to the detail provided, founder and Chief Executive Officer Brian Armstrong reportedly earned $60 million in the 2020 fiscal year.

Details shared by American cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase in its S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is evident the company is set to the public markets. The cryptocurrency industry is just a bit more than a decade old but many players in the space are making waves, per revenue and income accruals.

One of the high points of the filing is the extensive growth in both retail and institutional investor transactions carried out by Coinbase. The dramatic shift in trading volumes attained its peak in the fourth quarter of 2020. Retail transactions account for 36% of all volumes, down from 80% in the early quarters of 2018. This shift is being transferred to corporate investors.

In the last quarter, retail trade value came in at $32 billion while institutional buy-ups raked in $57 billion. Amid these impressive trading figures, Coinbase was valued at $100B, making the firm one of the most valuable firms to file for direct listing through an Initial Public Offering (IPO) this year.

Money Bag Firm with Highly Paid Executives

It is surprising to note that Coinbase, a trading platform that was established in 2020 could outpace some long-standing US firms, in terms of remunerations to senior executives. While this metric may seem simplistic, it goes to show how much the company has matured in its financials.

Founder and Chief Executive Officer Brian Armstrong reportedly earned $60 million in the 2020 fiscal year. Stock options worth about $56.6 million accounted for the bulk of the total cash with the main salary coming in at $1 million, and a special package for private security worth $1.78 million was also included in the deal.

According to Coindesk, this figure stands tall ahead of revenue earned by Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) pegged at $31.5 million, and Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc (NYSE: AAPL), who earned $14.7 million.

Other Coinbase executives including Chief Product Officer Surojit Chatterjee raked in $15.8 million in 2020 compensation and Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal earned $18 million in 2020.

Risks Identified by Coinbase in Its S-1 Filing

As required of companies aspiring to go public, Coinbase identified some potential risks to its business in the S-1 filing.

As gleaned, the exchange believes that unmasking the identity of Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto will pose a significant risk to its business. However, the company did not reveal how this could happen.

The filing also noted that the advances in decentralized finance (DeFi) are a risk factor for the company as the growing ecosystem competes for customers and transactions. Per the filing, Coinbase noted that they “compete against a growing number of decentralized and noncustodial platforms and our business may be adversely affected if we fail to compete effectively against them.”

Negative perceptions surrounding Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH), and further regulatory hassles were also listed amongst the company’s potential risks to watch.

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Benjamin Godfrey is a blockchain enthusiast and journalists who relish writing about the real life applications of blockchain technology and innovations to drive general acceptance and worldwide integration of the emerging technology. His desires to educate people about cryptocurrencies inspires his contributions to renowned blockchain based media and sites. Benjamin Godfrey is a lover of sports and agriculture.



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‘Shift 1% of Portfolio into Bitcoin’, JPMorgan Advises Investors as Bull Run Cools Off

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Analysts of JPMorgan highlighted the evaporating liquid supply as multi-billion dollar institutions and corporations are buying substantial quantities at a fast rate.

JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) strategists have suggested that investors should consider moving 1% of their portfolio into Bitcoin to serve as a hedge against fluctuations in traditional asset classes including stocks, bonds, and commodities.

Many people over the years including the majority of Wall Street saw Bitcoin as a commodity without any strong backing, hence doubting its ability to perform and stay in the financial scene. It seems the narrative about the biggest digital coin is gradually changing which is evident in the new wave of institutional influx in the crypto market. 

The latest endorsement from the US multinational investment bank, JPMorgan has boosted the already existing notion which has seen many experts tout Bitcoin as a hedge against inflation. The bank has told its investors that they can shift 1% of their portfolio into Bitcoin only if those investors have just a small interest in Bitcoin.

Analysts from the bank highlighted the evaporating liquid supply as multi-billion dollar institutions and corporations are buying substantial quantities at a fast rate. “The demand for bitcoin is significantly higher than the actual supply and investors could put 1% of their portfolio in BTC,” JPMorgan advised. 

Bitcoin’s last halving which happened in May last year, saw the production rate of new Bitcoins slashed into two. The increasing demand that followed the halving, coupled with its decreasing liquid supply drove the price of the coin up as it has gained over 50% value since January 1.

The latest interest from institutions has further fueled the decreasing liquid supply as MicroStrategy Inc (NASDAQ: MSTR) now owns over 90,000 Bitcoin, with Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) allocating $1.5 billion in the asset while Grayscale is purchasing new coins at record levels. 

JPM strategists Joyce Chang and Amy Ho in a note to clients stated that “in a multi-asset portfolio, investors can likely add up to 1% of their allocation to cryptocurrencies in order to achieve any efficiency gain in the overall risk-adjusted returns of the portfolio.”

Bitcoin’s insane bull run looks to have hit a wall as its value has seen a 20% decline since its all-time high of over $58,000 on February 21. JP Morgan’s latest comments have been met with criticisms as it contradicts earlier statements made by other strategists from the bank, which stated that “crypto assets should be treated as investment vehicles and not funding currencies such as USD or JPY.”

The bank also claimed that “crypto assets continue to rank as the poorest hedge for major drawdowns in equities,” but looks to have circled back on its words. 

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Crypto fanatic, writer and researcher. Thinks that Blockchain is second to a digital camera on the list of greatest inventions.



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New Record Made for Individual NFT as Beeple’s Project Sold for $6.6M

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According to reports, “Crossroads” by Beeple was purchased on November 1, for $66,666.60 by a user identified as Pablo. Interestingly, the new user offered a whopping sum of $6.6 million to repurchase and stay anonymous.

Beeple, also known as Mike Winklemann, a Buzzy digital artist, has smashed the previous selling record of $1.5 million with his “Crossroads” project after its being resold for $6.6 million. According to reports, “Crossroads” by Beeple was purchased on November 1, for $66,666.60 by a user identified as Pablo. Interestingly, the new user offered a whopping sum of $6.6 million to repurchase and stay anonymous. This is said to be 100 times more than the original purchase amount. The record of the single NFT sale of Beeple’s project was held by a user identified as “CryptoPunk 6965” which according to reports sold for 800 ETH, equivalent to $1.55 million last week. 

It is disclosed that the Crossroads project was largely influenced by the 2020 US presidential election. The project has rare creativity which projected one of the two animations that may depend on the results of the election. One of the animations portrayed a triumphant Trump, and the other portrayed a forgotten and despondent one. 

The hard work and effort coupled with the creativity of digital art are highly appreciated by many, but a few people think the value of these pieces of art is exaggerated. Lark Davies, a Cryptocurrency Youtuber believes that the $6.6 million selling price of the artwork by Beeple shows NFT mania is heating up. He stated that the NFT selling price is an indication that “people have more money than sense”. 

The artist behind the project is on the verge of making another history as the first-ever NFT to be sold in a traditional auction house. His work is being listed by Christie’s Inc in partnership with Makersplace, an NFT marketplace. This will end on March 11 in a two weeks program. The artist has over the last 14 years produced a little over 5000 unique images with one produced each day. Some of the themes include the Desire and Resentment of Wealth, Society Obsession with and Fear of Technology, and Turbulent Political Scenes in America. A piece titled “Everyday: the First 5000 Days” being auctioned for $100 has received about 120 bids with $2.2 million as the latest. 

Digital artists are receiving increasing attention in recent times with the likes of Trevor Jones being the center of attraction. An edition art opened by Jones entitled “The Bitcoin Angel” was very patronized. He ended up selling 4157 editions in just 7 minutes. Selling each of them for $777, he made about $3.2 million. 

Noah Davies, a Christie’s specialist in post-war and contemporary art leading the Beeple’s sale stated that as an organization, Christie’s is excited to see about $3.5 million appearing out of thin air. He explained that the world is seeing an era where different things excite the younger collectors. This could be a demographic shift, a generational shift, or a drastic shift. 

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Excellent John K. Kumi is a cryptocurrency and fintech enthusiast, operations manager of a fintech platform, writer, researcher, and a huge fan of creative writing. With an Economics background, he finds much interest in the invisible factors that causes price change in anything measured with valuation. He has been in the crypto/blockchain space in the last five (5) years. He mostly watches football highlights and movies in his free time.



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