Bitcoin continued to trade above US$28,000 on Wednesday afternoon in Asia. Ether also rose, along with all other top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies with XRP and Cardano leading gains. Asian equity markets strengthened, reflecting a relief rally in U.S. equities on Tuesday after authorities took charge to tackle a banking sector crisis. Investors are looking to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates later on Wednesday.  

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Fast facts

  • Bitcoin gained 2.07% to US$28,143 in 24 hours to 4 p.m. in Hong Kong, and rose 12.58% in the last seven days, according to CoinMarketCap data. Ethereum strengthened 3.44% to US$1,794 on the day and increased 4.73% on the week. 
  • XRP gained the most in the top 10 cryptos, climbing 18.39% to US$0.4569, and rising 21.73% in the last seven days. Ripple Labs, whose payment network is powered by XRP, made a new filing on March 20 to back its case against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC sued Ripple in December 2020 for allegedly selling US$1.3 billion in unregistered securities. Ripple expects a court decision in the first six months of this year.
  • Cardano was the second-biggest gainer of the day, rising 12.74% to US$0.3755, after gaining 8.83% on the week. 
  • Total crypto market capitalization gained 2.75% to US$1.18 trillion, while total crypto market volume dropped 8.74% to US$64.48 billion in the last 24 hours.
  • All Asian equity markets rose on Wednesday, following a Wall Street rally on Tuesday after U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen expressed confidence in the banking sector and stated that the U.S. is willing to protect smaller lenders if needed.
  • The Shanghai Composite inched up 0.31% and the Shenzhen Component Index gained 0.61%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 1.73%, South Korea’s Kospi increased 1.2%, and Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 1.93%. 
  • Investors are looking to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision later on Wednesday. Most analysts anticipate a 25 basis point increase while some expect the U.S. central bank to pause interest rate hikes given the banking sector turmoil in the last two weeks.
  • “It seems that investors are gripped by the fear of missing out. They’re looking past interest rate hikes and assuming that the chaos in the banking sector will unleash looser monetary policies from central banks, which will be fuel for the markets,” said Nigel Green, chief executive of financial advisory firm deVere Group.
  • Inflation in the U.K. increased by 10.4% on the year in February, more than a 9.9% forecast, and rose from 10.1% in January. The Bank of England has been increasing interest rates to tackle inflation and will announce its next policy decision on Thursday. 
  • London’s benchmark FTSE 100 fell 0.2% as investors expect further monetary tightening.
  • European stocks inched up ahead of the Fed’s interest rates decision, with the STOXX 600 rising 0.22% and Germany’s DAX 40 gaining 0.57% during the day.
  • See related article: Bitcoin breaks US$28,000 barrier, crypto stability ahead of Fed rate decision