Bitcoin continued to fall in Monday afternoon trade in Asia, along with Ether and all other top 10 non-stablecoin cryptos, except Tron. Toncoin was the biggest loser. Global cryptocurrency markets weakened after the U.S. Federal Reserve at its September meeting indicated another interest rate hike by the end of the year, signaling that rates will remain higher for longer than anticipated. 

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Tron only gainer among top 10 cryptos

Bitcoin lost 1.44% to US$26,182 in 24 hours to 4 p.m. in Hong Kong, bringing its weekly losses to 2%, according to CoinMarketCap data. The world’s biggest cryptocurrency was hovering above US$26,500 over the weekend but lost the support level early Monday morning.

Ethereum also posted losses, dropping 0.69% to US$1,580 in the past 24 hours and 3.27% on the week. The world’s second largest cryptocurrency fell below the US$1,600 support level for the first time since Thursday.

EIP-4844, also known as the Ethereum Cancun Upgrade, is a proposed Ethereum upgrade that aims to improve the speed and cost-effectiveness of the Ethereum network.  

The average fee on the Ethereum blockchain dropped to around US$1.15 per transaction on Saturday, the lowest level since December 2022, according to blockchain intelligence firm Santiment.

“Ethereum generated US$17.9 million in fees last week, the lowest since Dec. 26. Fees have peaked out in May this year and are gradually declining, this continues to be a crucial development for Ether prices. With less than one week left in September, fees are (so far) 50% less than in August,” Markus Thielen, head of research and strategy at digital asset service platform Matrixport, wrote on Monday. 

“We mostly worry about Ethereum as weak fundamentals plus a lack of hype around the EIP-4844 upgrade (which should come sometime in Q4 2023) could make the blockchain slowly obsolete. Holders do not have unlimited patience and these upgrades are not fast enough and are marginal,” Thielen added.

All other top 10 non-stablecoin cryptos fell except Tron, which rose 0.41% to US$0.08434 in the past 24 hours, and gained 0.53% on the week.

Total crypto market capitalization dropped 1.05% to US$1.04 trillion, while market volume gained 51.52% to US$22.17 billion.

NFT market trade mixed

The indexes are proxy measures of the performance of the global NFT market. They are managed by CryptoSlam, a sister company of Forkast.News under the Forkast.Labs umbrella.

The Forkast 500 NFT index dropped 0.62% to US$1,953.35 in 24 hours to 7 p.m. in Hong Kong, bringing its weekly losses to 2.82%. 

Forkast’s Ethereum and Polygon indexes also dropped while Solana index rose. 

Total NFT sales volume gained 6.83% to US$9,746,899, while the number of NFT buyers increased 5.93% to US$48,312, according to CryptoSlam data

Among blockchains, the Ethereum network topped rankings, gaining 33.47% to US$4.7 million. Polygon and Mythos blockchains ranked second and third respectively. 

Polygon-based DraftKings topped rankings among collections, but dropped 30.06% to US$1.04 million.

Most global equities drop

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Image: Envato Elements

Major Asian equity markets dropped on Monday. China’s Shanghai Composite, the Shenzhen Component Index, South Korea’s Kospi, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng declined, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 strengthened at the end of trading hours. 

U.S. stock futures were down as of 8 p.m. in Hong Kong on Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures, the S&P 500 futures as well as the Nasdaq 100 Futures were all in the red.

The U.S. central bank on Wednesday kept its interest rates unchanged between 5.25% and 5.5%, but revised its economic projection to indicate one more interest rate hike by the end of 2023. It also projects slower-than-expected rate cuts throughout 2024.

Meanwhile, said Monday it will invest as much as US$4 billion in an attempt to become a major player in generative artificial intelligence (AI).

“Amazon’s investment into a ChatGPT rival reinforces why almost all investors should have some AI exposure in their investment mix,” Nigel Green, founder and chief executive of financial management group deVere, said in an emailed statement.

“This tech has the potential to disrupt existing industries or create entirely new ones. Early investors are likely to benefit from the exponential growth that often accompanies the adoption of such technologies. As these innovations gain traction, their valuations could skyrocket, resulting in significant returns on investment,” Green added.

European bourses weakened on Monday morning in Europe with the benchmark STOXX 600 and Germany’s DAX 40 lower. Traders continue to assess central bank activities from last week. Francois Villeroy de Galhau, France’s central bank governor, told CNBC that it is “premature” to bet on an interest rate cut by the European Central Bank. 

“We should remain at this level for a sufficiently long period of time. Betting now on the next cut is probably premature,” de Galhau said. 

(Updates with equity section.)