Bitcoin, Ether rose on Monday afternoon trade in Asia, along with most top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies, with Litecoin leading gains. U.S. stock futures and European bourses strengthened. Asian equity markets rose after the People’s Bank of China kept the one-year medium-term lending rate unchanged at 2.75% while injecting liquidity into the system. 

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Bitcoin, Ether extend gains

Bitcoin rose 2.07% to US$27,409 in 24 hours to 4 p.m. in Hong Kong, according to CoinMarketCap data. The world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization has fallen 2.01% in the last seven days.

“Concerns about liquidity and network congestion persist. The technical breakdown of BTC and ETH adds to the market’s worries,” Mikkel Morch, chairman at the cryptocurrency hedge fund ARK36, said on Friday. 

“Despite the challenges, there are potential catalysts for a recovery. The U.S. debt ceiling and regional banking concerns could drive interest in cryptocurrencies like BTC,” Morch added.

Concerns over the Bitcoin network’s congestion persist, as there are currently 225,869 transactions waiting to be validated in the mempool. Meanwhile, the network surpassed 6.8 million Ordinals inscriptions, according to data from Dune Analytics, increasing block space demand on the world’s first blockchain network.

Ether, world’s second-biggest cryptocurrency, gained 1.27% to US$1,829, but lost 1.18% on the week. 

Litecoin was the biggest gainer of the day, rising 7.65% in 24 hours to US$87.26, bringing its weekly gains to 7.21%. Polygon’s Matic token was the second biggest gainer of the day, climbing 2.12% to US$0.8732, but lost 6.09% in the past seven days.

BNB, the native token of world’s biggest crypto exchange Binance, rose 0.82% to US$315. The exchange said on May 13 that it would cease operations in Canada due to tightened crypto rules. 

Binance has been at loggerheads in the U.S. with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) that sued Binance and its founder Changpeng Zhao in March, for allegedly offering unregistered cryptocurrency derivatives in the U.S. Zhao has rejected the allegations. 

The total crypto market capitalization gained 1.6% in 24 hours to US$1.14 trillion, and total crypto market volume rose 29.04% to US$27.81 billion. 

Forkast 500 NFT index gains momentum while NFT sales on Ethereum slump

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.

In the NFT market, the Forkast 500 NFT index increased 0.96% to 3,359.58 points in the 24 hours to 4:30 p.m. in Hong Kong but declined 4.87% during the week.

24-hour NFT sales on Ethereum, the leading blockchain for NFTs, dropped 4.97% to US$13.8 million. 24-hour sales for the Azuki collection increased by 114.42% to $US993,485, while sales for the Bored Ape Yacht Club, the largest Ethereum-native NFT collection, fell 30.18% to US$598,733.

As for the day’s most notable sales, Otherdeed #85720 sold for US$306,543 and Otherdeed #8 sold for US$228,608. 24-hour sales for the Otherdeed collection rose 668.12% to US$697,825, according to CryptoSlam data.

“The weather in NFTs has been perfect, with good news from established projects, hot tech, a bit of money in traders’ pockets from trading meme coins, and a well-timed tweet from none other than the current (and soon-to-be former) chief executive officer of Twitter, Elon Musk,” according to Yehudah Petscher, an NFT strategist at Forkast Labs.

Asian markets gain on China optimism

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Image: Envato Elements

Asian equity markets gained on Monday, after China’s central bank kept its medium-term lending facility unchanged at 2.75%, in line with expectations, while injecting more liquidity to support economic recovery. 

The Shanghai Composite gained 1.17% and the Shenzhen Component Index rose 1.57% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 1.75%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 strengthened 0.81% to close Monday at its highest since November 2021, driven by hopes for positive Japanese earnings reports and export-fueled buying on the back of a weak yen.

Investors are now looking forward to a raft of economic releases from China including industrial production, retail sales, and fixed asset investment data for April, after the world’s second largest economy showed signs of slowing following an initial recovery from pandemic-led disruptions.

The Philippine central bank may leave its key interest rate unchanged at its policy meeting this week, Governor Felipe Medalla reportedly said, after the Southeast Asian nation raised interest rates by 425 basis points since May 2022, in one of the most aggressive tightening cycles. 

U.S. stock futures strengthened as of 4:30 p.m. in Hong Kong. The S&P 500 futures index rose 0.33%, the tech-heavy Nasdaq-100 futures gained 0.26% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures increased 0.31%.

U.S. President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet with congressional leaders on Tuesday, to continue negotiations on raising the debt limit, to keep the government solvent. Two unnamed sources familiar with the matter told CNN that the deadline for the decision may come as soon as June 1.

The U.S. dollar index shed 0.13% to steady around 102.5 points on Monday, hovering around a one-month high, after gaining around 1.4% during the past week. The euro started gaining more ground, rising 0.19% to US$1.09.

European bourses also strengthened on Monday, as the benchmark STOXX 600 rose 0.37% and Germany’s DAX 40 rose 0.2% to 15,946.18 points, reaching its highest level since January 2022.

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