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Bitcoin flat, Ether gains in mixed crypto market; Solana rebounds, Litecoin leads winners

Bitcoin coins on black background, top view | Bitcoin flat, Ether gains in mixed crypto market; Solana rebounds, Litecoin leads winners

Image: Envato Elements

Bitcoin traded little changed and Ether gained on Monday morning in Asia, with prices of most other top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies mixed. Solana added to gains after a slump that followed it being labeled a security by the U.S. financial regulator. Litecoin led winners, still riding the optimism of being included in the tokens trading on the Wall Street-backed EDX Markets exchange that opened on June 20.

Mixed crypto

Bitcoin added 0.41% to US$30,730.25 over the last 24 hours to 6:30 a.m. in Hong Kong, according to CoinMarketCap data. After a jump that followed a raft of Bitcoin spot exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications in the final weeks of June, the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization has lost direction, adding just 0.61% over the past seven days.

The U.S. regulator that approves ETFs, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), on Friday indicated it was unimpressed by the Bitcoin ETF applications by financial heavyweights such as Blackrock and Fidelity Investments, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. 

Ether, the world’s second biggest token by market capitalization, added 1.49% to US$1,954.67.  It’s gained 2.65% for the seven days.

Solana was among the gainers in mixed early Asia trading for other top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies by market capitalization. The token rose 5.48% to US$19.43 for a weekly gain of 14.47%. 

Solana is rallying after a raft of bearish indicators last week, with Solana-based non-fungible token (NFT) protocol Cardinal saying it was shutting down, citing “macroeconomic challenges.” The Revolut neobank and crypto exchange also reportedly told U.S.-based users last Wednesday that it will delist Solana, along with Cardano and Polygon. 

The three tokens were among cryptocurrencies that the SEC named as illegally issued financial securities in its lawsuit filed last month against the Coinbase and Binance.US exchanges. 

Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum wrote on Twitter on Friday that the tokens don’t deserve to be targeted.  “If ethereum ends up “winning” through all other blockchains getting kicked off exchanges, that’s not an honorable way to win, and in the long term probably isn’t even a victory.”

Litecoin led the gainers with a 6.37% increase in the last 24 hours to US$112.96. The token surged 27.98% in the past seven days. 

Litecoin, which was created in 2011 as a hard fork to Bitcoin, was one of the four tokens selected to trade on the EDX Markets exchange, which is backed by Citadel Securities and Fidelity Investments. The other tokens are Bitcoin, Ether and Bitcoin Cash. The New Jersey-based EDX opened for business despite the crackdown on crypto from U.S. regulators.

The California-based crypto exchange Kraken was ordered by a U.S. judge on Friday to submit information about its users to the Internal Revenue Service in an investigation of underreported tax liabilities. The crypto exchange was fined US$30 million in February by the SEC for its staking services, which the federal agency said were an offering of unregistered securities.

Other crypto movers included Tron, which dipped 1.85% to US$0.07572, but gained 3.31% for the week. Binance’s BNB token edged down 0.31% to US$247.13, and Cardano’s ADA fell 0.13% to US$0.2905.

The total cryptocurrency market cap edged up 0.02% to US$1.2 trillion, with trading volume dropping 7.54% to US$27.26 billion, according to CoinMarketCap data.

NFTs “brutal weekend”

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 non-fungible token (NFT) market, the Forkast 500 NFT index fell 1.49% to 2,910.36 in the 24 hours to 7:30 a.m. in Hong Kong. The index is down 4.59% for the week.

Total NFT trading volume dipped 9.68% to US$28.3 million, while volume on Ethereum rose 3.12% to US$22.3 million. 

“Brutal weekend for NFTs,” said Yehudah Petscher, NFT Strategist at Forkast Labs, the parent company of Forkast.News. “It might be easy to point to Azuki’s Elementals mint as the catalyst still, but lowering average sales and floor prices in top collections prior to Elementals mint showed that we were on the cusp of another free fall.”

The Azuki Elementals collection began minting last Tuesday and sold out in 15 minutes, but left collectors disappointed as the latest collection looked almost the same as the original.  

Azuki founder Alex Xu, who goes by the moniker Zagabond, met with its community last Thursday to address complaints about the mint and Elementals issued a public apology on Twitter, saying they “missed the mark” and that the new release diluted the value of the popular collection.

Ethereum-based Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs topped the volume ranking on Cryptoslam at US$3.87 million. Another Ethereum-based collection, The Captainz, came in at second place with US$2.3 million. 

Over the weekend, the Memeland team behind The Captainz NFTs, revealed their PFPs or Profile Picture art upgrades for the collection but met with mixed to negative response. “Most negative responses to the art came from people who were unaware that the art would be upgradeable with purchasable traits,” Petscher explained. “Without these traits the base characters are nearly identical, which caused some confusion in the NFT community.”

U.S. equity futures little changed

U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen | Getty Images

U.S. stock futures were little changed as of 10:20 a.m. in Hong Kong. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures edged down 0.029%, S&P 500 futures dipped 0.011%, while Nasdaq Futures added 0.068%. 

U.S. equities rallied during regular trading on Friday, the last day of the first half of 2023, though face disruptions to trading this week with limited trading hours on Monday and the July 4 public holiday on Tuesday when equity markets will be closed.

Economic indicators to come this week include US manufacturing activity on Monday as well as a monthly jobs report on Friday. Tesla Inc.’s Sunday announcement of record-breaking vehicle sales in the second quarter is a bullish factor for investors.

Japan equities on Monday gained on the coattails of the Friday rally on Wall Street, with technology stocks leading the gains in Tokyo.

In China manufacturing slowed, but by less than expected. Both purchasing managers’ Indices in Taiwan and South Korea also showed manufacturing contraction.

On Wednesday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is traveling to China in an effort to try and improve communications and the frosty ties between the world’s two largest economies.

Investors are expecting more interest rate hikes this year in the U.S. following reiterated warnings from Fed Chair Jerome Powell in speeches last week in Europe that inflation has yet to be brought under control. 

U.S. interest rates are now between 5% and 5.25%, the highest since 2006. The CME FedWatch Tool predicts an 87.4% chance for a 25-basis-point rate hike at the Fed’s next meeting on July 26 and predicts only a 12.6% chance the Fed will leave rates unchanged. 

(Updates to add equities section)

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