Bitcoin rose in Friday morning trading in Asia to hold above US$29,500 after a week of worries about more U.S. bank failures and a possible recession that some commentators say is generating new interest in the world’s largest cryptocurrency as a safe haven asset. Ether edged lower, but held above support at US$1,900. Most other top 10 non-stablecoin crypto fell, with the exception of Solana, which gained on an artificial intelligence (AI) enhancement in its network. U.S. equity futures dipped in Asia after gains on Wall Street in regular Thursday trade on more strong earnings signals.

See related article: Coinbase sues SEC in bid for clarity on crypto rules

Fast facts

  • Bitcoin gained 0.77% to US$29,518 in the 24 hours to 09:00 a.m. in Hong Kong, according to CoinMarketCap data. The token is up 4.23% for the past seven days.
  • Turmoil and fragility in the U.S. banking system is helping Bitcoin into mainstream adoption and solidifying its role as a safe haven, according to U.S.-based financial services firm Bernstein Private Wealth Management, cited by CNBC on Thursday.
  • New York-based investment bank H.C. Wainwright also sees Bitcoin potentially entering a bull price cycle and initiated a “buy” rating on crypto exchange Coinbase on Wednesday, saying it will benefit from growth in the global digital asset economy.
  • Ether dipped 0.56% to US$1,911 for a weekly loss of 1.98%.
  • Solana rose 1.91% to US$22.39 after the non-profit Solana Foundation announced a US$1-million fund on Wednesday for projects exploring AI for the Solana blockchain. Solana Labs also created a plugin on OpenAI’s chatbot ChatGPT this week that reportedly allows users to check wallet balances, transfer tokens, and purchase non-fungible tokens (NFT) through ChatGPT.
  • The total crypto market capitalization inched up 0.02% in the past 24 hours to US$1.21 trillion. The total trading volume over the last 24 hours dropped 22.81% to US$51.66 billion.
  • In the NFT market, the Forkast 500 NFT index dipped 0.21% to 3,701.73 in the 24 hours to 9:00 a.m. in Hong Kong, down 6.55% for the week. The index is a proxy measure of the performance of the global NFT market and includes 500 eligible smart contracts. It is managed by CryptoSlam, a sister company of Forkast.News under the Forkast.Labs umbrella.
  • The Forkast 500 is a representation for the market as a whole, but it also reflects traders and what they’re doing or not doing and there is very low volume on the NFT markets right now, Yehudah Petscher, Forkast Labs NFT strategist, said in an interview. Wash trading is still a problem, he said.
  • Still, there’s good stuff happening in the NFT space, with communities building and growing, said Petscher. “Also, the art is world class and that is an important thing that’s happening in the NFT space where digital artists now can make a living by selling their NFTs. Sotheby’s and Christie’s are selling NFT art at this point regularly,” he added.
  • U.S. stock futures traded lower as of 9:00 a.m. in Hong Kong. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures and the S&P 500 futures both edged down 0.13%. The Nasdaq Composite Index dipped 0.18%.
  • The three indexes closed higher on Thursday as strong earnings at Meta Platforms, previously Facebook, pushed the stock up nearly 14%, outweighing a poor first quarter GDP report that came in with an annual growth rate of 1.1%, missing economists’ prediction of 2%, according to Reuters on Friday.
  • Conversely, the report also showed a 4.2% increase in personal consumption, beating analysts’ expectation of 3.7%, which indicates inflation remains elevated despite the soft GDP growth. U.S. inflation was at 5% in March 2023.
  • The Federal Reserve’s next move on interest rates is due on May 3. The Fed has carried out a year-long policy of rate hikes with the aim of bringing the pace of annual inflation below 2%. U.S. interest rates are currently between 4.75% to 5%, the highest since June 2006.
  • Analysts at the CME Group now expect a  14.6% chance the Fed will leave interest rates unchanged at its next meeting on May 3, while 85.4% predict a 25-basis-point increase, up from 73.1% on Thursday. 

See related article: Investment bank H.C. Wainwright says ‘crypto winter over,’ rates Coinbase a ‘buy’