Bitcoin seemed to have lost direction after strong gains earlier this month, but was holding above US$30,000 on Tuesday morning trading in Asia. Most other top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies fell after a week of rallies driven by crypto-related exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications in the U.S. Solana led the losers, while Tron managed a marginal gain. Stocks closed lower on Monday in the U.S. as investors focused on the outlook for interest rates and market risk after the aborted military mutiny in Russia over the weekend.

Bitcoin, Ether fall

Bitcoin slid 0.88% to US$30,254 over the last 24 hours to 6:45 a.m. in Hong Kong, according to data from CoinMarketCap. The world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization is still posting a gain of 12.89% over the past seven days.

Ether fell 2.22% to US$1,859, but is up 7.18% for the week.

Nearly all top 10 non-stablecoin cryptos dropped with the exception of Tron, which edged up 0.63% in the past day.

Solana was the biggest loser among the top 10, slumping 5% to reduce its gain for the week to 1.52%.

Markus Thielen, head of crypto research and strategy at digital asset service platform Matrixport, said in a Monday note that Bitcoin could see more gains in July.

“July tends to be a strong month for Bitcoin when prices have finished positive in seven out of the last 10 years, with average returns of 11%,” Thielen said. “The 2020, 2021 and 2022 returns were 24%, 20% and 27%, respectively. Hence, Bitcoin could be at US$33,000 to US$36,000 by August.”

Thielen added that Bitcoin has the strongest rallies during U.S. trading hours. “Claiming that ‘crypto is dead in the U.S.’ appears to be a misconception,” he said.

A Monday report from European cryptocurrency investment firm CoinShares said digital asset investment products saw a net inflow of US$199 million last week, the largest since July 2022.

“We believe this renewed positive sentiment is due to recent announcements from high-profile exchange-traded products issuers that have filed for physically backed ETFs with the US Securities and Exchange Commission,” the CoinShares report said.

Meanwhile, on Monday, a U.S. federal judge denied crypto exchange Binance’s request for the court to order the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) to change the language used in a press release on the exchange’s handling of customer assets. 

Binance lawyers said the press release was misleading and “appears to be designed to introduce unwarranted confusion into the marketplace.”

As part of the lawsuit the SEC filed against Binance earlier this month, D.C. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled Monday that it is not necessary or appropriate for the court to get involved in wordsmithing the parties’ press releases.

“Nor is it clear that the agency’s public relations efforts to date will materially affect proceedings in this case,” Judge Jackson wrote.

The BNB token issued by Binance fell 1.3% over the past 24 hours and lost 2.91% for the week.

The total cryptocurrency market cap rose 0.23% to US$1.18 trillion in the last 24 hours to 10:30 a.m. in Hong Kong, and the trading volume jumped 6.87% to US$36.4 billion, according to CoinMarketCap data.

Azuki NFT gains traction

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 dipped 0.43% to 2,896.65 in the 24 hours to 10:00 a.m. in Hong Kong. The index is up 1.05% for the week.

NFT transactions on Ethereum fell 7.5% over the past 24 hours to US$17.76 million, while transactions on the Bitcoin network surged 76% to US$7.84 million, according to CryptoSlam data.

Notably, sales of the Ethereum-based Azuki collection jumped 60% in the last 24 hours to US$4.3 million, making it the most-sold collection for the past day, as NFT enthusiasts await the Tuesday minting of Azuki’s new Elementals collection.

“With the collection size being 20,000, and 10,000 already given to existing Azuki holders as an airdrop following their ‘Follow the Rabbit’ conference in Las Vegas last Friday, this sale is expected to bring in north of US$35 million [on Tuesday],” said Yehudah Petscher, NFT Strategist at Forkast Labs, the parent company of Forkast.News.

Petscher added that the new Elementals collection has been the talk of the town within the NFT community, and traders are looking for liquidity in anticipation of the upcoming mint.

“The narrative in the NFT space is that Azuki seems primed to give Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) a run for being the top NFT collection,” Petscher said.

The floor price of BAYC stood at 36.29 Ether on Blur on Tuesday morning in Asia, falling 3% over the past day and losing 10.37% over the past week.

Large BAYC holders such as Machi and Franklin have together sold over 60 Bored Apes, and other whales are selling mid-tier Apes at the floor, “leading savvy traders to scoop them up and quickly flip them for profits,” according to Petscher.

U.S. stock futures rise

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Chinese Premier Li Qiang. Image: Getty Images

U.S. stock futures edged higher as of 11:00 a.m. in Hong Kong. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 0.15%, S&P 500 futures added 0.2%, and Nasdaq Futures gained 0.2%.

Equity markets across Asia were mixed on Tuesday morning after U.S. stocks closed lower overnight amid recession fears.

In macroeconomic developments, Chinese Premier Li Qiang said Tuesday that China is still on track to reach its annual growth target of around 5%, CNBC reported. China’s GDP grew by 4.5% in the first quarter of this year, official data showed.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Tianjin, Li said China’s economy is rebounding and improving.

In the U.S., indicators for this week on the state of the economy include home sales, consumer confidence reports and jobless claims. 

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will also be speaking at the European Central Bank Forum in Sintra, Portugal, on Wednesday and again on Thursday at the Banco de España Fourth Conference on Financial Stability in Madrid, Spain.

Investors continue to watch the risk outlook of potential interest rate hikes, with Powell saying last week that the central bank is in consensus on the need for more rate increases this year.

U.S. interest rates are now between 5% and 5.25%, the highest since 2006. The CME FedWatch Tool predicts a 75.6% chance for another 25-basis-point rate hike, and a 24.4% chance the Fed will leave rates unchanged at the next meeting on July 26.

(Updates to add equities section)