Bitcoin moved higher in the US$30,000 band in Friday morning trading in Asia amid strong gains among the top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies. Ethereum led the winners following the blockchain’s Shanghai hard fork this week, jumping almost 10% and breaching the US$2,000 mark for the first time since August 2022. U.S. equities rallied overnight on softer readings in the U.S. producer price index (PPI) and jobless claims, adding to optimism the Federal Reserve could soon end its year-long cycle of raising interest rates to curb inflation.

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Fast facts

  • Bitcoin rose 2.54% to US$30,769 in the 24 hours to 09:00 a.m. in Hong Kong to post a weekly gain of 9.47%, according to CoinMarketCap data. The leading cryptocurrency has gained 83% so far this year as it seemed to rediscover a role as a hedge against inflation and recession and looks set to test US$31,000 as it moved within a couple of hundred dollars of that ceiling in later morning trading in Asia.
  • Bitcoin also found support after the London Stock Exchange Group plc. on Thursday said it had partnered with GFO-X – the UK’s first regulated and centrally cleared trading venue for digital asset derivatives – to provide the country’s first trading and clearing services for Bitcoin index derivatives, according to Reuters on Friday.
  • Ethereum jumped 9.97% to US$2,100, adding 11.66% for the week after the network’s Shanghai upgrade, which allows investors to withdraw their staked Ether for the first time. Etheruem holders have so far withdrawn around 215,000 staked Ether, while another 961,000 withdrawals are pending, according to data from Token Unlocks, which accounts for about 6% of the total staked Ether. 
  • Earlier speculation that the Shanghai upgrade may lead to a flood of selling and depress the price of the token isn’t panning out, Chen Zhuling, co-founder and CEO of crypto staking platform RockX, said in an interview on Thursday. Even if Ether are unstaked, it doesn’t necessarily mean that people are going to sell them, because they could also use it for other DeFi investments, he said.
  • Dogecoin jumped 6.25% to US$0.0885 to hold a weekly gain of 2.79%, after multi asset trading platform eToro announced on Thursday a partnership with Elon Musk’s Twitter to enable cryptocurrency and stock trading on the world’s leading social media platform.
  • Cardano rose 4.54% to US$0.4264, moving up 11.00% for the week. Cardano Foundation launched the alpha phase of Aiken on Thursday, an open-source smart contract language and toolchain that aims to simplify smart contract developments on the Cardano blockchain, according to the company.
  • The total crypto market capitalization rose 3.85% in the past 24 hours to US$1.28 trillion. The total trading volume over the last 24 hours edged down 0.05% to US$48.58 billion.
  • In the non-fungible token (NFT) market, the Forkast 500 NFT index added 0.82% to 4,017.62 in the 24 hours to 09:00 a.m. in Hong Kong, moving up 0.32% for the week. The index is a proxy measure of the performance of the global NFT market and includes 500 eligible smart contracts on any given day. It is managed by  CryptoSlam, a sister company of Forkast.News under the Forkast.Labs umbrella.
  • U.S. equities closed higher on Thursday after economic data pointed to a slowdown in inflation. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 1.14%, the S&P 500 moved up 1.33%, and the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 1.99%. 
  • U.S. PPI in March rose but at a 2.7% pace, or lower than the expected 3% to mark the smallest increase since January 2021, according to Reuters on Thursday. U.S. weekly jobless claims also pointed to a slowing economy with the figure of 239,000, higher than analysts’ expectation of 235,000, according to a Bloomberg report
  • Investor sentiment also got a lift from an unexpected surge in China exports in March, which jumped 14.8% from last year, well beyond the expectation of a 7% decrease, according to Reuters.
  • U.S. interest rates are currently between 4.75% to 5%, the highest since June 2006, and analysts at the CME Group now see a 33.5% chance the Fed will not raise interest rates at its next meeting on May 3, while 66.5% predict a 25-basis-point rate hike, down from 70.4% on Thursday. 
  • U.S. stock futures traded mixed as of 9:00 a.m. in Hong Kong. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 0.09%. The S&P 500 futures gained 0.05%. The Nasdaq Composite Index inched 0.02% higher.

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