Bitcoin fell and Ether rose during Monday afternoon trading in Hong Kong, while most of the top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies by market capitalization strengthened. Investor sentiment remained strong after the wave of institutional interest in crypto from a raft of Bitcoin spot exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications in the final weeks of June.

See related article: Weekly Market Wrap: Bitcoin breaches US$31,195 following Fidelity’s spot Bitcoin ETF application

Bitcoin slips, Ether inches up, top 10 cryptos in the green

Bitcoin inched down 0.31% from 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Hong Kong to US$30,632. Ether gained 0.4% in the same period to trade at US$1,963, floating above US$1,900 since Sunday.

Crypto investors remained optimistic after numerous spot Bitcoin ETF applications in June. Among the latest institutional players to join the race, asset management giant Fidelity filed a spot Bitcoin ETF application last week.

The U.S. regulator that approves ETFs, the Securities and Exchange Commission, 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. 

“It is obvious that a race is currently underway among institutional firms to get a Bitcoin ETF approved. Whether such an ETF will be approved soon and which one will be the first is known only to Mr Gensler, but it is safe to say that news of an approved ETF will have a positive impact on the Bitcoin price in both the short and long term,” Jonas Betz, crypto market analyst and founder of consultancy firm Betz Crypto, told Forkast.

“An ETF will significantly lower the barriers to exposure to Bitcoin by providing an easily accessible investment vehicle and thus boosting demand for Bitcoin.”

Polkadot’s Dot token was the day’s biggest gainer in the top 10, rising 4.48% to US$5.50, followed by Ether that increased 2.43% in the past 24 hours. The XRP token was the only one in the red, inching down 0.02% to US$0.4824.

The total crypto market capitalization over the past 24 hours rose 1.18% to US$1.21 trillion and market volume increased 20.72% to US$31.55 billion, according to CoinMarketCap data.

Bitcoin NFT sales fall, Ethereum NFT sales gain

The Forkast 500 NFT index fell 1.16% to 2,761.68 points in the 24 hours to 4:30 p.m. in Hong Kong and dropped 5.11% during the week. 

Bitcoin’s 24-hour non-fungible token sales fell 15.56% to US$2.57 million, as sales for Uncategorized Ordinals fell 34.38% to US$1.25 million.

Ethereum’s 24-hour NFT sales rose 7.54% to US$24.96 million, as sales for the largest Ethereum-native NFT collection, the Bored Ape Yacht Club, rose 1.76% to US$5.35 million, while Mutant Ape Yacht Club sales inched up 1.69% to US$2.4 million.

Azuki sales decreased 19.19% to US$1.89 million, after the new Azuki Elementals collection was criticized for being too similar to the original.

“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.

Among the Forkast Labs NFT indexes, the Forkast CAR NFT Composite was the only one in the green, inching up 0.84% to 967.02 points.

Asian equities, U.S. stock futures rise on signs of easing U.S.-China tension

Wall Street Signs in Manhattan, New York City
Image: elements.envato

Major Asian equities strengthened as of 4:30 p.m. in Hong Kong ahead of U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s trip to Beijing Wednesday to deepen communication between the two biggest global economies.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.7% and the Shenzhen Component Index inched up 0.59%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 2.06% and the Shanghai Composite strengthened 1.31%.

Investor sentiment was bolstered by comments from Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, who told CNN on Tuesday that U.S. inflation could fall to the Fed’s 2% target by 2025. But he also cautioned of a “higher probability of a mild recession.”

Most U.S. stock futures strengthened during Monday afternoon trading in Hong Kong, after falling U.S. inflation bolstered hopes of a less hawkish stance from the Federal Reserve. The S&P 500 futures index inched up 0.061%, the tech-heavy Nasdaq-100 futures strengthened 0.29% but the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 0.11%. 

Investors now await the release of the ISM Manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index and S&P Global Manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index for June, scheduled for Monday.

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. 

See related article: EU publishes draft bill for digital euro and cash payments

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