Bitcoin prices gained in Tuesday afternoon trade in Asia to remain above US$30,000. Ether and all other top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies strengthened in the past 24 hours on market expectations of a rally in Bitcoin prices by end of this year. Polygon, Solana and BNB were the biggest gainers.

See related article: Global crypto industry worth US$180 billion, says K33 Research report

Bitcoin rises past US$31,000 before slipping

Bitcoin rose 1.42% to US$30,540 in 24 hours to 4 p.m. in Hong Kong, but has lost 1.19% over the past seven days, according to CoinMarketCap data. The world’s biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalization fell after rising as high as US$31,026 in the last 24 hours. In the same period, Bitcoin’s market capitalization has risen 1.48% to about US$593 billion. 

Bitcoin prices gained after Standard Chartered bank said the token is likely to reach US$50,000 by the end of 2023 and US$120,000 at the end of 2024, according to Reuters on Tuesday.

Optimism in Bitcoin also strengthened after several traditional finance (TradFi) companies, including BlackRock, WisdomTree, Invesco and Bitwise, filed Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications in the U.S. last month, indicating faith in the token and in the digital assets sector.  

“Going by the historical price patterns of Bitcoin, the bull run could come in 2025 or late 2024 after the next halving in 2024,” Rajagopal Menon, Vice President of WazirX, India’s largest crypto exchange by volume, told Forkast in an emailed response. 

“TradFi institutions have entered crypto in large numbers and even though they haven’t improved spot trading volume on exchanges, futures and options trading has seen an uptick,” Menon added.

According to European cryptocurrency investment firm CoinShares, cryptocurrency-linked investment products saw net inflows of US$136 million in the week ending July 7, marking the third consecutive week of inflows and fully correcting the prior nine weeks of outflows.

Ether, the second-biggest cryptocurrency, gained 1.45% to US$1,883, but lost 3.41% on the week. 

“It really was about as bad as it could’ve been for the crypto market last year. And 2023 has, so, far been characterized by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ramping up oversight in the digital asset space,” Nigel Green, chief executive of financial advisory firm deVere Group, said in an emailed statement on Tuesday.

“The fact, then, Bitcoin has gained 80% already in 2023, putting it on track for its best annual performance since 2020, and that Ethereum prices are also up 52% so far this year, is truly impressive,” Green added. 

Polygon’s Matic token gained the most among the top 10 non-stablecoin cryptos, rising 9.43% to US$0.742 in the last 24 hours, bringing its weekly gains to 5.11%. The higher prices come as Polygon Labs announced its Polygon 2.0 roadmap on June 30, vowing to become the “Value Layer of the Internet.”

Solana and BNB also led gains, both rising over 6% in the last 24 hours. Solana rose 6.8% to US$22.11, and 15.66% on the week. 

BNB, the native token of world’s largest crypto exchange Binance, added 6.22% to US$247.20, and 0.83% in the last seven days. 

The total crypto market capitalization strengthened 1.64% to US$1.19 trillion, while crypto market volume gained 44.7% to US$33.02 billion in the past 24 hours. 

NFT volumes drop on Ether, Bitcoin

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 dropped 0.37% to 2,735.75 in 24 hours to 6 p.m. in Hong Kong, after losing 0.49% in the past seven days.

In the same period, the Forkast ETH NFT Composite lost 0.09% to 930.53, bringing its weekly losses to 0.98%.

Total sales volume on Ethereum dropped 1.18% to US$15.45 million, while that on the Bitcoin network fell 36.63% to US$4.53 million, according to CryptoSlam data

“Traders seem to be out of liquidity and most are accepting the idea that the NFT market will continue to decline,” said Yehudah Petscher, NFT Strategist at Forkast Labs, the parent company of Forkast.News.

By collection, trading volume in Ethereum-based Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT collection topped the list, edging up 5.41% to US$1.91 million in the past 24 hours. The Bitcoin-based $FRAM BRC-20 NFTs and uncategorized Ordinals inscriptions ranked the second and the third.

Among use cases for NFTs, a new loan was taken out on a luxury watch on Monday. A lender gave out a US$35,000 loan at 12% interest rate using a Patek Phillipe as collateral. 

“For those asking ‘why does this need an NFT?’ It’s because it gives access to more liquidity across the globe,” Petscher explained.

Elsewhere, SuperRare, an NFT marketplace for digital artworks, has announced an exhibition  – A Digital Transcendence – The Intersection of Art and Tech – to be held from July 13. The exhibition will host work of digital artists Botto, Camibus, Emily Xie, Jack Kaido, Matt Kane, Osinachi, and William Mapen x Christiane Lemieux

Founded in 2018, SuperRare NFT marketplace has clocked over US$300 million in total sales while artists have earned over US$180 million to date, the company said in an emailed statement on Monday. 

U.S. stock futures, Asian, European equities rise

Image: Envato Elements

All Asian equity markets strengthened on Tuesday on hopes for a fresh round of stimulus in China. The People’s Bank of China and National Financial Regulatory Administration said in a joint statement on Monday that the nation would take measures to improve the ailing property market. These measures include encouraging financial institutions to extend property firms’ outstanding loans through negotiations. 

The Shanghai Composite, Shenzhen Component, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index and Japan’s Nikkei 225 strengthened by the end of the trading day on Tuesday. 

U.S. stock futures increased as of 7 p.m. in Hong Kong, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures, the S&P 500 futures, and the Nasdaq 100 Futures gaining.

Investors are looking forward to the latest U.S. consumer price index data, scheduled for release on Wednesday, as well as the June producer price index due on Thursday. The indicators will point to the current inflation situation in the world’s biggest economy as well as provide insight on what could be the Federal Reserve’s future direction on interest rates.

The U.S. central bank will meet on July 26 to decide on its next move on interest rates, which are currently between 5% and 5.25%. 

PepsiCo, Delta Air, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and BlackRock are set to release second quarter earnings later this week. 

European bourses gained on Tuesday on hopes the Federal Reserve is coming to the end of its interest rate hiking cycle. The benchmark STOXX 600 and Germany’s DAX 40 strengthened during Tuesday afternoon trading hours in Europe.

The U.K. announced on Tuesday that its unemployment rate rose to 4% in the three months to May, while the economy struggles with persistent inflation. 

The U.K. Minister for Employment, Guy Opperman, told FXStreet, “It’s encouraging to see inactivity falling, vacancies dropping, and employment on the up. To get prices down and help make mortgages manageable, we must halve inflation and grow our economy.”

(Updates with equity section)