Bitcoin and Ether rose during afternoon trading in Asia on Friday, along with most of the top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, excluding the Solana and Tron tokens. Most Asian equities were up, while U.S. stock futures were down, pressured by the possibility of the first-ever U.S. default by June 1, unless a deal is reached to raise the government’s US$31.4 trillion debt ceiling.

See related article: Governments could access Ledger wallet private keys, says CEO

Bitcoin and Ether lead gains

Bitcoin rose 1.14% to US$26,512 in the 24 hours to 4:30 p.m. in Hong Kong, after declining below US$27,000 on Wednesday. Ether rose 1.69% to US$1,815.

“Bitcoin has doubled in price since 2023 while the Fed has been doing quantitative tightening. It definitely makes sense for Bitcoin to consolidate and then reprice to a fair value,” Johnny Louey Crypto Researcher Analyst at LiquidityTech Protocol, wrote in a LinkedIn response to Forkast. “The next catalyst for Bitcoin will be the next Federal Open Market Committee meeting in June.” 

Positive regulatory developments are needed to reignite bullish market momentum, according to Maia Benzimra, head of institutional marketing at decentralized finance yield platform Spool.

“If the week closes with Bitcoin above US$30,000, it’s a positive sign of an upward trend. [If it closes] below US$26,000, bearish sentiment may continue.”

Litecoin was the day’s biggest gainer in the top 10, rising 3.21% to US$87.16, followed by the XRP token that gained 3.09% to US$0.463.

The World Economic Forum released a white paper on crypto regulation Thursday, highlighting the necessity of crypto regulations and global cooperation to prevent ambiguity and inconsistent law enforcement. 

Ethereum NFT sales drop after two consecutive days of gains 

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.

The Forkast 500 NFT index fell 0.55% to 3,344.95 points in the 24 hours to 4:30 p.m. in Hong Kong and lost 1.36% during the week.

Ethereum’s 24-hour NFT sales dropped 25% to US$13.4 million, along with the Forkast ETH NFT Composite that rose 0.09% to 1,130.52 points. Sales for the largest Ethereum-based collection, the Bored Ape Yacht Club, fell 48.16% to 1.06 million. 24-hour sales for Milady Maker also fell 11.69% to US$678,420.

Yet, NFT sales on Bitcoin rose 23.76% to US$2.4 million, as 24-hour sales for $ORDI BRC-20 NFTs increased 1.37% to US$443,336, according to CryptoSlam.

Looking at the most notable NFT purchase of the past 24 hours, $ORDI BRC-20 NFT #05bbe8 sold for US$339,437 at 2:33 p.m. Hong Kong time. 

Asian equities rise, U.S. futures slip on looming fears of a governmental default 

Most Asian equities strengthened on Friday, except Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index that declined for a second consecutive day to a two-month low. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.37%, the Shanghai Composite rose 0.35% and the Shenzhen Component Index inched up 0.22%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped 1.93%.

Global investor sentiment was weighed down by fears that the U.S. will fail to reach an agreement on raising its US$31.4 trillion debt, which could lead to a default by June 1. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are closing in on a deal that would raise the debt ceiling for two years while capping spending on most items. The parties are just US$70 billion apart on a total sum that would exceed US$1 trillion, an unnamed source told Reuters on Thursday.

U.S. stock futures fell as of 4:30 p.m. in Hong Kong. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 0.2%, the S&P 500 futures index slipped 0.19% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq-100 futures inched down 0.025%.

The U.S. dollar inched up 0.19% to near a two-month high of 104 points, set for its third straight weekly advance bolstered by expectations that U.S. interest rates will remain high for longer than expected. The euro gained 0.16% to US$1.07.

Gold rose 0.69% to US$1,950 an ounce on Friday, but appeared to be heading for its third consecutive weekly decline, weighed by a rising dollar and expectations of elevated U.S. interest rates.

See related article: Big buys fail to lift NFT markets as regulatory uncertainty weighs heavy on crypto