Bitcoin fell 3.45% in the week from Oct. 6 to Oct. 13, while Ether reached a seven-month low of US$1,524. The cryptocurrency market has been pressured by growing geopolitical concerns, the ongoing trial of Sam-Bankman Fried and the looming potential of another interest rate hike.
Bitcoin’s stability tested amid geopolitical storms
Bitcoin inched up 0.01% in the 24 hours leading up to 6:00 p.m. in Hong Kong, to trade at US$26,745, the day the U.S. announced its September inflation data. The world’s first cryptocurrency fell 3.45% during the past week.
“Bitcoin is trying to consolidate above the US$26,800 level after losing all of its gains recorded during this October and falling to the US$26,521,” Samer Hasn, market analyst at Australia-based asset broker XS.com, said in a written statement.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.4% on the month and 3.7% on an annual basis, matching the August print and slightly above expectations of 3.6%. The CPI reading bolstered bets that the Federal Reserve would leave its benchmark borrowing rate unchanged at its next interest rate decision on Halloween day.
The CME FedWatch Tool predicts a 90.3% chance that interest rates will remain unchanged, up from 72.9% a week ago. But Nigel Green, the chief executive officer of asset manager deVere Group, said that the Fed will likely implement another final rate hike at its Oct. 31 meeting.
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“The Fed will be conscious of growing uncertainty of the trajectory of the world’s largest economy and the risks of overtightening – especially in times of growing geopolitical uncertainty; while at the same time, want to avoid complacency in the continuing battle against inflation.”
The past weekend brought increased geopolitical tensions, as Israel declared war on Hamas on Saturday, prompting Israeli crypto firms to launch Crypto Aid Israel on Monday, a humanitarian crypto fund for war victims in need of aid.
Bitcoin has since fallen from US$28,141 last Friday to a low of US$26,594 on Wednesday.
“These declines in the cryptocurrency market come amid the prevailing negative sentiment, with the continued dominance of regulatory concerns surrounding this market, in the absence of fundamentally positive developments that may restore some confidence to investors,” wrote Hasn.
In the wider crypto space, investors have been following the developments around the ongoing criminal trial of Sam Bankman-Fried. Former Alameda Research co-CEO Caroline Ellison testified this week, revealing that she previously deceived lenders with balance sheets that made Alameda look less risky. She also told the court that Bankman-Fried planned to raise funds from the Saudi Crown Prince and that Alameda staff only found out about the misappropriated FTX customer funds last November.
Ethereum: top Bitcoin alternative
Ether, the world’s second-largest currency by market cap, fell to a seven-month low of US$1,524 on Thursday, a price level last seen in March, according to CoinMarketCap data. The coin fell 5.59% in the past week to change hands at US$1,543 as of 6:00 p.m. in Hong Kong.
Despite its poor performance, a recent study conducted by Marketplace Fairness found that Ether was the most popular Bitcoin alternative in 2023, leading worldwide search results with over 3.26 million monthly searches, followed by Dogecoin with 1.65 million monthly searches.
“Ethereum’s ability to convert users and activity into economic value continues to create network effects that could make many alternative layer-1 (Alt-L1) blockchains obsolete in future years,” wrote Jamie Coutts, a senior market structure analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, in a research note shared with Forkast.
Ethereum averaged US$4.8 million in daily fees in the third quarter of 2023, which represents 57% of average daily fees generated across all smart contract blockchains.
“Though new L2s on Bitcoin could realize its potential, Ethereum’s position as numero uno remains uncontested in the world of smart-contract blockchains,” wrote Coutts.
Forkast 500 hits new all-time low; Polygon proposes ApeChain
The Forkast 500 NFT Index fell 4.02% to 1,841.15 points in the week from Sept. 6 to Sept. 13. The index reached a new all-time low of 1,810.25 points on Friday.
Ethereum’s weekly non-fungible token (NFT) sales volume fell 6.1% to US$32.44 million, boosted by a 5,672% sales increase in the Cryptoadz collection, which generated US$1.67 million for the network.
Yet, blue-chip NFT collections took a beating, with the Bored Ape Yacht Club’s weekly sales falling 23.6% to US$3.36 million, while CryptoPunks sales fell 51.7% to US$1.43 million, according to CryptoSlam.
NFT production on Ethereum, or the value of the primary sales generated from NFT minting, fell to an all-time low of US$17.55 million in September, down 12.4% from US$20.05 million in August, according to Forkast Labs data.
“While global NFT sales continue to slide and reach new lows, we actually are seeing pretty significant milestones across NFTS,” said Yehudah Petscher, NFT strategist at Forkast Labs.
“The Museum of Modern Art acquired their first NFT this week when they welcomed Refik Anadol’s Unsupervised – Machine Learning into their permanent collection.”
This week, Polygon co-founder Sandeep Nailwal proposed for ApeCoin DAO to use Polygon’s development tools to build “ApeChain,” an Ethereum layer-2 for Yuga Labs’ gaming ecosystem.
See related article: UK committee calls for tighter NFT copyright and fan token measures
Next week: Can Bitcoin recapture US$27,000?
Next week, investors will be looking forward to speeches from Federal Reserve members including Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Patrick Harker, Federal Reserve System Governor Lisa D. Cook and Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Lorie K. Logan. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will also be speaking next Thursday at the Economic Club of New York Luncheon.
The official cryptocurrency of the Bored Ape Yacht Club ecosystem, ApeCoin, is set to unlock 15.60 million APE tokens, worth around US$16.43 million, scheduled for Oct. 17. This represents 4.23% of ApeCoin’s circulating supply.