Monday, 18 March 2024

Market Summary

Market Summary 18 March 2024

Bitcoin Price: US$ 68,393.48 (+4.74%) 
Ethereum Price: US$ 3,644.71 (+3.45%) 

BlackRock’s spot Bitcoin ETF, IBIT, achieved a new daily trading volume record of over $3.9 billion on March 14, surpassing its previous record set less than 10 days ago. This occurred despite a 6% drop in Bitcoin’s price during the U.S. trading day, which has since started to recover. Meanwhile, Senators Jack Reed and Laphonza Butler have urged SEC Chair Gary Gensler to halt the approval of additional cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds (ETFs), citing concerns about potential risks to retail investors, particularly in thinly traded markets susceptible to fraud and manipulation. Their letter highlights worries about fraud and manipulation in thinly traded cryptocurrency markets, particularly for altcoins, despite recent approvals for spot Bitcoin ETFs. This suggests mounting political pressure on Gensler and makes an Ether ETF approval in May seem less likely, according to industry experts. 

Bitcoin mining difficulty hit a new high of 83.95 trillion hashes on March 14, coinciding with a record-high BTC price of $73,835, indicating growing investor interest ahead of the upcoming halving. The new difficulty high was set as Bitcoin reached a rate of 613.94 exahashes per second (EH/s), up 5.8% from the previous measurement of 79.35 trillion on Feb. 29. Meanwhile, Solana network activity surpassed Ethereum over the weekend, reaching a total trading volume of $3.52 billion amid a surge in demand for Solana-based memecoins, although the network struggled to keep up, experiencing frequent instances of failed or missing transactions. The significant uptick in Solana network activity was driven by the popularity of new memecoins like Book of Meme (BOME) and Nap (NAP), causing SOL to rally to $200, making it the fourth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap at $88.5 billion. Additionally, pro-XRP lawyer John Deaton expressed confidence in his bid to challenge Senator Elizabeth Warren in the Massachusetts Senate race, investing $500,000 of his own money into the campaign and urging his social media followers to support him in raising $1 million by the end of the quarter. Despite tensions with crypto critics like Warren, Deaton remains focused on taking on the Washington elites, aiming to represent crypto-friendly voices in government. 

OpenAI’s Mira Murati expressed uncertainty regarding the source of training data for Sora, the company’s video-generating AI model, during an interview with The Wall Street Journal. While she mentioned using publicly available or licensed data, she hesitated to confirm whether social media platforms like YouTube or Facebook were sources, later confirming Shutterstock data was used. Meanwhile, Vanguard’s CEO, Tim Buckley, maintained a firm stance against Bitcoin ETFs, cautioning against their inclusion in retirement portfolios due to volatility, even amidst inquiries about the firm’s plans following SEC approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs. Despite customer pushback, Vanguard affirmed its decision not to offer crypto products, prompting some to move their investments elsewhere. Lastly, the World Economic Forum reported a surge in U.S. manufacturing firms exploring the industrial metaverse to address production challenges, with executives investigating various use cases, such as predictive forecasting and digital twin technology, to enhance efficiency and cost-effectiveness. 


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