Thursday, 21 March 2024

Market Summary

Market Summary 21 March 2024

Bitcoin Price: US$ 67,840.51 (+9.53%) 
Ethereum Price: US$ 3,516.53 (+11.53%) 

In 2023, the tokenised US Treasurys market saw a remarkable 641% growth, reaching $845 million in market capitalisation by the end of the year, driven by traditional finance companies and protocols like Franklin Templeton and Mountain Protocol. However, growth slowed down in 2024, with only a 1.9% increase in January, bringing the market capitalisation to $861 million as of Feb. 1. Alongside tokenised treasuries, CoinGecko highlighted the rise of commodity-backed tokens, reaching a market capitalisation of $1.1 billion, with projects even tokenising uranium. Meanwhile, cybersecurity concerns persist in the crypto space, with a hacker moving $10 million in Ether from a 2023 phishing incident to Tornado Cash, highlighting the ongoing threat of phishing attacks and token approval vulnerabilities. In response, efforts like those by the Layerswap team demonstrate swift action against breaches, though losses from attacks continue to pose challenges. Looking forward, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) aims to develop outcome-based crypto policies to balance consumer protection, market integrity, and financial innovation, reflecting a broader trend of regulatory adaptation to promote responsible financial innovation and trust in digital assets. 

OKX cryptocurrency exchange announced the termination of its services in India, attributing the decision to local regulatory challenges following compliance notices from the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Indian Ministry of Finance to foreign crypto exchanges. OKX urged Indian users to close their accounts and withdraw funds by April 30, reflecting the complex regulatory landscape hindering crypto operations in India, despite its status as a burgeoning market. Meanwhile, Ethereum developers launched the “Pump The Gas” initiative to increase Ethereum’s gas limit from 30 million to 40 million, aiming to reduce transaction fees and scale the network. This effort, supported by core Ethereum developers and stakeholders, seeks to address the network’s scalability concerns and improve transaction efficiency. Additionally, United States spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) experienced a third consecutive day of net outflows totalling $261.5 million on March 20, primarily driven by significant outflows from the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), underscoring investor sentiment amid market fluctuations and anticipation of Bitcoin’s upcoming halving event. 

The reported SEC probe into the Ethereum Foundation has raised concerns among industry experts that it could hinder the approval process for spot Ether exchange-traded funds (ETFs), potentially leading to delays or denials. The subpoenas issued to companies associated with the Ethereum Foundation have prompted speculation of a coordinated effort to classify ETH as a security, despite previous statements from SEC Chair Gary Gensler affirming Ether’s non-security status. Travis Kling and others have labeled the situation as a potential “coordinated attack” on Ethereum, with implications for ETF approvals. While some, like Patrick McHenry, chair of the House Financial Services Committee, criticise the reported move, others, including Brian Quintenz, argue that the SEC has previously acknowledged Ether’s non-security status. Nonetheless, the SEC’s continued delay in deciding on spot Ether ETFs applications has fueled uncertainty, with analysts revising their approval odds downward. Meanwhile, Elon Musk’s Neuralink showcased remarkable progress in brain implant technology, enabling quadriplegic patient Noland Arbaugh to play computer games using his mind, highlighting the potential for transformative advancements in healthcare. Additionally, asset management giant BlackRock received attention after depositing $100 million in USDC on Ethereum, with subsequent transfers of memecoins and NFTs to its wallet, signalling growing interest in tokenisation and blockchain integration among traditional financial institutions. 


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