Monday, 29 January 2024

Market Summary

Market Summary 29 January 2024

Bitcoin Price: US$42,031.06 (-0.21%)
Ethereum Price: US$ 2,256.90 (-0.49%)

Starting January 29, Google is set to update its policies to allow certain cryptocurrency products to be advertised on major search engines, leading to speculation within the crypto industry about Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) meeting the criteria. The revision allows ads from “advertisers offering Cryptocurrency Coin Trust targeting the United States,” aligning with the recent approval of 11 spot Bitcoin ETFs by the SEC. Analysts are optimistic about potential Bitcoin ETF inflows, citing Google’s high transaction processing capacity in searches. Meanwhile, in Finland, the National Bureau of Investigation traced Monero transactions in a criminal trial involving a hacker demanding ransom payments in cryptocurrencies. The hacker, Julius Aleksanteri Kivimäki, targeted a psychotherapy service provider’s database, with evidence showing a crypto trail leading to his bank account. In Nigeria, local crypto analyst Rume Ophi suggests the SEC’s crypto licensing requirements need revisiting to enable local exchanges to obtain licenses, as the existing guidelines are not favourable to indigenous crypto exchanges. The current upfront capital requirement is a barrier for many local exchanges.

The chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Rostin Behnam, has expressed concerns that the recent approval of spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) might be misinterpreted as robust regulations for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Behnam emphasised that while the approval allows exposure to Bitcoin without holding the asset directly, there is no regulatory oversight for the cash market of digital assets, including crypto exchanges. He highlighted potential risks related to transparency, trade settlement, conflicts of interest, data reporting, cybersecurity, customer protection, and market integrity. Meanwhile, BlackRock’s Bitcoin ETF, the iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT), reached $2 billion in assets under management (AUM) just two weeks after its debut on Nasdaq, leading in the race for investors’ capital. The fund’s success is attributed to BlackRock’s market reputation, competitive fees, and a strategic communication approach targeting a broader audience, including baby boomers. In a separate incident, an unknown hacker maintained control of the X account of Algorand Foundation CEO Staci Warden for 15 hours, posting messages containing racial slurs and insults, highlighting vulnerabilities in platform security.

The Stellar blockchain is likely to postpone its upgrade to introduce Ethereum-style smart contracts as a bug was discovered in the Stellar Core v20.1.0 software, prompting the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) to reconsider the Jan. 30 target date. Despite initially deeming the bug low-risk, the SDF, after feedback from the developer community, plans to “disarm” its own validators to prevent them from voting for the upgrade. If less than five organisations vote for the upgrade, it won’t have sufficient quorum to be accepted, leading to a likely postponement. Meanwhile, Chris Burniske, a partner at Placeholder, suggests Bitcoin’s local bottom hasn’t been hit, anticipating a drop to $30,000-$36,000 or even the mid-high $20,000 area before an eventual move towards a new all-time high. On another note, Coinbase’s stock received an upgrade to “outperform” from Oppenheimer, with a price target of $160, citing the company’s strength, management toughness, and the likelihood of winning its lawsuit against the SEC. The recent approval of ten spot Bitcoin ETFs, for which Coinbase serves as a custodian, is seen as a driving force for increased adoption and trading volume. Despite JPMorgan’s recent downgrade, Oppenheimer anticipates Coinbase’s profitability and a potential 66% increase in trading volume year-over-year.


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