Bitcoin hits 12-month high 

Bitcoin has traded to its highest level in 12 months, reaching just above $31,000 on the eToro platform. It is the highest price for the cryptoasset since early May 2022 when the price was falling in a period of major volatility, writes Simon Peters, cryptoasset market analyst at eToro.

Main drivers of last week’s rally appear to have been several institutional news developments such as the BlackRock attempt to launch a bitcoin ETF. There are however some underlying developments in the bitcoin market that might be giving support to positive price movements.

Chief among this is an increasing limit on supply of tokens for trading. According to data from Glassnode, there are now more than one million “whole coiners” – bitcoin owners who own at least one whole token. This increase does not correlate with price movement but adoption, as a steady increase has been observed over more than a decade.

Interesting to note is ether seems absent from the recent price rally for bitcoin. In the past, both cryptoassets have tended to rally in sequence with the whole market, but more recently performance variations have definitely opened up. Indeed, ether has hardly moved in price terms during the most recent bitcoin rally, having oscillated between $1,800 and $1,900 in the past month.

Mastercard expanding crypto access

Major global payments network Mastercard has announced it is expanding its ‘Engage’ program to enable more crypto firms and users to make payments with tokens.

One of the biggest changes we’ve seen in the past two years for the crypto ecosystem is the increasing institutional involvement in processes and projects. As the sector has looked for stability in the wake of difficult periods, the increasing involvement of firms such as Mastercard is unsurprising.

Payments and transactions are still a sometimes-complex process in crypto, particularly when it comes to working between blockchains or differing cryptoassets. While stablecoins provide a valuable solution to this, payment networks such as Mastercard already have vast reach which – if executed in the right way (i.e. adhering to crypto standards such as decentralization, blockchain recording etc) then it could prove a promising development for the market.

JPMorgan launches euro blockchain settlements

JPMorgan, one of the largest investment banks in the world, has launched euro-denominated blockchain settlements and payments for clients.

The firm has had its own blockchain-based token, JPM Coin, for some years now. But until this point it has been purely internally utilized, having settled around $300 billion in payments. Now however, it is expanding access to the token and allowing clients to settle payments on the network. Siemens AG was the first to settle a payment with the firm.

The expansion of JPMorgan’s program points to the successful innovation of blockchain in a variety of financial infrastructure capabilities. This is one of the real growing areas of crypto in 2023, as institutional and long-standing firms see the benefits of using blockchain to conduct financial activities. Within this is a growing cohort of crypto and DeFi firms looking to better facilitate those activities and is an area for investors to watch closely.

Institutional potential sends Bitcoin above $30k



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