Bitcoin pulls back on rate hike jitters

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Bitcoin has retreated somewhat from its eight-month highs, falling from above $24,500 at the beginning of the week to now trade around $23,200.

Ether has similarly trended down over the past week, where it began close to $1,700 but is now moving around $1,620, writes Simon Peters, cryptoasset analyst at multi-asset investment platform eToro.


While still markedly above their lows, the crypto market is looking tentative in the face of the possibility of stickier than expected inflation and labor market in both the US and elsewhere. This macro data is key in central banks’ thinking around rate hikes with main markets now pricing in no rate cuts in 2023.

While bitcoin and ether don’t seem to be in full on fear, there is most certainly an element of jitters among market participants watching for fresh updates, and this is showing in the price movement of the past week.

Ethereum whales dominate supply

The volume of ether tokens held by so-called whales is far higher than that of bitcoin, according to data from IntoTheBlock published in Finbold. Whales – exceptionally large cryptoasset holders – hold some 39% of the ether supply according to the figures, while for bitcoin the equivalent is just 11%.

Is this a cause for concern? While it’s true that a large amount of the ether tokens are pooled in a smaller number of hands, this doesn’t necessarily present an existential threat to the network. The ownership of the token is still diffuse and decentralized, but simply less so than bitcoin. For substantial changes to be made to the network these owners would have to coalesce and push for changes in a coordinated way – but even then 39% is no controlling majority.

Ownership by whales can also have implications for the price movement of the token. Whales that dump large amounts onto the market to sell can move the price. But the opposite is also true.

While it’s worth watching as a metric, ultimately it is just one of many that feeds into the cryptoasset price. Investors are at an advantage compared to other kinds of traditional assets because this information is all freely available and observable on the blockchain.


Google has made a deal with Tezos to become a block validator on the Tezos network. In exchange, Google Cloud will offer Tezos validation services via its platform.

Tezos is an open-source blockchain created to enable peer-to-peer transactions and serve as a platform to deploy smart contracts. It is very much focused on the infrastructure side of the crypto ecosphere. From that perspective it makes sense that Google – itself a key infrastructure pillar of Web 2.0 – would want to explore opportunities to build a presence in Web 3.0.

The Tezos cryptoasset tez (XTZ) is still way below its all-time highs set in October 2021. Its price spiked last week on the announcement but us trading back within its relative range. The partnership with Google is unlikely to move mountains in valuation terms in the short- to medium-term, but long-term suggests a positive direction of travel for the project with such illustrious partners in play.

IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva has said the IMF prefers more regulation of crypto over banning of the asset class.

It is encouraging to see such an influential organisation call for a measured response from regulators of the sector, rather than outright banning. Regulation can play a key part in protecting investors while still enabling the best innovations to move forward for the industry.

Looking at regions such as the UK or Singapore, there is a clear movement in this direction, with regulation looking to create a framework for the sector to operate within rather than preventing activities completely. After a volatile 2022, sensible regulation will help the market to move forward into new ground while ensuring participants are protected in the right ways.



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