Bitcoin surges back above $24,000

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Bitcoin has surged back above $24,000 in the past week, taking it to levels not seen since August 2022. The cryptoasset had a strong week of performance rising across the board.

BTC began the week trading around $21,500 and soared above $24,000 on Thursday. Despite a fall away the next day, it has since steadied above this level, writes Simon Peters, cryptoasset analyst at multi-asset investment platform eToro.

Ether meanwhile had a similarly strong week, beginning around $1,500 before soaring above $1,700 briefly on the eToro platform – its highest level since September 2022. It is currently trading around $1,680.

The crypto market has been on tenterhooks in recent days as regulatory action ramps up in the US. But as far as the two major cryptoassets by market cap go, it would appear investors continue to shrug off these developments and the market is benefitting as a result.

 

Bitcoin is largely unaffected by macroeconomic news and issues, according to a report from the New York Federal Reserve. The report has significant potential implications for the cryptoasset, which the authors describe as ‘puzzling.’

It became one of the themes to watch in 2022, crypto market correlation with traditional markets, as investors around the world reacted to rising inflation and subsequent rate hikes. But according to the report, this is all noise to bitcoin which moves ‘orthogonally’ to monetary and macro news developments.

The report stands in contrast to most mainstream thinking around bitcoin at the moment, where markets did indeed seem to correlate more heavily last year – although this year that correlation has been less apparent. However, if bitcoin does indeed move differently to macroeconomic events then it could provide significant support for using it as a hedge against other markets – akin to gold.

 

The BoJ has joined a raft of other central banks in planning for a potential CBDC and is exploring the technical feasibility of a digital yen. CBDCs are gaining traction at a time when questions loom over crypto markets, but essentially stand in contrast to the decentralised nature of sectors such as DeFi.

With this lack of decentralisation, these CBDCs create some worrying questions. How anonymous is the data? Can the central bank track your spending? What are the limitations? The recently announced Bank of England CBDC project could have a limit of £20,000 per holder, which seems like an arbitrarily low amount to limit balances to.

The problem with CBDCs ultimately is they are a vague policy technology response to what has already become a thriving environment of crypto and stablecoins. Central banks looking to gain back control over digital assets will push on with these ideas, but could find adoption to be lacking when it comes to implementation.

The NFT market, which experienced meteoric rises in 2021 and a sorry episode in 2022, is getting interesting again. A new player in the market Blur.io has just surpassed OpenSea in daily ether trading volumes, suggesting the hold on the market the latter held until recently is waning. In response, OpenSea has implemented 0% fees for user transactions for a limited time.

However, contrary to the idea that this is a mark of desperation or struggle from the once dominant player, it suggests that the NFT marketplace is very much alive and well with innovation and competition. OpenSea for its part also criticised Blur for forcing NFT creators to choose between platforms and rolling back earnings.

Ultimately users in the space – be they creator or collector – will vote with their feet on the best solution for them. That is how open and healthy markets function, and is good for the end user when they are given that choice. Where it becomes a problem is when one player dominates and dictates the market rules to everyone else.

 

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