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Bitcoin Concede to $30K Hurdle as Mask Network (MASK) Leads Gainers

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Bitcoin on cash

Bitcoin (BTC) swiftly climbed past $30,100 early on Thursday as bulls made another attempt to overcome the barrier at $30,000 in the face of gradually depreciating momentum. Like other unsuccessful prior efforts this week, the move was accompanied by harsh rejection to familiar grounds below the psychological resistance. Markedly, the price of the flagship asset has, on each day this week, retreated towards late June levels of $29,690.

Bitcoin neutralized heading into the weekend, altcoins cool off

Despite multiple attempts to recover from the midweek one-month low range, Bitcoin has thus far failed to flip the $30K level to support. Ethereum corrected in tandem, losing grip of the elusive $2,000 mark, and was changing hands at $1,890 at press time. Other larger cap altcoins, which recorded modest rallies last week – and some this week – have cooled down for the most part. The trio of Polygon (MATIC), Solana (SOL) and Cardano (ADA) has remained unchanged on Friday.

Meanwhile, XRP has remained top among many speculators' watchlists. XRP (XRP) price enjoyed a massive upswing after the ruling last Thursday before registering mild gains over the weekend and some more this week. The US District Court of the Southern District of New York ruled that XRP sales to other buyers, except institutional investors to whom more than $700 million worth of XRP were sold, didn't violate securities laws.

The payments-focused token broke past $0.80 on Tuesday for the first time since March 2022 but gave up the gains during Wednesday and Thursday trading sessions. The XRP/USD pair was spotted at $0.78 when writing – up 57% in the last 30 days per CoinMarketCap data.

MASK and MKR tokens impress on the daily chart

Maker's governance token MKR is the day's top gainer, trading 12.50% in the green ahead of Chainlink (LINK), whose price moved up by a similar margin during Thursday's period. The latter's gains came on the back of bullish news of the introduction of the CCIP protocol and represented the first successful breach of the $8 level in three months.

To learn more about Maker, check out our Investing in Maker guide.

The positive price action around Maker (MKR) follows early Friday reports of two major transactions involving the token.  MKR briefly traded above $1,200 at the peak of the surge but has since lost part of the momentum and moved lower to $1,140. This week, the lending protocol activated Smart Burn Engine, a token buyback program that rids part of MKR supply from the market by periodically allocating DAI stablecoin from Maker's surplus buffer.

“The main difference between the Smart Burn Engine and the previous burn design is that in the new Smart Burn Engine, MKR tokens will be accumulated in the form of Univ2 LP tokens instead of being acquired and burned. In addition, Surplus Auctions (flaps) will be replaced by Dss Flappers 25,” the proposal explains.

XDC Network's XDC is another among the best performing alts, having gained 6.50% in the last 24 hours. Mask Network's MASK has registered double digit gains during the same period and was last trading at $4.10. Conversely, Stellar (XLM) has tracked a notable decline among large-cap alts, down 6.80% on Friday evening.

To learn more about MASK, check out our Investing in Mask Network guide

Arkham token (ARKM) debuts on Binance

In other market headlines this week, Binance completed the public sale of Arkham (ARKM) tokens, whose allocation to participants was based on the amount of BNB staked by the user during the six-day subscription period. Binance also opened trading for several ARKM pairs on its platform after concluding the sale for on-chain analytics provider Arkham Intelligence.

The blockchain intelligence firm controversially unveiled what it termed ‘the first on-chain intelligence exchange' on July 10, where users can buy or sell data related to the blockchain address owners. The public token sale held on Binance Launchpad reached the hard limit of $2.5 million with a 4.92 ARKM tokens per BNB conversion rate.

The exchange reported that more than 110,000 users took part in the Arkham subscription launchpad committing a total of 10.18 million BNB. The token sold for $0.05 ahead of going live, with investors allowed a maximum allocation of $15,000. On the exchange, the token debuted at $0.75 but has since slid to $0.6275 with a market cap of $94 million at writing. Notably, around 850 million tokens remain locked and will be distributed over eight years.

Upcoming token unlocks

Other crypto and DeFi projects with pending token unlock schedules have, too, caught the attention of many traders. Web3 domains and digital identities platform SPACE ID is set to unload more than 15 million ID tokens, representing 5.3% of the circulating supply, across four allocations in a few hours.

Axie Infinity's upcoming AXS token unlock involving 3.43 million AXS tokens (stake rewards) will follow on Saturday. Later next week, Ethereum-based layer two protocol Optimism will see a total of 24.16 million OP tokens enter into circulation. Optimism's OP token unlock will entail two allocations – 12.75 million to core contributors and 11.41 million to investors.

To learn more about Axie Infinity, check out our Investing in Axie Infinity guide.

Macro update

Though the market has exhausted momentum from the XRP ruling, the industry is still keen on the Ripple case ruling. The SEC chair Gary Gensler declined to respond to whether the commission intends to appeal the split decision in the enforcement case against Ripple Labs.

This week's sluggish display also confirms that market participants across the board have moved to the sidelines, cautiously watching macro developments from the sidelines. In focus is next week's meeting of the Fed's policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, where markets have priced in a 99.8% chance of another 25 basis point rate adjustment per data from CME FedWatch Tool.

Sam is a financial content specialist with a keen interest in the blockchain space. He has worked with several firms and media outlets in the Finance and Cybersecurity fields.