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Bitcoin Fails $25K Test Again, Ankr (ANKR) Leads Top Gainers
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For all the volatile winds February has blown thus far, Bitcoin has managed to cling onto some of its January gains. Renewed market activity this week suggests a return of speculators in droves after a brief break due to regulatory chaos in the first half of the month. The unsettled market state, resulting from a series of enforcement actions by the US primary markets regulator (SEC) on crypto companies, has phased out, with forward-looking developments in Asia taking over as the leading narrative.
Bitcoin completed a convincing green close for the seventh week of 2023 on Sunday, wrapping up a spell that delivered significant returns. Coinglass data shows that the leading asset logged 11.43% returns in the just concluded week, making up for the two preceding weeks that culminated in red closes. The BTC/USD pair was last observed stalling around $24,650, up 6.35% this month. In the last seven days, Bitcoin (BTC) has climbed up 12.77%, just about the same gains (11.18%) as the premier altcoin Ether. Here is a spotlight on this week's trending coins.
Bitcoin gets rejected at $25K resistance
The BTC/USD 1-hr chart shows Bitcoin has staged at least five attempts to overcome the barrier presented at $25,200 since Feb 15 – none panning out successfully. The latest attempt, hours earlier, fell short at a 24-hr high of $25,126, as per CoinMarketCap data. Still, bullish speculators are in the driving seat. The BTC/USD pair was last spotted trading at $24,580 – marginally above its August levels after the market's first bounce from the sell-off triggered by Terra's collapse in May.
Tuesday's action show Bitcoin has established a tight-trading range between $24,500 and $24,900 in the last few hours. There are a few positives around this bounded action. For starters, Bitcoin has maintained its decoupling path from the traditional market, in the meantime, at least.
A large proportion of holders in profit have also shown no eagerness to book profits. Markedly, bears have struggled to contend with the recovery action this year. An extended spell of decent gains since the start of the year has helped the majority of alts partially recover from last year's spell. That said, a market downtrend fueled by either micro or macro influences could call the group back into action. Their negative sentiment is, however, overshadowed by the increasing conviction among the vast majority of observers who believe corrections at the current range present buying opportunities.
Most commentators concur that clearing the stiff resistance at $25,250 will likely add to the confidence of a bull run which could, in turn, inspire a hike into the $30K zone. This potential outcome would see Bitcoin claim its June 2022 levels as there lies no significant resistance on this ascending path to $31,000. Beyond the flagship crypto, other alts have popped up recently, including Conflux (CFX) the native token of China-based public blockchain.
To learn more about Bitcoin, check out our Investing in Bitcoin guide.
Filecoin Virtual Machine launch to bring novel smart contract to Filecoin
Decentralized data storage network Filecoin first announced the launch of its Filecoin Virtual Machine (FVM) last September at the FIL conference in Singapore. In the last few days, its native Filecoin (FIL) token rallied off excitement about Filecoin finally becoming a full-fledged layer one blockchain and the introduction of smart contract functionality. FIL has risen more than 63% in the past seven days, factoring in mild corrections. The hype around the launch, barely a month away, sent the FIL/USD pair above the $7.85 resistance over the weekend.
The token maintained the upside momentum, moving up to a six-month high of $9.40 but has since dipped below $8. Though its uptrend has slowed in the last 24 hours (-2.8%), FIL makes an interesting watch in the lead-up to the FVM launch slated for Mar 14. The FVM will be interoperable with the EVM, granting Filecoin entry into the booming DeFi ecosystem of Ethereum. Its compatibility with layer two networks will enable users to leverage reduced user gas fees and increased transaction speeds.
To learn more about Filecoin, check out our Investing in Filecoin guide.
OKB exchange announces new chain
Seychelles-based cryptocurrency exchange OKX recently announced OKBchain – a new chain that promotes decentralized in the OKB ecosystem. The chain, expected to launch before the end of Q1, will be separate from the existing PoS OKXchain and intended for enterprise-grade solutions. The exchange's founder Star Xu shared the announcement, clarifying the new “chain which is totally open and co-build by communities” will be operated under the exchange's brand. OKB, the utility token of the OKX Blockchain Foundation, soared to an all-time high of $58.64 late Friday before the momentum got exhausted. Price action suggests traders settled for mild profit-taking action indicating a possibility of further correction to the previous support.
Polygon's MATIC impresses
Polygon's native token MATIC has been one of the best performers this month, benefiting from bullish developments which propelled the MATIC/USD pair to $1.56 heading into the weekend. Most notably, the announcement confirming its zkEVM mainnet launch on Mar 27. Other collaborations the network has featured in include a partnership with sports and entertainment blockchain platform Chiliz allowing the latter to launch its fan tokens.
Polygon's double-digit gains in the last seven days saw it leap ahead of Dogecoin (DOGE) in market capital rankings. The meme coin, which has a market capital of $11.06 billion, now trails Polygon (MATIC) at $12.06 billion per CoinMarketCap. The MATIC token has shed some of its gains in recent hours following news of Polygon Lab's 20% staff reduction.
“Earlier this year, we consolidated multiple business units under Polygon Labs. As part of this process, we're sharing the difficult news that we've reduced our team by 20%, impacting multiple teams and about 100 positions,” the team behind the scaler solution communicated today.
To learn more about Polygon, check out our Investing in Polygon guide.
Cardano's upgrade pushed ADA above $0.40
The ADA token finally cleared $0.40 at the start of last week to reach a three-month high of $0.42 fueled by the reaction around St Valentine's upgrade. The Cardano community reveled good news last Tuesday, as Input Output Global announced the Valentine's upgrade on the network at an estimated block height of 8403208. The improvements boosted Cardano's cross-chain interoperability and security in decentralized finance. VP of community and ecosystem at IOG Tim Harrison explained that now live on the mainnet, the upgrade will enable decentralized applications building on Cardano to access a broader range of services outside the network's enclosure.
This was achieved by remedying the variance in cryptographic signature methods between Cardano and other blockchains. Official communication from the Cardano developer conveyed that cross-chain interoperability was achieved by native support for Plutus Standards for Efficient Cryptography (SECP) cryptographic primitives, empowering developers to create cross-chain dApss on the smart contract platform at the highest level of security, reliability, and cost-effectiveness. The ADA/USD pair has, however, shed some of the gains in the last few days and was last spotted trading slightly under $0.40. Blockchain analytics platform Santiment observed earlier today that Cardano (ADA) is one of the assets “seeing significantly high levels of whale moves.”
To learn more about Cardano, check out our Investing in Cardano guide.
Solana (SOL) gains on Helium Network planned migration
Solana's native SOL claimed higher ground closing in on $27 coming off the weekend on the back of the Helium migration news. Coming after approval of Helium Improvement Proposal (HIP) 70 last year, the Helium Network team on Friday revealed that the network upgrade to the Solana blockchain is set to ship on Mar 27 this year, starting at 15:00 UTC, an event anticipated to last about 24 hours. After the proposal was passed in September, Helium Foundation COO Scott Sigel said at the time that the transition would alleviate Helium's struggle to manage its own purpose-built blockchain (leave it to Solana) and only focus on scaling the network.
According to the official Feb 17 blog post, the upgrade means all accounts, hotspots, tokens, wallets, and the Helium Network state will migrate to Solana. The migration itself will start with a chain halt to stop producing blocks. Afterward, the core developers will ascertain block production has stopped, then take a final snapshot. During the migration, token transfers, hotspot additions, or changes will be suspended, and Helium Explorer will be offline. However, Proof-of-Coverage and Data Transfer functions will still be available.
The upgrade readiness working group
The Helium Foundation will be working with an Upgrade Readiness Working Group tasked with monitoring the transition as it comes to life. The membership of this group would be based on volunteering but restricted to specific groups such as hotspot owners or fleet managers with at least 50 hotspots deployed, service providers managing and maintaining token balances, and organizations that interact with the Helium API. Membership applications close on Feb 24, but the likes of Hotspotty, BlockJoy, Sharespot, Calchip Connect, and Bobcat have already volunteered to join the group.
What to expect when the upgrade ships
The decision to relocate to Solana was in search of operational efficiencies. The expectation from the Helium community is that due to its high throughput and robust developer community, Solana is well-equipped to handle the demands of blockchain processing. This will allow the core development team and community to dedicate their efforts to building wireless protocols and creating utility on these networks. As a result of this collaboration, the HNT token will soon be natively compatible with other platforms within Solana's ecosystem, providing enhanced utility and benefits for HNT, MOBILE, and IOT token holders.
To learn more, check out our Investing in Helium and Investing in Solana guides
DeFi, NFT, and AI-related tokens roundup
Decentralized platform tokens have also seen an upturn this week, led by ANKR, the native token of the Ankr DeFi protocol. ANKR price has shot up 47% in the last 24 hours following an announcement of a partnership with tech giant Microsoft. The collaboration is focused on offering enterprise node services through the latter's Azure marketplace.
In the NFTs niche, Blur (BLUR) has stood out among notable tokens in the last week thanks to its token airdrop campaign and the growth of its Ethereum non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace, which has emerged as a strong competitor to OpenSea. Last week, Blur communicated a change to its platform's policies on royalties earned by NFT creators to consolidate its position in the NFT sector. Blur's growth has been tremendous, with the platform having processed NFT transactions totaling $1.2 billion as of Feb 14.
Blur's recently airdropped native token allows participation in the protocol's governance. The event triggered a slump in token prices which plunged from $5 to $0.60 at the end of last week. The token was last observed trading at $1.12 – down 11.35% on the day.
AI-related tokens have racked up significant gains this year, fueled by the recent developments and hype around ChatGPT-inspired technology that has bred the AI chatbot race. Fetch.ai (FET) is one of the top gainers on Tuesday following a partnership between the project and German engineering and industrial giant Bosch.
The collaboration, which entails the formation of the Fetch.ai Foundation, focused on research and application of AI and Web3 technologies.
“Fetch.ai Foundation will be anchored in the core tenets of transparency, openness, neutrality, and data and technology sovereignty. The Foundation will have a three tier governance structure as outlined in the Foundations articles and by-laws,” the team behind Fetch.ai network wrote in the press release.
The FET token is almost 400% up since the start of the year despite mild corrections. The growing popularity of the AI niche has proved to be a hotbed for malicious actors. On Monday, blockchain security firm PeckShield cautioned that the market has been flooded by pump-and-dump tokens claiming to be related to OpenAI's chatbot ChatGPT.
To learn more, check out our Investing in Ankr and Investing in Fetch.ai guides.
Uncertainty hangs over the head behind the market facade
Thus far, the majority of top altcoins have survived the bear market in the last dozen months thanks to positive development activity. Strategic partnerships with other firms, especially those advancing focused on utility and business, have, on the other hand, made influential price catalysts. While the market appears to have overcome the depression caused by the FTX debacle, industry executives warn that other revelations, especially those affecting the sector, could still weigh on spot prices.
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.