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The cryptocurrency market remained mostly flat on Wednesday as the US Federal Reserve held monetary policy steady, leaving the range for its benchmark interest rate at 5.25% to 5.50%. However, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said in the press conference that the central bank will do more rate hikes if the economy remains stronger than expected.
So, Bitcoin's price kept around $27,200 in the minutes following the central bank's announcement, only to tumble a bit later to $26,900. As of writing, BTC/USD has been trading at $26,740.
Unlike Bitcoin, Ether has been gradually going down this week. The second largest cryptocurrency by market cap started the week by surging past $1,665 only to now trade under $1,600, the level seen right before the Monday jump. The total crypto market has also gone down by 0.8% to now stand at $$1.099 trillion.
However, there is one altcoin that is really standing out with its big move. IMX is the token that surged 55.5% just a few hours early on Thursday as it hit $0.860, a level last seen late in July and before that early in May.
This latest surge was led by South Korean traders as the IMX-Korean won (IMX/KRW) pair on South Korea's Upbit exchange is now accounting for nearly 30% of the global activity, followed by Binance's IMX-tether (IMX/USDT) pair, which contributed 10.85% to the total volume, per data source CoinGecko.
According to blockchain analyst LookonChain, wallets tied to Upbit accumulated 12.53 million IMX ($9.27 million) as the crypto asset's price surged. The balance was then transferred to another address, which now holds over 21 million IMX.
Since then, IMX has lost some of its gains as the crypto asset now trades at $0..664, though still up over 23% in the past 24 hours. During this time, its trading volume also recorded an increase of 135.20% to $681 million.
This was due to market participants moving their coins to exchanges in a bid to liquidate holdings. “Investors unlocked 3.05M IMX ($2.3M) from the Foundation Treasury Locked wallet after the IMX price increased, possibly dumping to the market,” LookOnChain said on X (previously Twitter).
With all this, the number of active or open positions in perpetual futures tied to IMX also jumped over 700% to a record high of $120.98 million. An increase in OI, along with a rise in price, tends to represent an influx of new money in the market.
IMX is the 48th largest cryptocurrency with a market cap of $777 million. The token is up 11.5% in the last 30 days but down 11.6% over the past year.
As for this year, IMX started 2023 at around $0.383 and went on to hit $1.33 in mid-February. However, this 247% spike in price followed a 42.4% decline over a period of almost a month, only for the price to more than double in value to nearly $1.6 within a week. Since then, the price has been mainly on a downtrend but still up about 73.6% year-to-date (YTD).
IMX hit its all-time low less than a year ago in Dec. 2022 at $0.3780, and while it is up 78% since then, the price is still down a whopping 92.9% since its all-time high (ATH) of $9.52 in Nov. 2021.
The token has a total supply of 2 billion, of which almost 1.17 billion are currently circulating in the market, as per CoinGecko.
IMX is the native token of the NFT platform ImmutableX, which first started trading in late 2021 following an initial exchange offering (IEO) on the HTX exchange, two initial coin offerings (ICO), and private sales.
Building a One-stop-shop for Web3 Gaming
Immutable X operates as a layer 2 network tool for the Ethereum blockchain. The platform was built by the tech firm StarkWare and Immutable, which was founded by two brothers, James and Robbie Ferguson. Earlier last year, GameStop (GME) collaborated with Immutable X to establish a $100 million NFT fund in IMX tokens.
As a utility token, IMX is used to pay transaction fees, but buyers don't need to hold the token as the platform automatically converts 20% of the sale into the currency. It is also used in governance proposals, where one token equals one vote, to determine the future of Immutable X. Moreover, IMX can be used for staking, with stakers entitled to a share in the fees paid in IMX. The token is also issued to people who trade on Immutable X.
The platform uses zero-knowledge-proof technology to offer low fees, high speeds, and scalability to process more transactions without slowing down.
Zero-knowledge rollups (ZK rollups) is a scaling tool that “rolls up” batches of transactions and processes them on a separate blockchain known as layer 2 before consolidating them in a single transaction and sending it to the Ethereum blockchain. Leveraging this technology, Immutable X powers its NFT marketplace without charging gas fees and supports popular NFT games like Illuvium, Gods Unchained, and the Nike (NKE)-owned sneaker NFT project, RTFKT.
In a letter to the gaming community less than a week ago, the platform talked about how “it's time to bridge the gap between “web3″ and gaming” while noting that tech and gaming industry leaders like Google Play and Epic Games are already embracing Web3 to improve the player experience.
As such, the pivotal step is to establish partnerships and collaboration between gaming, tech, and web3 leaders.
“We must join forces to innovate upon existing platforms and ecosystems and deliver compelling experiences that drive player acceptance and adoption. Solidarity of purpose will shape the future landscape of gaming,” said Immutable.
Just last month, the crypto project launched the Immutable zkEVM testnet. According to the company, the Immutable zkEVM chain is the first of its kind, a dedicated chain for games that offers EVM compatibility, low cost, massive scale, and enterprise-grade security.
Immutable zkEVM combines the benefits of zk-rollup technology with the power and security of the Ethereum ecosystem, all while offering direct integration into Immutable's full-stack gaming platform and access to its entire suite of gaming products.
With this, the full end-to-end web3 gaming platform now offers a zkEVM rollup with all of Immutable's products, including Passport, Orderbook, and Checkout, compatible with Immutable zkEVM. This way, gaming developers won't have to build their own solutions or source them from multiple partners, rather, they can take advantage of Immutable's one-stop-shop approach to web3 gaming infrastructure.
Right at the launch of testnet, several games such as MetalCore, Shardbound, Infinite Victory, CoinArcade, EF Defense, Galaxy Commanders, SimWin Football, and more, along with ecosystem partners like AQUA Marketplace, TokenTrove Marketplace, BlockScout, GameStop, and AtomicHub committed to building on Immutable zkEVM.
In parallel with Immutable zkEVM, Immutable will also continue to support Immutable X, which offers zero gas fees, instant transactions, and streamlined gameplay mechanics, making it perfect for mature but less complex games whose design doesn't need smart contracts.
What's Next for the Crypto Market?
The latest price action came in a week, which was expected to be a volatile one with the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. Wednesday's decision to keep the rates unchanged was in line with the market expectations, hence the lack of any significant market movement in crypto major's prices.
However, the central bank is not entirely done with raising the rates as Fed officials projected keeping interest rates higher for next year at around 5.1%, an increase in expectations versus 4.3% in the June prediction. The officials also see stronger economic growth for this year, expecting a 2.1% real GDP increase compared to a 1% forecast in June.
“In determining the extent of additional policy firming that may be appropriate to return inflation to 2% over time, the Committee will take into account the cumulative tightening of monetary policy, the lags with which monetary policy affects economic activity and inflation, and economic and financial developments,” read the Fed statement.
Fed Chair Powell said the majority of the central bank members believe “one more rate hike is more likely than not appropriate” to reach the Fed's goal during the remaining two FOMC meetings. He also acknowledged that the recent trend in inflation is going in the right direction, with the last three months' reading coming “very, very good.”
The FOMC's next policy meeting is set for the start of November, and after yesterday's events, market participants are now pricing in about a 71.5% chance there would be no rate change at that meeting either, according to the CME's FedWatch tool. As for the last meeting in mid-December, traders gave a 53.4% odds of the Fed keeping the rates at the current level until the end of the year.
Meanwhile, the MOVE index, an options-based measure of volatility in Treasury notes, recently fell to 96.61, the lowest since the Fed began raising rates in March 2022 and about 50% off its 198 peak from this March. In its latest quarterly report, the Bank for International Settlements warned of the current build-up of leveraged short positions (worth about $600 billion) in the US Treasury futures, noting that it is “a financial vulnerability worth monitoring because of the margin spirals it could potentially trigger.”
Now, with the rate projection for 2024 higher, rate cuts will not only come in later but will also be slower. High rates, a stronger dollar, and a lower stock market don't speak well for Bitcoin price, which topped out in November 2021 at $69,000 and has its big halving event in April 2024, which tends to create a cyclical market for the crypto industry.
For now, the sentiments in the market are neutral, with the crypto fear and greed index having a reading of 47/100, up from 37 last month, indicating fear among the market participants.
Amidst this, Mt. Gox pushed back the deadline for its planned repayments by another year, the trustees for the firm said on Thursday. The defunct crypto exchange had earlier announced that the deadline for its repayments would be Oct. 31, 2023, which has now been pushed to Oct. 31, 2024.
The creditors of Mt. Gox's creditors have been looking for some relief for a decade since the prominent crypto exchange got hacked in 2014, leading to the loss of 850,000 BTC. The exchange has managed to recover around 20% of the stolen tokens after the hack.
This can be seen as a positive development in terms of the price as Mt. Gox repayment is expected to have some impact on bitcoin prices, as UBS said in a report earlier this year, due to the sheer size of the tokens being released.
Besides this potentially bearish event taking a backstage on the regulatory front, as things turn up for the crypto market, the sector found support from GOP presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy, who took the stage at Messari's Mainnet crypto conference on Wednesday evening and announced plans to release a “comprehensive crypto policy framework” by Thanksgiving.
In a “fireside chat” with crypto data company Messari CEO Ryan Selkis, Ramaswamy said he has “relatively strong views on what the future of governmental interface with crypto should be.”
Calling regulators an “unconstitutional fourth branch of government,” Ramaswamy talked about how those who sit in the back of three-letter government agency buildings wield the most political power but are never elected to their positions. “That is the cancer at the heart of our federal government today,” he said.
While the crypto market held well during the FOMC event and has been recording greens this week, market participants will likely take profit off the table, sending the prices lower. The fact remains that the market trend hasn't changed yet, with volumes down across the board.
This, of course, doesn't paint a bullish picture for altcoins, including IMX, which is enjoying great upside today. However, such bouts of volatility are perfectly normal, even during a downtrend. Low volume and thin liquidity also make for easy price movements. So, until renewed interest, fresh capital, and bullish sentiments return to the market, price swings may not be sustained.
Gaurav started trading cryptocurrencies in 2017 and has fallen in love with the crypto space ever since. His interest in everything crypto turned him into a writer specializing in cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Soon he found himself working with crypto companies and media outlets. He is also a big-time Batman fan.