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The cryptocurrency market traded flat in the last week, with Bitcoin trading at $29,354 on Monday while Ethereum is exchanging hands at $1,845.
Market data is showing low volatility, which is usually followed by strong directional moves, but for that to happen, trading volumes need to bounce back, which have been trending lower as well. For now, the price stability indicates consolidation around these levels.
As Bitcoin (BTC) continues to hold steady just below $30,000, the crypto fear and greed index is also in a neutral state with a reading of 50/100.
The total crypto market cap is also flat at $1.217 trillion, while risk sentiment in the traditional market improved as traders assessed the July inflation data, which did not influence the price of Bitcoin much. The retail inflation came at 3.2% for the month, still higher than the Federal Reserve's target of 2%.
Amidst all this, the market did see the big news of payment giant PayPal, with hundreds of millions of users launching its new USD-backed stablecoin PYUSD. While the general sentiments are currently muted, the development is expected to shape the market behavior moving forward.
Meanwhile, former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried's (SBF) bail was revoked by a judge late last week due to multiple reasons: reaching out to former FTX.US general counsel Ryne Miller, using a VPN to watch the Super Bowl and sharing the private diary of former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison with the NYT. The latter's prosecutor claims this was meant to intimidate or discredit Ellison ahead of the trial, where she is expected to testify as a cooperating witness.
SBF was sent to jail ahead of his October trial on multiple financial crime charges, including wire fraud, commodities fraud, securities fraud, money laundering, and related conspiracy charges, with Judge Lewis Kaplan of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, stating; the 31-year-old former CEO of the crypto exchange is willing “to risk crossing the line in an effort to get right up to (the line), wherever it is.”
“My conclusion is there is probable cause to believe the defendant has attempted to tamper with witnesses at least twice. There is a rebuttable presumption that there is no set of conditions that will ensure Bankman-Fried will not be a danger,” the judge added.
Spot Bitcoin ETF Anticipation Continues On
When it comes to the latest in spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs), the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has extended its review of the Ark 21Shares Bitcoin ETF. On Friday, the agency said it would solicit public comment on the ETF proposal, a standard move pushing the deadline back by several weeks.
Once the SEC starts reviewing an application, it has a total of 240 days to make a final decision, and the agency gives the general public three weeks to weigh in on the proposal itself and five weeks to respond to them.
Ark Investment Management has been seeking ETF approval since 2021 and filed one again earlier this year. Its CEO Cathie Wood told Bloomberg that she expected a delay in a decision on her firm's application but that the SEC will ultimately approve several applications simultaneously because most are the same. Hence, it will come down to how they present their case and market their messaging.
According to the filing, the manipulation concerns of the regulatory “are sufficiently mitigated to the point that they are outweighed by investor protection issues that would be resolved by approving this proposal.”
In June 2023, TradFi heavyweight BlackRock and several other major US financial institutions filed applications to create spot Bitcoin ETFs. However, the SEC rejected several such applications, citing concerns about volatility and market manipulation, but the recent flurry of applications has raised hopes that the market may soon see a spot Bitcoin ETF.
Best Weekend Performer
While Bitcoin price momentum remains muted, with a decision on spot Bitcoin ETF still a bit far off, altcoins have also not been doing much. But few are still managing to see some movement.
This past week was good for RLB (46.4%), PEPE (16.5%), TON (14.3%), HBAR (13.5%), and APE (11%). Meanwhile, in the past 24 hours, HBAR recorded over a 16% jump in its price.
Now, this past weekend, Radix (XRD) was among the most volatile crypto assets, with its value first surging 7.69% only to go down by 6.8% before it saw an increase of 5.6% and is now back again in the red.
However, ThorChain's RUNE was at the first spot, as it posted an impressive 30% gain over the weekend.
As of writing, ThorChain's RUNE, a $413.3 million market cap cryptocurrency, is trading at $1.38, up 2% in the past 24 hours while managing $208 million in volume, which has increased 6.30% from a day ago. RUNE's uptrend actually started earlier last week, and it is up 50% during this time.
The crypto asset went on to hit $1.44 on Monday but has since lost some of these gains with its 30-day performance in green by 32.5% while being down 53% over the past year. This, in fact, is quite normal, as, after such a rally, pullbacks are expected. Moreover, on the downside, different support levels available for it are $1.281, $1.082, and $1.021, with more losses having the potential to see a $0.777 support floor.
RUNE is the native asset of the decentralized liquidity network THORChain which climbed to its all-time high (ATH) of $21.20 in May 2021 but is down 93.42% since then. Its all-time low, meanwhile, was in Sept. 2019 at $0.0085. RUNE's price is currently only up 5.5% in 2023 so far but has gone up by 64.6% since its mid-June low.
THORChain was launched in July 2019 with one billion RUNE coins minted at the time, which was later burned to half. According to CoinGecko, out of the total supply of 500 million, about 300 million RUNE is circulating in the market.
Built on the Cosmos' Tendermint protocol, THORChain is a decentralized exchange network that functions similarly to DEX Uniswap, but here RUNE can be swapped against any token. The project, however, has a history of being hacked.
As for what led to the latest uptrend, certain factors could be in play, including substantial progress in THORChain's underlying technology and continuous protocol enhancements. Some latest additions to THORChain include streaming swaps, lending, which is expected to make RUNE deflationary, BSC Chain integration, Ledger integration, and bond providers with more features like perps and order books coming up soon. The platform has actually been seeing an increase in the number of streaming swap transactions for several days now.
THORChain is an open-source, decentralized native asset infrastructure that provides cross-chain swaps, single-sided yield, and the ability to borrow against Bitcoin. The project says it is currently in preparation mode to be fully ready for the next bull market with fee reductions and network resilience improvements.
Worst Weekend Performer
When it comes to the biggest losers, the past week has been particularly bad for KAS, which saw a 15% decline in its value with XDC (12.3%), GMX (12.2%), OP (10.2%), MNT (9.6%), FLX (7.4%), IMX (6.8%), and CRV (5.7%) also among the red coins.
Meanwhile, the weekend and the past 24 hours saw Rollbit Coin (RLB) being one of the worst performers. The coin saw positive movement going in the weekend as RLB hit its ATH at $0.213, only to have dropped 18.5% in value since then. However, among the most popular cryptocurrencies, SHIB's price took the most hit.
Shiba Inu (SHIB)
Among the top 100 crypto assets, the dog-themed meme coin fell 9.6% over the weekend. Interestingly, the drop in its price preceded and succeeded an increase in its value.
With a market cap of $6.22 billion, SHIB is the 14th largest cryptocurrency which jumped 26.7% last week to $0.0000119 on Saturday before falling to $0.00001011. But since then, the price has recovered, and as of writing, SHIB is trading at $0.00001056.
The latest gains came ahead of its upcoming layer-2 network launch, which has SHIB up 60.4% since the mid-June low but down 32.5% over the past year and almost 88% from its $0.00008616 peak two years ago.
The renewed interest in SHIB can also be seen in the rising open interest (OI) in Binance's SHIB futures, which has more than doubled to $101.65 million this month, according to Coinglass. OI hitting the highest since February 5th shows investors pouring money into the meme coin.
An impending launch of Shibarium at an unspecified date in the near future has people's optimism rising in the cryptocurrency's expansion beyond a meme coin. Shibarium's testnet has been enjoying massive adoption and usage from the community. The community speculates that the anticipated release of Shibarium might occur at the upcoming Blockchain Futurist Conference 2023. The event is sponsored by Shiba Inu and will begin this week on Tuesday, August 15th.
Amidst this, the number of addresses has reached its height of 3.54 million addresses while the number of new SHIB addresses has been surging by 115% on a weekly basis, and the number of non-empty wallets has reached 1.24 million addresses.
The losses, meanwhile, could be attributed to bankrupt crypto lender Voyager Digital moving 250 billion SHIB tokens to Coinbase. With the transactions indicating that the bankrupt lender was consolidating assets into its main address, the market is expecting it to sell off the crypto further. The firm holds over a trillion SHIB tokens, and sending the coins to exchange for potential sales is raising concerns about its impact.
Voyager holds cryptocurrencies worth $93.7 million that cover SHIB tokens, which are valued at over $11 million, ETH, Bitcoin, and its native VGX token.
In addition to this, Shiba Inu's lead developer, Shytoshi Kusama, teased an upcoming announcement for the LEASH token, which is one of the three cryptocurrencies that comprise the ecosystem of Shiba Inu.
“Dear LEASH Holders, As you know, EXCLUSIVITY is the key utility of Leash, and I have an exclusive exclusive for you all TUESDAY 1 PM EST. Then on Wednesday, a new utility for Leash will be unveiled,” read Kusama's announcement.
Meanwhile, CEX KuCoin has posted a teaser on their Twitter platform, featuring an image of a Shiba Inu dog and a dog bone positioned under the dates of Aug. 15-16. This could be referring to the Shiba Inu ecosystem's other token, BONE which is an essential element of the upcoming protocol.
As we saw, the crypto market continues to lack any serious momentum with Bitcoin ranging. For now, the only strong catalysts present are the approval of the spot Bitcoin ETF and the Bitcoin halving, expected to take place in April 2024. It will see the amount of new BTC issued cut in half to increase its scarcity. The event is widely anticipated to result in a spike in the crypto's price and kickstart yet another bull run.
For now, all the eyes are on these two events, and until then, the market is simply aiming to make a recovery. During this time, some altcoins may manage to outperform while others underperform, but the broad weak sentiments continue to rule the market.
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.