Illustration by Mitchell Preffer for Decrypt.
Market leader Bitcoin had a wobbly week this week. It peaked above $31,100 and bottomed below $29,900, but its variability was limited to less than 2% in any given 24-hour period. After surpassing 50% market dominance last week, the top cryptocurrency settled back to 47.9%, but still sustaining over $9 billion in trading volume.
Despite this ultimately flat week, Bitcoin (BTC) is up 15% over the last two weeks and up 13% over the last month, with a one-year return of more than 50%, according to data from CoinGecko. It currently trades for $30,612, which is more or less where it was seven days ago.
The number one contender, Ethereum (ETH), added 1.9% over the seven days to trade at $1,923 on Saturday.
Earlier in the week, several altcoins that had been labeled as securities by the SEC in its various lawsuits on the industry appeared to finally shake off the effects of the bad press. Polygon (MATIC) and Cardano (ADA) remain virtually unchanged from last week, but Solana (SOL) actually rallied and added 10% to change hands at $18.35.
There were no significant losses among leading coins but there were several notable rallies of more than 10% this week. Two classic proof-of-work coins ballooned after Wall Street-backed EDX Markets listed them last week: Litecoin (LTC) rallied 18% to $105.18, and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) blew up a staggering 52.6% to hit $291.31.
The week in headlines
On Monday, Swiss National Bank Chairman Thomas Jordan—speaking at the Point Zero Forum in Zurich—said that a central bank digital currency (CBDC) will be tested on the country’s first regulated crypto exchange called the SIX Digital Exchange (SDX). Jordan was adamant that it was more than a mere trial balloon.
“This is not just an experiment, it will be real money equivalent to bank reserves,” he told attendees. “The objective is to test real transactions with market participants.”
That same day, HSBC Hong Kong customers became eligible to trade Bitcoin and Ethereum futures Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) on the bank’s “Easy Invest” mobile app.
On Tuesday, the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs committee announced via Twitter that it reached a consensus on changes to the Capital Requirements Regulation and Directive, including new regulations for crypto assets. This move came in response to lawmakers' calls for stringent rules to prevent “unbacked cryptocurrencies” from infiltrating the traditional financial system.
The Bank of England’s director of fintech said, meanwhile, that the British central bank was open to the possibility that a British CBDC (or “Britcoin) may not be blockchain-based. The official added that there was conflict at a recent meeting of technologists hosted by the bank to discuss the matter.
“None of them agreed with each other at any point,” he said, adding that forum contributors “were not convinced that distributed ledgers offered more efficiency over conventional ledgers.”
Over in Canada, a group of thirty Canadian lawmakers published a report endorsing cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, with 16 recommendations for the country's government to create a national strategy for crypto. The group said the industry has “significant long-term economic and job creation opportunities.”
On Thursday, the Financial Services and Markets Act 2023 was granted Royal Assent by King Charles, officially enshrining new law, according to a press release by the UK government.
Under the reform bill, crypto trading is recognized as a regulated financial activity. The amended act defines crypto assets as "cryptographically secured digital representation of value or contractual rights," considering them as regulated financial instruments, products, or investments.
Finally, the industry is still reeling from the news a fortnight ago that the world’s largest asset management company, BlackRock, has applied to the SEC for a spot Bitcoin ETF. BlackRock has applied to the SEC with ETF proposals 576 times and has only been rejected once so far.
This week, Fidelity and ARK Invest became the latest companies to redouble their efforts with their own ETF applications since the BlackRock news, joining companies like Invesco, Wisdom Tree, Valkyrie, and Bitwise. However, on Friday, reports appeared to indicate that insiders at the chief U.S. securities regulator believe BlackRock’s and Fidelity’s applications (and by extension, everyone else’s) are inadequate.