The broader crypto market saw a pushback on prices, especially BTC, amid the growing market volatility in the US. The Federal Reserve (Fed) hinting that they may raise rates even further was the main culprit of an abrupt fall in BTC’s price over the last few trading sessions. We’ve witnessed a 1.45% drop in BTC since the beginning of the week, reflecting the U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) data released on February 14, which showed higher-than-expected inflation.
Moreover, the regulatory tightening that we covered last week is another reason why crypto prices are trending downward during this week. Despite the drop in prices, there are some positive signs. On February 19, China released over $92 billion into the markets, stoking the run we’ve seen in Neo, Conflux, and Flamingo. This liquidity injection by the Chinese government was necessary to ease the tensions in the economy. Keep in mind that the property sector is still reeling, and exports are down thanks to Covid lockdowns. Yet, crypto benefited from the surge in liquidity.
As some believe that new money flowing in the Chinese markets could lead the next bull run in crypto, data coming out of the margins and options markets are indicating that there may be more professional investors looking to open up long positions.
Finally, according to data from CoinMarketCap, the global crypto market cap stands at $1.08 trillion, a 1.66% decline since yesterday. Meanwhile, the total crypto market volume over the last 24 hours is $49.95 billion, a 19.40% decrease since yesterday.
The Crypto Fear and Greed Index, which uses six measurements to asses the current sentiment in the markets, shows a neutral emotion with a value of 53. The index rates market emotions from 1, extreme fear, to 100, extreme greed.
Crypto Fear & Greed Index. Source: Alternative
These recent readings suggest that risk appetites remain healthy in crypto markets. Last week the index indicated a level of 61, or greed, which corresponds well with the run-up we’ve seen in the prices. The new reading shows that investors take a more measured approach to crypto investments.
Crypto Exchange developments
On February 23, Binance Australia sent sudden notifications that it would be closing certain derivatives positions and accounts. Confused users took to Twitter to share screenshots of the notification they received from Binance. In a tweet, Binance explained their actions:
“Our team identified a small number of Australian users who were incorrectly classed as ‘Wholesale Investors’ on Binance.
As per Australian regulation, we were required to inform these users and close any of their own derivative positions with immediate effect.”
Meanwhile, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) objected to Binance US acquiring $1 billion of assets belonging to a now-defunct crypto lending platform Voyager Digital. The SEC believes that some aspects of the restructuring plan proposed by Binance could breach securities law, which is why it decided to object to the potential acquisition.
Cryptocurrency exchange Gate.io has seen more positive news than Binance, as they’re preparing to enter Hong Kong following the planned $6.4 million investment by the Government of Hong Kong into Web3 projects under the 2023-2024 budget. The Gate Group stated that they would apply for a crypto license in Hong Kong to launch “Gate HK.” On the other hand, Hong Kong is pushing hard to become the crypto hub by launching crypto-friendly policies and regulations.
According to data from NonFungible, sales of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) rose nearly 160% over the past week, mostly driven by the up-and-coming Blur marketplace. Sales reached $772 million, compared to $299 million seen during the previous week.
NFT sales. Source: NonFungible
This led to OpenSea implementing 0% fees in an effort to win over the NFT user base that they lost. On February 18, Blur surpassed OpenSea in daily Ethereum (ETH) trading volume, since users were looking to enter new trading arenas that offered higher returns. OpenSea tweeted that they’re making some new changes:
“We’re making some big changes today:
1) OpenSea fee → 0% for a limited time
2) Moving to optional creator earnings (0.5% min) for all collections without on-chain enforcement (old & new)
3) Marketplaces with the same policies will not be blocked by the operator filter”
Uniswap also tried to attract new users by allowing traders to buy NFTs using any Ethereum-based token. The goal of the move was to simplify the purchasing procedures for users, which had to swap currencies around before buying NFTs. Uniswap is also planning to support combined sums of multiple different cryptocurrencies for a single NFT sale.
Meanwhile, Spotify, a popular music streaming platform, is testing a “token-enabled playlist” functionality. This new feature will allow holders of select NFTs to connect their wallets to the platform and listen to specifically chosen tracks. The pilot is currently only available for Android users in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Australia, and New Zealand.
Huma Finance, an income-backed DeFi protocol, dominated the DeFi news by winning an $8.3 million seed funding led by Race Capital and Distributed Capital. The funds they gathered will be geared towards launching an on-chain factoring market. The goal of the project is to give an equal financial opportunity to all, focusing on blockchain-based financial services as the future of the industry.
In addition, a new on-chain governance voting solution built exclusively for the Open Network (TON) ecosystem concluded its first governance vote on TON.Vote, this week. The vote is important since it determined that 20% of TON supply will be frozen. The process was performed with 1,726 voters using 1.7 million TON tokens to determine whether to freeze inactive mining wallets. This vote represents a historical moment for TON as it was the first official voting on its new governance platform.
Shiba Inu. community is exploding with excitement thanks to a new move by Sony, the popular gaming console maker. While Sony, in reality, never mentioned Shiba Inu, the crypto token, they did add the popular dog breed in their newest virtual reality (VR) game, Humanity. In “Humanity,” the player takes on the role of a Shiba Inu who wakes up in a world where humanity has lost its soul, intellect, and willpower. The players will have to lead the lost souls to pillars of light, avoiding pitfalls and conflict with the mysterious others.
The Shiba Inu community is using the announcement by Sony to speculate on a potential cooperation between Sony and SHIB or Shibarium, a much-anticipated Layer 2 solution. At the time of writing, Sony has not made any comments that could indicate such cooperation. The focus of the announcement was simply to promote the new, innovative game that maybe coincidentally includes the Shiba dog breed.