Bitcoin rises to near US$31,000, Ether leads gains

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Bitcoin continued its rally to near the US$31,000 mark in Friday afternoon trading in Asia. All other top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies also gained, led by Ethereum following the successful launch of the blockchain’s Shanghai hard fork on Wednesday. Asian equity markets moved higher following a rally in Wall Street on Thursday, on signs of cooling inflation in the U.S. and on strong Chinese exports data.

See related article: Cardano NFTs slump as users trade top-tier projects in favor of newer ones

Fast facts

  • Bitcoin moved up 2.13% in the 24 hours to US$30,756 at 4:30 p.m. in Hong Kong, posting a weekly gain of 10.18%, according to CoinMarketCap data. The world’s largest cryptocurrency exceeded US$30,000 on Tuesday for the first time since June 2022, and is pushing US$31,000.
  • Ethereum strengthened 8.62% to US$2,109, trading 13.64% higher for the week, shrugging off market concern that the Shanghai hard fork of the Ethereum blockchain – which allows investors to withdraw their staked Ether for the first time – could trigger a massive withdrawal of the token and lower prices.
  • The upgrade might make Ether staking more appealing to investors, according to Chen Zhuling, co-founder and CEO of crypto staking platform RockX, in an interview with Forkast.News on Thursday.
  • “This upgrade actually eliminates the biggest counterparty risk. In the past, you’re basically sending your ETH into a black hole and you’re hoping that indefinite time you can get your ETH back together with the rewards.” Chen said.
  • Cardano gained 8.12% on the day to US$0.437, and added 15.27% for the week, after Cardano Foundation launched the alpha phase of Aiken on Thursday, an open-source smart contract language and toolchain to simplify smart contract developments on the Cardano blockchain
  • The total crypto market capitalization rose 3.98% in the past 24 hours to US$1.28 trillion and total trading volume over the last 24 hours moved up 30.12% to US$58.95 billion.
  • In the non-fungible token (NFT) market, the Forkast 500 NFT index edged up 0.76% to 4,009.92 points in the 24 hours to 4:45 p.m. in Hong Kong, adding 0.64% for the week. The index is a proxy measure of the performance of the global NFT market and includes 500 eligible smart contracts on any given day. It is managed by Forkast Labs data branch, CryptoSlam
  • Asian equities moved higher after a strong rally in the U.S. equity markets on Thursday, as Thursday’s soft readings in the U.S. producer price index and jobless claims indicated a slowdown in inflation. China on Thursday reported a 14.8% increase in its March exports, well beyond economist projections of a 7% decline, boosting investor sentiment.
  • China’s Shanghai Composite Index moved up 0.6% and the Shenzhen Component Index rose 0.51%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.46% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 1.2%. 
  • European bourses also gained on Friday on the rally in equities. The STOXX 600 rose 0.46% as of 4:30 p.m. in Hong Kong, and Germany’s DAX 40 gained 0.33%.
  • Investors are awaiting a series of U.S. economic data to be released on Friday, including U.S. retail sales that dipped 0.4% in February, with some analysts projecting a 0.5% decline in March, according to financial information provider MarketWatch.
  • The U.S. dollar index fell 0.07% to 100.94 points following soft economic readings on Thursday. The euro inched up 0.15% to US$1.10.
  • Gold price dipped 0.27% to US$2,034.36 per ounce on Friday, as fears of an U.S. inflation eased.

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