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Bitcoin, Ether, other crypto fall as SEC waves big stick

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Bitcoin fell in Tuesday morning trading in Asia, but held above the US$29,000 mark. Ether and most other top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies dipped amid concern the regulatory crackdown by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is spreading after it sued crypto exchange Bittrex on Monday. Despite the concern, Dogecoin, Polkadot and Litecoin gained. U.S. equity futures traded flat in Asia after Wall Street moved higher on Monday. China’s GDP for the first quarter out Tuesday beat expectations with growth of 4.5% on year, compared with forecasts for a 4% gain, but stock markets in the region showed little response. 

See related article: US SEC investigates crypto exchange Bittrex for potential regulatory violation: WSJ

Fast facts

  • Bitcoin fell 1.61% to US$29,376 in the 24 hours to 09:00 a.m. in Hong Kong, posting a loss of 1.84% over the past seven days, according to CoinMarketCap data
  • Ether dipped 0.38% to US$2,074, but is up 8% on the week following a run of buying related to the Ethereum blockchain upgrade last Wednesday to enable the withdrawal of staked Ether. 
  • Dogecoin shrugged off the overall down market, gaining 2.96% to US$0.0913 and adding 7.61% for the week. Sentiment around the memecoin got a lift as Twitter – led by Dogecoin fan Elon Musk – officially enabled stock and cryptocurrency trading on the platform on Monday in a partnership with multi-asset investment firm eToro. 
  • Solana dropped 2.02% to US$24.41, but is holding a gain of 16.56% for the week. U.S.-based digital currency asset manager Grayscale Investments opened Grayscale Solana Trust on Monday for public trading on OTC Markets under the symbol: GSOL. The Trust offers investors exposure to the price movement of Solana without holding the asset directly.
  • The crypto market was hit by renewed regulatory concerns, as the U.S. SEC charged Bittrex and its co-founder William Shihara for violation of securities laws. Other crypto firms including Kraken, Coinbase, Paxos and Binance have also been targeted by U.S. regulators this year.
  • SEC Chair Gary Gensler will speak before Congress on Tuesday on his approach to regulating digital assets. U.S. Representative Warren Davidson has said the SEC needs to be restructured and is reported to be planning legislation that would include removing Gensler from his role as chairman. 
  • SEC member Hester Peirce on Friday criticized her agency’s proposal to expand the definition of an “exchange” to decentralized platforms that trade cryptocurrencies, calling it an effort to stymie development of new technology in a statement titled “Rendering Innovation Kaput.”
  • The total crypto market capitalization dropped 1.03% in the past 24 hours to US$1.25 trillion. The total trading volume over the last 24 hours rose 13.65% to US$44.43 billion.
  • In the NFT market, the Forkast 500 NFT index inched up 0.11% to 4,052.59 in the 24 hours to 09:00 a.m. in Hong Kong, a gain of 2.84% 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  CryptoSlam, a sister company of Forkast.News under the Forkast.Labs umbrella.
  • U.S. stock futures traded flat as of 9:00 a.m. in Hong Kong. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 0.03%. The S&P 500 futures inched 0.05% lower. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.12%.
  • The three U.S. equity indexes edged higher on Monday on mixed economic data and generally better than expected bank earnings, after logging gains the past week. Equity investors have more earning reports this week – Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Tesla, IBM and Netflix – for a gauge of the state of the U.S. economy and how that may influence the Federal Reserve policy on raising interest rates. 
  • U.S. interest rates are currently between 4.75% to 5%, the highest since June 2006. Analysts at the CME Group now see a 15.6% chance the Fed will leave rates unchanged at its next meeting on May 3, while 84.4% predict a 25-basis-point rate hike, up from 82.1% on Monday. 

See related article: U.S. House Financial Services Committee releases draft stablecoin bill for Wednesday hearing





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