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Bitcoin, Ether little-changed as market digests Curve hack

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Bitcoin and Ether prices were little changed on Tuesday morning in Asia, both holding at support prices they have fluctuated around for several weeks. The tokens were looking like relative safer havens for crypto investors after the hack of the popular decentralized finance platform Curve Finance over the weekend that saw an estimated US$41 million stolen from the platform and raised concerns about a DeFi contagion. The hack has been linked to a flaw in a programming language. Tron and Solana led the top 10 losers early Tuesday. Litecoin also gave up some gains ahead of its halving event on Wednesday.

Bitcoin, Ether hold steady

Bitcoin rose 0.12% in the last 24 hours to US$29,209 as of 06:40 a.m. in Hong Kong, trading flat for the past seven days, according to data from CoinMarketCap. 

The world’s largest cryptocurrency fell under the US$30,000 support floor in the latter weeks of July and has fluctuated around US$29,000 since then, unable to find buying support for a breakout in the so-called summer doldrums when trading in many capital markets slows. 

However, drama came over the weekend when decentralized stablecoin exchange Curve Finance reported a security issue in older versions of Vyper, the programming language used for smart contracts. 

According to data from smart contract auditing firm BlockSec, hackers drained an estimated US$41 million in cryptocurrencies from the platform as a result of the malfunction, raising concerns about possible problems at other DeFi platforms.

Curve Finance is the third largest decentralized financial exchange (DEX) by 7-day trading volume, according to DeFi data tracker DefiLlama.

Considering the hack and the broader crypto market, “BTC is actually performing relatively well,” Justin d’Anethan at Hong Kong-based crypto market maker Keyrock said in a text message.

“Indeed, after the Vyper hacks that affected a number of pools in Curve and pushed prices of CRV, CVX and FXS along with other yield protocols down, BTC and ETH held steady.”

However, d’Anethan said he’s still cautious about short-term possibilities of Bitcoin breaking back through US$30,000, adding “it’s worth noting that the open interest in the derivatives market has built up around that level while volatility has been crushed.”

Lackluster trading and caution is seen elsewhere in crypto asset investment products, which saw minor outflows of US$21 million last week, 93% of which were from long-Bitcoin investment products, according to an emailed report from European alternative asset manager CoinShares. 

“This suggests investors have been taking profits in recent weeks, with the sentiment for the asset overall remaining supportive,” the CoinShares report said.

Nigel Green, the CEO and founder of the deVere investment advisory group, said summer typically ushers in reduced market activity, which in turn can create price inefficiencies and increased volatility.

“When used effectively and efficiently, volatility can be an extremely powerful investment tool as you can enhance your portfolios with high quality assets at lower entry points,” Green said in email comments.

“Not only does Bitcoin remain one of the best performing asset classes of the decade, I believe its performance will further strengthen. Both institutional and retail investors are increasingly seeing the value of a digital, global, borderless and tamper-proof currency and store of value.

“This trend will increase as adoption picks up further and as confidence grows again in the global economy.”

Ether, the second largest crypto token by market cap, lost 0.14% to US$1,855.10 while adding 0.43% for the week.

All other top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies fell Tuesday morning. Tron led the losers, dipping 2.26% to US$0.07812. The token, founded by Grenadian-based crypto entrepreneur Justin Sun, slipped 3.88% in the past seven days.

Solana also lost 1.61% to US$23.77, though is still up 1.49% in the past week.

Litecoin fell 1.32% to US$92.09, but scored a 3.75% increase in the last week ahead of its halving event on Wednesday. 

The halving is expected to cut the mining reward for each successfully minted Litecoin block from 12.50 LTC to 6.25 LTC, increasing its scarcity and potentially triggering a rise in the token’s price. Litecoin is up about 31% year to date.

The total crypto market capitalization fell 0.12% in the past 24 hours to US$1.18 trillion, while trading volume rose 19.70% to US$28.62 billion.

(Updates to add comment from paragraph 11.)

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