Market Wrap: Bitcoin Trades Well Above $50K, While Ether Outperforms on NFTs, July’s Upgrade

  • Bitcoin (BTC) trading around $51,800.08 as of 21:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET). Climbing 3.48% over the previous 24 hours.
  • Bitcoin’s 24-hour range: $49,390.18-$51.982.31 (CoinDesk 20)
  • BTC trades above its 10-hour and 50-hour averages on the hourly chart, a bullish signal for market technicians.

Bitcoin trading on TradingView
Source: TradingView

Bitcoin’s price in recent weeks has retreated from February’s all-time highs, declining alongside U.S. stocks as investors grew increasingly concerned rising U.S. government bond yields might prompt the Federal Reserve to tighten monetary policy, curtailing the easy-money era that has boosted risky assets from stocks to cryptocurrency. 

But on Monday, bitcoin’s price climbed for a fourth straight day, even as 10-year bond yields continued their march toward 1.6%. U.S. stocks slipped.    

“It is interesting to note that Treasury yields and the U.S. Dollar Index are both moving up but bitcoin, unlike previous times, is not moving inversely to them,” Andrew Tu, an executive at quantitative trading firm Efficient Frontier, told CoinDesk.

At the moment there’s little evidence of a surge in trading volume that might reflect a fresh jolt of market intensity. The daily volume reported by eight U.S.-focused exchanges CoinDesk tracks has remained flat, in keeping with the trend of almost two weeks.

Source: CryptoCompare

One bullish sign continues to develop: balances of bitcoin held on exchanges have reached the lowest level since November 2018, according to data from blockchain data site Glassnode. Market analysts have interpreted the lower bitcoin balance on exchanges as a bullish sign, an indication that few traders are planning to sell out of their long positions. That could imply low chances of a major market correction in the near term.

Bitcoin’s balance on all exchanges since 2018.
Source: Glassnode

While trading activity is relatively muted, with bitcoin holding above $50,000, some analysts are eyeing the next resistance level.

“It looks like $52,000 is the important resistance we are looking to break,” Tu said.

Others, however, warn that if bond yields and dollar strength continue to rise, the crypto market might turn weak again.

“With the U.S. rates market, we might see some choppy moves with risk-off sentiment spilling over into crypto markets,” Annabelle Huang, partner at crypto market maker Amber Group, told CoinDesk. 

Read More: Bitcoin’s Stimulus-Led Rise Fades as Stocks Drop, Dollar Gains

Huang said a near-term supporting level for bitcoin would be in the range of $40,000 to $43,000. She says past visits to those levels have been tempting enough to draw in buyers. 

Read More: Bitcoin Falls 4% as Fed’s Powell Sees ‘Concern’ Over Rising Bond Yields

Ether outperforms bitcoin, market awaits Ethereum upgrade

There’s a new force in the ether market: The mania for non-fungible tokens, also known as NFTs, a fast-growing sub-sector within the crypto industry that so far has largely been built atop the Ethereum blockchain.

Ether (ETH), the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, was up on Monday, trading around $1,773.21 and climbing 7.37% in 24 hours as of 21:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET).

Ether has outperformed by bitcoin since reaching an all-time high above $2,000 on Feb. 19. It is currently benefiting from the eye-popping sales of non-fungible tokens (NFT) and the prospect that further growth might spur more ether demand.

The NFT craze continues this week, and with the vast majority of NFT tokens built atop the Ethereum blockchain, the ether market is attracting new bullish speculation, according to Stefan Coolican, chief financial officer of investment firm Ether Capital.

Read More: Ethereum’s ‘EIP 1559’ Fee Market Overhaul Greenlit for July

At the same time, Ethereum’s scheduled “Ethereum Improvement Proposal 1559” (EIP 1559) upgrade has gotten investor attention.

“One of the big issues at the moment from mainstream investors is their concern about transaction fees and the usability of Ethereum,” Brian Mosoff, chief executive officer at Ether Capital, told CoinDesk. He noted that a significant amount of investment in Ethereum has been focusing on scaling solutions.

Ethereum blockchain users right now pay a “gas” fee to a miner for a transaction to be included in a block. Such fees make up a substantial part of miners’ overall income, David Derhy, analyst at investment platform eToro, said in explaining EIP 1559. “However, under the new proposals, gas fees will be sent to the network instead in a new fee structure called a ‘basefee.’”

“We expect ether to break new ground above $2,000 this year, with the hard fork and the fee changes all helping to cement its position as the No. 2 crypto asset, stoking further demand,” Derhy said.

He added that ether’s price rally proves the updates are mostly welcomed by the market.

Other markets

Digital assets on the CoinDesk 20 are mostly in green Monday. Notable winners as of 21:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET): 

  • Asia’s Nikkei 225 closed in the red 0.42%.
  • The FTSE 100 in Europe was in the green 1.34%.
  • The S&P 500 in the United States closed in the red 0.54%.
  • Oil was down 2.18%. Price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude: $64.65.
  • Gold was in the red 1.04% and at $1680.94 as of press time
  • The 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yield climbed Monday jumping to 1.611%.

The CoinDesk 20: The Assets That Matter Most to the Market