Bitcoin Clings to $16K Ahead of Fed Minutes

Bitcoin held its $16,000 ground as traders anticipated the expected release at 2 p.m. ET (19:00 UTC) of minutes from the Federal Reserve's last monetary-policy meeting.

The minutes might hold clues on the pace of future interest rates, a key factor in prices for risky assets from stocks to cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin (BTC) was trading as high as $16,634 early Wednesday but had settled back to $16,300 as of press time, up 1.3% in the past 24 hours.

The largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization has recovered somewhat since hitting a two-year low of $15,480 on Monday amid jitters over the future of the crypto financial firm Genesis.

“The situation with Genesis itself is likely to have been priced in already,” said Joe DiPasquale, CEO of crypto fund manager BitBull Capital. “However, we will want to see if other names come to the fore as well.”

Ether (ETH) followed a similar trend, up 2.5% to $1,160. The CoinDesk Market Index (CMI) was up 1.4%. Some altcoins notched double-digit gains: Solana’s SOL token jumped 11%, while Binance's in-house BNB token was also up 11%. Zcash’s ZEC token was up 10%.

Equities also edged up ahead of the Fed’s minutes, with the Standard and Poor's 500 index up 0.4%. U.S. weekly jobless claims reached a three-month high, which is reflected in the recent layoff wave in the tech sector. The U.S. Dollar Index (DXY) showed weakness, sliding 0.7%.

There has been a debate in both traditional and digital-asset markets over how much the Fed will raise interest rates at its December meeting to curb hot inflation. The CME FedWatch tool currently shows that traders see roughly a 71% chance that the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will raise rates by just 50 basis points (0.5 percentage point) in December – slowing from the 75 basis-point hikes at recent meetings.

Any dovish signs from the Fed minutes may “help markets maintain these levels at the very least,” DiPasquale told CoinDesk.

Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at the foreign-exchange brokerage Oanda, wrote in a Wednesday note that bitcoin’s next area of resistance falls around $17,500, though it could be “very difficult to overcome.”

“There's arguably a greater case for the price to fall to $10,000 at the moment, than rising to $20,000,” Erlam wrote.