First Mover Americas: Bitcoin Pushes for $20K Again as Investors Return to Risky Assets

  • Price Point: Bitcoin was up 2% on Thursday, following gains in the U.S. stock markets on Wednesday as investors returned to risky assets after the Bank of England said it will intervene in the country's bond market.
  • Market Moves: Surging bitcoin-sterling trading volume points to hedging demand for crypto.. Or does it? Omkar Godbole unpacks the debate whether rising BTC/GBP trading volume represents hedging demand or speculative interest.
  • Chart of the Day: The U.K. Google search volume for bitcoin remains flat amid heightened volatility in the British pound.

This article originally appeared in First Mover, CoinDesk’s daily newsletter putting the latest moves in crypto markets in context. Subscribe to get it in your inbox every day.

Price Point

Bitcoin (BTC) was hovering at around the $19,500 mark on Thursday, up 2% the day after U.S. stock markets gained, although stock futures were down early Thursday. Ethereum (ETH), the second-largest cryptocurrency by market value, was up 3%.

In traditional markets, stock futures are falling in the U.S. as sentiment in the U.K. appears to be weak, a day after the Bank of England stepped in to stabilize bond markets.

Privacy token Monero (XMR) gained ground, up 5% on the day. Solana (SOL) was up 3%, and Chainlink’s LINK lost 4%.

On Wednesday, data provider CryptoCompare unveiled a new group of staking yield indexes with blockchain infrastructure platform Blockdaemon. The index group will feature five individual gauges that capture the annualized daily staking yield of the top performing proof-of-stake digital assets.

Jack Dorsey’s TBD teams up with Circle

CoinDesk’s Krisztian Sandor reported that TBD, the bitcoin-focused subsidiary of Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey’s Block, is teaming up with Circle Internet Finance, to bring cross-border dollar-linked stablecoin transfers and savings to investors globally.

Cardano's Emurgo to invest over $200 million to boost ecosystem

Emurgo, a development lab for the Cardano blockchain, will invest over $200 million to support the network’s growth over the next three years, founder Ken Kodama told CoinDesk at the sidelines of the Token 2049 conference in Singapore on Thursday.

Crypto thrives in Sub-Saharan Africa

A report by data firm Chainalysis showed that small retail payments in Sub-Saharan Africa are powering exceptional crypto adoption and usage, with the region conducting the world’s highest proportion (80%) of crypto retail payments of under $1,000.

CoinDesk Market Index

Biggest Gainers

Asset Ticker Returns DACS Sector
Ethernity Chain ERN +35.06% Culture & Entertainment
Request REQ +9.9% Currency
Ravencoin RVN +4.69% Currency

Biggest Losers

Asset Ticker Returns DACS Sector
Ribbon Finance RBN -7.65% DeFi
Rarible RARI -7.33% Culture & Entertainment
Alchemy Pay ACH -4.79% Currency

Sector classifications are provided via the Digital Asset Classification Standard (DACS), developed by CoinDesk Indices to provide a reliable, comprehensive and standardized classification system for digital assets. The CoinDesk Market Index (CMI) is a broad-based index designed to measure the market capitalization weighted performance of the digital asset market subject to minimum trading and exchange eligibility requirements.

Market Moves

Surging Bitcoin-Sterling Trading Volume Points to Hedging Demand for Crypto, or Does It?

By Omkar Godbole

The bitcoin-British pound (BTC/GBP) pair listed on major cryptocurrency exchanges, including Bitstamp and Bitfinex, is more active than ever. Analysts, however, are divided on whether the surge stems from investors switching to the largest cryptocurrency to protect against the sterling slide or from traders looking to profit from the volatility.

On Monday, the day the pound crashed to a record low $1.035, trading volume in the pair listed on those two exchanges climbed to a record $881 million. That's 12 times the $70 million average daily volume of the past two years, according to data tweeted by James Butterfill, head of research at CoinShares, early this week.

The pound's weakness was prompted by concerns over the U.K.'s fiscal health stemming from the new government's tax-cut plans. This month, the currency has weakened 7% against the dollar, the steepest drop since December 2016.

"An explosion in bitcoin trading against the pound underlines the potential of the biggest cryptocurrency to benefit from an apparent fragility in fiat currencies," analysts at Bitfinex said in an email.

Read the full story here.

Chart of the Day

U.K. Google Search for Bitcoin

By Omkar Godbole

The British pound's slide hasn't spurred general interest in bitcoin yet. (Screenshot)
  • The U.K. Google search volume for bitcoin remains flat amid heightened volatility in the British pound.
  • The lack of interest in the general British populace may be disappointing for a bitcoin proponents anticipating a pickup in the hedging demand for the cryptocurrency.
  • Bitcoin believers consider their favorite digital asset an antithesis of fiat currencies.
  • Google Search trends are widely used to gauge general or retail interest in trending topics.

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