First Mover Americas: Ethereum Merge Spawns Watch Parties, But 'Jail Kwon' Token Gets More Hype

  • Price Point: The approach of the Ethereum Merge has lots of crypto types planning watch parties, but it looks like traders are betting on price declines. Bitcoin stabilized quickly Wednesday after its steepest price drop since mid-August on Tuesday, while yields on U.S. Treasury inflation-protected securities hit their highest level since 2018.
  • Market Moves: The "jail kwon" token represents the epitome of crypto-market ridiculousness. The price soared nearly 40-fold after a South Korean court issued an arrest warrant for the founder of Terraform Labs.
  • Chart of the Day: Trading volume in ether is soaring as the Merge speculation intensifies.

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

By Omkar Godbole and Bradley Keoun

The Ethereum blockchain's Merge – its shift to a more energy-efficient "proof-of-stake" network, seen by many analysts and developers as a historic milestone for the growing industry – is almost here. Crypto types are throwing watch parties.

According to, the Merge is now about 17 hours away. CoinDesk's Sam Kessler and Sage D. Young just published a cheat sheet on how to monitor the Merge as it unfolds.

CoinDesk Special Coverage: The Ethereum Merge

In the meantime, crypto markets appeared to have somewhat stabilized following the biggest sell-off since mid-August. Bitcoin fell 9.9% on Tuesday after a hotter-than-expected U.S. consumer price index report on inflation rekindled expectations that the Federal Reserve will be hawkish for a longer period of time than previously thought. The CoinDesk Market Index was up slightly on Wednesday.

At press time, bitcoin (BTC) was holding above $20,000. Ether (ETH), the native token of the Ethereum blockchain, gained 1% to $1,590 as funding rates in the perpetual futures market went further into negative territory – an indicator that more traders are betting the price will drop.

The path of least resistance for the crypto market appeared to be on the downside, with real or inflation-adjusted bond yields rallying. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury inflation-protected securities, which are adjusted periodically to compensate for consumer-price increases, rose above 1%, the highest since 2018:

Yields on the 10-year TIPS just hit their highest level since 2018. (TradingView/CoinDesk)

CoinDesk Market Index

Biggest Gainers

Asset Ticker Returns DACS Sector
Ravencoin RVN +13.17% Currency
Celsius CEL +11.72% Currency
LCX LCX +5.85% Currency

Biggest Losers

Asset Ticker Returns DACS Sector
Terra LUNA2 -46.99% Smart Contract Platform
Terra Luna Classic LUNA -25.87% Smart Contract Platform
Lido DAO LDO -5.75% DeFi

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

'Jail Kwon' Token Surges 387% After Terra Founder's Arrest

By Omkar Godbole

The crypto-markets spectacle of the day came from nearly 40-fold price rally in a meme coin named after Do Kwon, founder of the now-defunct Terraform Labs.

The recently launched jail kwon (jkwon) token, the self-proclaimed home of the world's first educate-to-earn program, rose 387% to $0.000908, according to the crypto data and analysis firm Messari.

The price surge came after a South Korean court issued an arrest warrant for Kwon, the primary developer of Terra's UST stablecoin, which crashed in May, destroying billions of dollars' worth of investor wealth.

"An arrest warrant has been issued for a total of six people, including Do Kwon, who are currently residing in Singapore," a spokesperson for the South Korean prosecutors said on Wednesday.

According to Bloomberg, the individuals have been accused of violating South Korea's Capital Markets Act.

The jail kwon token's rally offers the crypto-markets ridiculousness you didn't know you needed. (TradingView/CoinDesk)

The jail kwon token went live on BNB Chain early this month and is listed on decentralized exchange PancakeSwap under the ticker JKWON.

The token’s white paper says the project's mission is to combine Web3 with Web2 to deliver something unique to the crypto market and "leverage the social media relevance and presence of Do Kwon and the Luna crash along with our Educate-to-Earn protocol to drive the awareness of the token."

The white paper adds that educating the community on crypto safety as the core fundamental of the token and Kwon's infamy would ensure a lifetime of "free marketing and spontaneous pumps."

While the jkwon token rallied, Terra's luna and luna classic tokens plunged as investors withdrew millions from the Terra-based decentralized-finance ecosystem.

Read the full story here.

Chart of The Day

Ether Futures Volume Hits 3-Month High

By Omkar Godbole

Ether's trading volume is surging as Merge-related speculation intensifies. (Skew)

The aggregate daily volume rose to $61 billion on Tuesday, the highest since June 13, according to data tracked by Skew.

Traders have been taking short positions in a bid to profit from or hedge against volatility that might stem from Ethereum’s impending upgrade, dubbed the Merge.

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