First Mover Asia: Tokocrypto Token Holders Benefit From Reports of Binance Acquiring the Indonesian Exchange

Good morning. Here’s what’s happening:

Prices: Bitcoin's late surge sends it above $17K again.

Insights: Tokocrypto would not confirm reports that Binance is acquiring the Indonesia exchange. In the interim, Tokocrypto token holders are seeing the token price rise.


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BTC/ETH prices per CoinDesk Indices; gold is COMEX spot price. Prices as of about 4 p.m. ET

Bitcoin Returns Above $17K After Late Surge

By James Rubin

Bitcoin ignored concerns about inflation, a cratering economy and the latest crypto woes, rising 2.3% over the previous 24 hours after a late Thursday surge.

The largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization was recently trading above $17,230, its highest point since early Monday.

BTC subsequently struggled to clear the $17,000 support it has held for much of the previous 10 days as fearful investors returned to risk averse crouches. Crypto markets have been fearful of events within the industry and beyond that might send prices tumbling to lower levels.

"It's going to be a a bit slower growth pattern," JJ Kinahan, CEO of online trading firm IG North America told CoinDesk TV's First Mover program, although he added that he sensed "new money wanting to get into the market," saying that investors were "over" a "crisis of confidence."

Kinahan added that for the remainder of the year, he will be watching if investors return to crypto or "if people say, 'hey, I'm gonna regroup, wait til 2023 and reinvest at that time, which is a behavior pattern we often see in other asset classes.

Ether was recently changing hands at just below its most recent $1,300 support, a more than 4.5% gain from Wednesday, same time. The second largest crypto in market value rose after Ethereum developers determined that the network’s next hard fork, called “Shanghai,” will have a target release time frame of March 2023. The fork and a second one in the fall will give developers time to focus on technical issues and alleviate stress for individuals who have their ETH (and any accrued rewards) locked in the Beacon Chain staking smart contract.

Crypto news has been anything but straightforward this year, though. Earlier in the day, CoinDesk analyst Omkar Godbole wrote that ETH bear market was likely to intensify after dipping below pivotal support. ETH fell 17% last month, breaching an ascending trend line connecting June and October lows. Later Thursday, CoinDesk also reported that shares of the world’s largest bitcoin fund, Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), hit a record-high discount rate of nearly 50% relative to the price of bitcoin.

“The fact that Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust is now trading at nearly 50% discount is just awful for holders of GBTC. It really highlights the vast differences in structure quality between different investment vehicles,” Bradley Duke, co-CEO at ETC Group, said in a note to CoinDesk.

Most other major cryptos were recently in the green with MATIC, the token of Layer 2 platform Polygon, up about 3.3% and popular meme coin DOGE climbing almost 3%. The CoinDesk Market Index (CDI), an index measuring cryptos' performance, jumped more than 2%.

Major equity indexes snapped a five-day losing streak with the tech heavy Nasdaq and S&P 500 increasing 1.1% and 0.8%, respectively despite recent macroeconomic uncertainties. On Friday, investors will be eyeing the University of Michigan's widely watched consumer sentiment index, which is expected to tick up a few fractions of a percentage point in its preliminary December reading compared to the previous month.

IG North America's Kinahan sees cryptos' recent sideways movement as " a victory. "If you get through the end of the year going sideways, I would look at that more as building momentum," he said. If you're long right now, you're saying to yourself, 'can we just stay in 1 to 3% of the levels we're at right now because that's building a base that will be longer-term confidence."

Biggest Gainers

Asset Ticker Returns DACS Sector
Terra LUNA +5.5% Smart Contract Platform
Ethereum ETH +3.9% Smart Contract Platform
Polygon MATIC +3.5% Smart Contract Platform

Biggest Losers

There are no losers in CoinDesk 20 today.


Tokocrypto Token Holders See an Upswing

By Glenn Ardi

Media reports from Indonesia say that Binance is in the process of acquiring Tokocrypto, one of the country’s largest crypto exchanges – except this deal hasn’t yet been completed.

It's far from official. Despite the narrative that says otherwise, there’s no signed acquisition agreement.

When asked by CoinDesk Indonesia about the acquisition process, Rieka Handayani, Tokocrypto’s vice president of corporate communications, said the exchange doesn’t comment on “rumors and speculation that are circulating.”

“Binance is one of Tokocrypto's investors who have joined since 2020 to jointly develop the company and help build the crypto asset industry in Indonesia,” Handayani said in a statement to CoinDesk Indonesia. “Tokocrypto's focus is on building a sustainable business and actively continuing the development of the crypto asset industry, which has grown significantly."

There’s been one beneficiary of this preemptive announcement: token holders. According to CoinGecko data, Tokocrypto’s exchange token, TKO, jumped 97% after the first story was published, and is up 50% over the last week.

TKO’s trading volume has jumped from around $3 million pre-story to around $67 million as of Dec. 8.

Binance acquiring Tokocrypto would make a lot of sense. Indonesia has 16.3 million crypto users registered with its national know-your-customer system, and a population of 280.7 million. As of August 2020, the country reportedly has more crypto investors than stock market traders.

Meanwhile, Tokocrypto has had a rough crypto winter. In the past month, the exchange has laid off 20% of its employees and has begun separating out its business units, such as T-Hub (a crypto lounge community in Bali) and TokoMall (a non-fungible token marketplace), into separate entities and will likely spin them off to raise cash.

A Binance acquisition would be the perfect opportunity for the struggling exchange. It’s not that the deal will never happen; it’s just not official. Yet. But somebody has already made a tidy profit on the rumor.

Glenn Ardi is CoinDesk Indonesia's managing director.

Important events

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9:30 p.m. HKT/SGT(13:30 UTC) United States Producer Price Index ex Food & Energy (YoY/Nov)

11:00 p.m. HKT/SGT(15:00 UTC) Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index (Dec)

CoinDesk TV

In case you missed it, here is the most recent episode of "First Mover" on CoinDesk TV:

Senate Committee to Subpoena Sam Bankman-Fried if He Does Not Testify Voluntarily; Bitcoin Trades Flat

The U.S. Senate Banking Committee wants Sam Bankman-Fried to appear before it next week to discuss the collapse of FTX, and will subpoena him if he does not appear voluntarily. CoinDesk's Nikhilesh De had the latest. Plus, Carole House, former White House director of cybersecurity and secure digital innovation at the National Security Council, weighed in on the FTX case. Also JJ Kinahan, CEO of online trading firm IG North America, and Electric Coin Company founder and CEO Zooko Wilcox joined "First Mover."


Ethereum Developers Target March 2023 for Release of Staked Ether: Staked ETH withdrawals are coming in the spring, while "proto-danksharding" will follow in the subsequent hard fork in the fall.

Grayscale Bitcoin Trust Discount Widens to Record High Near 50%: The shares have not traded at a premium to bitcoin since March 2021.

PayPal Expands Crypto Service Into Luxembourg in First EU Foray: The move follows the initial rollout of the crypto service in the U.S. in 2020, followed by an expansion to the U.K. last year.

Some Central Banks Reportedly Looking to Issue a CBDC Within 10 Years: Generally, 35% of central banks were more inclined to issue a CBDC despite recent events in crypto, the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum said in a report surveying 18 entities.

FTX Bankruptcy Managers Hire Forensic Investigators AlixPartners, WSJ: The team, led by former SEC accountant Matt Jacques, is tasked with tracking the billions of dollars missing from FTX.