Bitcoin, Ether stable after last week’s nosedive; XRP leads crypto gains; US stock futures mixed

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Bitcoin edged up on Monday morning in Asia to trade slightly above the US$26,000 support level, after sliding over 10% for the week. Ether also moved higher but remained below US$1,700 following last week’s losses. Other top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies traded mixed. XRP led the winners, despite the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) moving to challenge a June court ruling in favor of Ripple Labs. Meanwhile, the Forkast 500 NFT index dropped as NFT marketplace OpenSea said it will stop enforcing creator royalties from August 31. U.S. stock futures traded flat after Wall Street logged weekly losses at close of trading Friday.

Baby steps upward for cryptos after painful few days

Bitcoin edged up 0.28% in the last 24 hours to US$26,178.36 as of 07:30 a.m. in Hong Kong, logging a weekly loss of 10.68%, according to CoinMarketCap data. The world’s leading cryptocurrency hit a two-month low of US$25,409.11 on Friday, but held position above the US$26,000 support level over the weekend.

A cool-off of Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) hype in the U.S. could be behind the retreat of the token. That’s the view of James Butterfill, head of research at European alternative asset manager CoinShares.

“The surge in June, spurred by BlackRock’s application for SEC approval of a Bitcoin ETF, led to a noticeable spike in prices,” said Butterfill in a report released Friday.

“However, markets are now coming to terms with the realization that an immediate SEC approval for a Bitcoin ETF in the U.S. is unlikely. It’s noteworthy that current Bitcoin prices have stabilized around levels observed before this announcement,” he added.

The low volume and volatility in Bitcoin, a rise in U.S. treasury yields, as well as concerns over China’s ailing economy contributed to Bitcoin’s sharp weekly decline, the CoinShares report found.

“The outlook for the markets in the forthcoming months presents a blend of opportunities and challenges. It’s anticipated that the U.S. Federal Reserve will refrain from hiking rates further in September,” Butterfill said.

A dovish shift in Fed policy could provide a boost to Bitcoin’s prospects, he added.

“On the flip side, investors are eagerly awaiting the SEC’s verdict on the Grayscale ETF and BlackRock applications in September. Anticipations are that decisions on both applications might be postponed, potentially leading to investor disappointment,” Butterfly said.

Along with Bitcoin, Ether moved up 0.85% to US$1,683.57 but remained 8.50% lower for the past seven days.

The U.S. SEC could approve several ETFs based on Ethereum futures by October 2023, Bloomberg reported on Friday citing unnamed sources. Investment firms Volatility Shares, Bitwise, Roundhill and ProShares have all applied for Ethereum ETF licenses.

Other top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies traded mixed over the past 24 hours, but all posted weekly losses. Cryptocurrencies have seen a total liquidation of US$24.91 million in the past 24 hours.

That’s a considerable decrease on the daily losses posted last week during a calamitous downturn in the crypto market. On Friday alone, traders liquidated over US$1 billion in cryptocurrencies, including US$851.94 million in long positions — positions where investors bet the cryptocurrency price will rise. On Monday, long position liquidations stood at US$6.89 million for the past 24 hours, according to data from crypto information platform CoinGlass.

Ripple’s XRP token led the winners, gaining 3.96% to US$0.5408 but plunged 13.76% for the week.

In the on-going legal battle between Ripple Labs and the SEC, Judge Analisa Torres on Thursday granted the SEC permission to appeal an earlier judgement in favor of Ripple Labs. That ruling in late June found that the technology firm’s programmatic sales of XRP did not violate securities laws.

In a Saturday tweet, Ripple’s Chief Technology Officer David Schwartz said the SEC should not be allowed to appeal until the conclusion of the case. He said that, even if an appeal is granted, “the case should still continue and the appeal should run in parallel.”

Ripple will have until September 1 to respond to the SEC’s appeal motion.

The total crypto market capitalization edged up 0.45% in the past 24 hours to US$1.06 trillion, while trading volume fell 13.09% to US$21.67 billion.

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