Since then, the price of Bitcoin has suffered a correction, and most of the crypto market followed. Bitcoin is currently sitting at just over $35,000, and while traders suggest the pullback to be a healthy correction required for Bitcoin to maintain its bullish momentum, some believe the cryptocurrency may plunge below the $20,000.
The Bitcoin price action has also been reflected in the altcoin market as it usually does, with many popular cryptocurrencies surging alongside BTC. Noticeably, Ether (ETH), the native token of the Ethereum platform, has doubled in value in the last month and is currently sitting at over $1,300.
While Bitcoin has blasted through its previous all-time high, multiple coins in the top 100 have yet to do so despite seeing substantial price surges. This may suggest that a new alt-season may be coming, especially as multiple DeFi tokens break into the top 20 market cap even as the direction of Bitcoin’s price remains uncertain. Jonathan Hobbs, the author of The Crypto Portfolio and a former digital asset fund manager, told Cointelegraph:
“Bitcoin dominance has started to drop against altcoins. While not yet a full-blown ‘alt season,’ the signs are certainly there for one. I would like to see Ethereum break the $1,500 level for a final alt season confirmation.”
While the latest crypto rally has taken the global cryptocurrency market capitalization to the $1-trillion mark, there have been a few notable cryptocurrencies that have failed to keep up with Bitcoin’s growth for different reasons.
Ripple and the law
After some bullish action in November, XRP’s price began to drop heavily on Dec. 22, following reports that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was preparing to take legal action against Ripple, its CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, and co-founder Christian Larsen. Since the company has overcome other issues with regulators in the past, many hoped that the news would not amount to anything.
However, by Dec. 23, XRP had plummeted by 41%, and exchanges began delisting the cryptocurrency. By the end of December, XRP was delisted from major exchanges such as Coinbase, Binance US and OKCoin, with a few exceptions like Uphold and GateHub leaving the crypto for trading until the court decision. Currently sitting at $0.28, XRP has dropped around 47% in the last 30 days.
Keeping up with Ether
As Bitcoin rallied throughout the month of December and January, Ether has rallied alongside it. Since Dec. 18, Ether has grown substantially, although so far, it has barely managed to reach its all-time high. However, other smart contract-centric projects have failed to follow along even with Ether’s rally. These include NEM, EOS and Tron, which are all in the top 30 for the biggest monthly value losers in the top 100 cryptocurrency list by market cap.
While NEM has lost 21.6% of its value in the last 30 days, it did so after a considerable price increase during the month of November. EOS and Tron prices have dropped 11.6% and 2.69%, respectively. Both Block.one, the company behind the EOSIO ecosystem, and Tron have faced issues with regulation in the past, with the former receiving a $24-million fine from the SEC in October 2019 and the latter currently facing a lawsuit pertaining to its 2017 initial coin offering.
However, it seems that a more plausible reason as to why these projects are failing to grow alongside Bitcoin is that they are seen as direct competitors to Ether, which has had a great run in the past month and hosts most of the DeFi industry. Hobbs told Cointelegraph:
“Bitcoin and Ethereum have already proven themselves with real-world use and strong network effects. Bitcoin is digital gold. Ethereum houses over 95% of all DeFi smart contracts. I think that makes them less speculative than other digital assets right now.”
Monero, Dash, Zcash and other privacy coins
Privacy coins also came under regulatory fire in 2020. On Jan. 1, U.S. exchange Bittrex announced that it would be delisting Monero (XMR), Zcash (ZEC) and Dash, the three biggest anonymity-centric cryptocurrencies on the market. While unlisting these cryptocurrencies was an initiative by Bittrex, it does not come as a complete surprise, especially as regulators continue to crack down on crypto.
On Dec. 23, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network issued a proposed rule change, in which it stated that anonymity-enhanced cryptocurrencies, like those mentioned above, are becoming more popular and are believed to be more closely associated with illicit activity such as money laundering and ransomware attacks.
As frequent hacks on decentralized finance and other sets of crypto continue to occur, with the funds being disposed of in crypto exchanges, it also makes sense that the venues would want to disassociate themselves from untraceable money laundering and to comply with any upcoming regulation.
As a result, trust in privacy coins seems to be shaken. Monero and Dash rose 0.79% and 3.79%, respectively, in the last 30 days. While these numbers don’t seem bad, they pale in comparison to Bitcoin’s price action. According to Dr. Octavius, co-founder of DeFi protocol OctoFi, the growth of the DeFi space may help these types of coins survive any upcoming regulatory hurdles:
“For many of these projects, their days as a ‘product’ are likely numbered, but the opportunities to pivot toward existing as ‘features’ are certainly plentiful. […] Those who value privacy will go to great lengths finding it, and so long as there’s permissionless access to it, projects who enable it can still thrive.”
Another predominant type of token that seems to have stayed on the sidelines during the BTC rally was tokens issued by centralized exchanges, including Nexo, Unus Sed Leo (LEO) and Crypto.com Coin (CRO). While the fundamental value proposal for these tokens remains the same, they are somewhat tied into the success of the venues they are associated with, being used mostly for discounts on trading or lending fees or other perks.
With DeFi on the rise, it seems likely that people would rather speculate on DeFi-related tokens or invest in the yield farming protocols themselves, which could account for the slow price action on these assets. LEO has dropped 1.66% and Nexo has surged by 11.3% in the last 30 days.
What’s next for alts?
While it is unclear what the road holds for coins like XRP, Dash, Monero and ZEC, whose future seems to be heavily tied to upcoming regulation, it looks like there’s a general shift in interest taking place when it comes to altcoins, especially as multiple DeFi tokens begin to take their place in the top 20 market cap list.
As for smart contract platforms, it also seems unlikely that Ethereum will be dethroned soon, especially as the network continues to make strides toward the full release of Eth2. Not all Ethereum competitors are doing badly, however, as for example, the price of Near Protocol (NEAR) has recently soared 106% amid the current DeFi craze.
Some have noted that the current bull market is likely to do away with speculative coins, as more value is now concentrated on Bitcoin and Ethereum, a clear divergence from what was observed in the 2017 rally that took BTC to its previous all-time high.
On Dec. 16, Bitcoin’s price breached its previous all-time high of just over $19,500, previously reached on Dec.17, 2017, according to data from CoinMarketCap. Since then, Bitcoin (BTC) has seen an incredible bull run, which has led the cryptocurrency to new heights, having reached an all-time high of $41,941 on Jan. 8 and rallying by over 115% during this time.
Déjà vu: Ethereum’s First Month of CME Futures Overwhelmingly Bearish
Futures contracts allow institutional investors to hedge against future price movements of an asset with the possibility of shorting them. Just like with Bitcoin, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange launched its products when Ethereum was trading on its way to an all-time high.
It is unsurprising then that the first month of trading futures has been bearish as the asset’s price has retraced heavily and those shorting it on CME would have been correct to do so.
— frxresearch (@frxresearch) February 28, 2021
Déjà vu For Crypto Futures
CME launched its Ether futures on Feb. 8, and at the time the asset was trading at around $1,600. As reported by CryptoPotato at the time, a bearish reaction was expected.
Ethereum prices hit an all-time high of $2,050 on Feb. 21, but have corrected by 30% since then to today’s prices of around $1,450 – 10% lower than when the futures were launched.
ETH has underperformed BTC since the CME futures launch but a similar situation occurred with BTC, which underperformed ETH after its CME futures launch.
For #CME notes:
8 hours before CME’s first ETH 26 February 2021 expiration at 1600 UTC,
– Exchanges’ Feb futures expired at 0800 UTC
– Notable options expiry
– CME front month hit a -10% price limit, price reversed instantly and dumped at CME expiry
CME Feb closed -14.23%
— NeoButane (@NeoButane) February 26, 2021
When Bitcoin futures were first launched in December 2017, the asset hit an all-time high a week or so later then pulled back heavily resulting in a similar effect on futures markets. Exactly the same has happened with Ethereum a little over three years later.
Of course, BTC has recovered and entered a new bull market and the same will happen with Ethereum regardless of how deep this correction goes.
In terms of volumes, the CME is reporting its highest ever day as Feb. 23 with 2,092 contracts traded. That volume has slumped to around 749 contracts on Feb. 26.
Longer-term contracts are likely to be bullish as the rollout of ETH 2.0 and the growth of staking opportunities is likely to push ETH prices to new highs whilst alleviating those epic transaction cost issues.
Ethereum Price Outlook
Currently, Ethereum has gained 4% on the day but has declined almost 30% since its peak last weekend. The asset fell to a monthly low of $1,300 on Feb. 28 but has since recovered a little to trade back over $1,400 again at the time of press.
There is strong support at current levels so ETH needs to remain above it to maintain the current momentum. A fall below could see ETH settle at just over $1,200 but a sustained move higher would need to see resistance at $1,600 broken again.
Kraken Daily Market Report for February 28 2021
- Total spot trading volume at $1.82 billion, down from the 30-day average of $2.06 billion.
- Total futures notional at $594.6 million.
- The top five traded coins were, respectively, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, Tether, and Polkadot.
- Most coins had losses, but Storj ended +1.9% over USD.
|February 28, 2021
$1.82B traded across all markets today
Crypto, EUR, USD, JPY, CAD, GBP, CHF, AUD
#####################. Trading Volume by Asset. ##########################################
Trading Volume by Asset
The figures below break down the trading volume of the largest, mid-size, and smallest assets. Cryptos are in purple, fiats are in blue. For each asset, the chart contains the daily trading volume in USD, and the percentage of the total trading volume. The percentages for fiats and cryptos are treated separately, so that they both add up to 100%.
Figure 1: Largest trading assets: trading volume (measured in USD) and its percentage of the total trading volume (February 28 2021)
Figure 2: Mid-size trading assets: (measured in USD) (February 28 2021)
Figure 3: Smallest trading assets: (measured in USD) (February 28 2021)
#####################. Spread %. ##########################################
Spread percentage is the width of the bid/ask spread divided by the bid/ask midpoint. The values are generated by taking the median spread percentage over each minute, then the average of the medians over the day.
Figure 4: Average spread % by pair (February 28 2021)
#########. Returns and Volume ############################################
Returns and Volume
Figure 5: Returns of the four highest volume pairs (February 28 2021)
Figure 6: Volume of the major currencies and an average line that fits the data to a sinusoidal curve to show the daily volume highs and lows (February 28 2021)
###########. Daily Returns. #################################################
Daily Returns %
Figure 7: Returns over USD and XBT. Relative volume and return size is indicated by the size of the font. (February 28 2021)
###########. Disclaimer #################################################
The values generated in this report are from public market data distributed from Kraken WebSockets api. The total volumes and returns are calculated over the reporting day using UTC time.
Crypto Exchange Mistakenly Sold Bitcoin for $6,000: Now Requests Users To Return It
What started out as a normal trading day for some PDAX customers led to a favorable turn of fortune, or so it seemed. Their euphoria may have been short-lived by a harsh reality check as the Philippine-based exchange prepares to take legal actions.
Philippine Digital Asset Exchange (PDAX) suffered a flaw that led to bitcoin trading 88% below its actual price. The exchange reported that a surge in trading activity was the cause. At the time, bitcoin was trading north of $50k, but traders were able to scoop some for $6k.
Although PDAX halted operations to fix the glitch, it was a bit too late by then. Some users capitalized on the loophole and withdrew bitcoins out of the exchange.
To avert the massive loss, PDAX has asked traders to return its bitcoin or risk facing legal proceedings. Many users claim to have received messages to this effect.
It remains unclear how the legal proceedings will play for PDAX, with users rightly pointing out that traders’ actions are within the agreed terms and conditions.
A #Cryptocurrency exchange glitch at PDAX in Southeast Asia allowed crypto traders to buy Bitcoin for $6,100 & were able to withdraw the discounted BTC. They may face legal action unless they return it. But PDAX’s terms and conditions say orders are “final and irreversible.”
— Luke D. (@lukedalu) February 25, 2021
Bitcoin Whale Responsible For Glitch?
Large volume transactions have become the order of the day as bitcoin whales step up activity. Their mass transactions often indicate strong bullish signals unless they get hooked while at it.
Reports surfacing on social media led to strong suggestions that the entire fiasco occurred due to an error by a bitcoin whale. who allegedly sold 316,000 BTC for PHP 300k (about $6100) instead of the actual price of PHP 2.3 million ($47,000). This prompted PDAX to cease trading activity and temporarily shut out users.
Users Outraged By Inability To Access Accounts
PDAX’s attempt to control the situation turned out to be counterproductive as it sparked outrage from many users on social media. The downtime, which lasted for 36 hours, left customers furious as they could not access their accounts.
They expressed frustration due to missed trading opportunities and accrued losses from not being able to close positions.
Dear Pdax, until now accounts cannot be accessed. Multiple promised broken. Aside from the bitcoin issue, our money is trapped in your platform. @ANCALERTS @pdaxph @BangkoSentral https://t.co/b5aJemxDIS
— Caldero y Realonda vda de Dolomite (@mikel_pangan) February 22, 2021
PDAX Clears The Air
PDAX eventually released a comprehensive report addressing the issue. It claimed that an “isolated unfunded order” infiltrated its system and affected the account of its users. It explained further that it had tracked and rectified the glitch and was in the process of fully restoring users’ accounts.
Speaking in a press conference, PDAX CEO Nichel Gaba said:
“It’s very understandable that a lot of users will feel upset they were able to buy what they thought an order was there for Bitcoin at very low prices. But unfortunately, the underlying Bitcoins were never in the possession of the exchange, so there’s never really anything there to be bought or sold, unfortunately.”
The BSP-licensed exchanged assured users that it will continue addressing their concerns and rendering support where necessary.
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