This Week in Coins: Bitcoin and Ethereum Hold Stable Amid Frantic News Cycle

It was a week full of headlines in crypto, but they weren’t being made by market stalwarts Bitcoin and Ethereum.  Their stable values suggest cryptocurrencies are less reactive to the current news cycle than they were during its heady 2021 bull run and subsequent 2022 crash. 

Market leader Bitcoin (BTC) grew a modest 2.7% over the seven days and now changes hands at $27,952. It briefly hit a two-month high on Sunday night when it crossed the $28,000 threshold. 

The closest contender Ethereum (ETH) had a comparably harder week and lost 2.1% to trade at $1,636 at the time of writing. Its weak performance comes despite several positive announcements, including a UBS asset tokenization trial supported by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the launch of nine Ethereum Futures ETFs in the U.S. on Monday.

Grayscale announced on Monday that it hopes to convert its Ethereum trust into a spot ETF. The crypto asset manager’s application stems from its courtroom victory back in August when it won an appeal against the Securities and Exchange Commission after the latter rejected its application to convert its Bitcoin trust into a spot ETF. 

The SEC also lost an appeal in its lawsuit against XRP progenitor Ripple this week. The SEC had hoped in vain that Judge Torres would reconsider her ruling that selling XRP to retail consumers doesn’t constitute a breach of American securities laws. 

Ripple also secured a Major Payments Institution license from the MAS this week. However, the good news gains were reversed by the weekend. XRP fell 1.6% over the last seven days to hit $0.5224 by the weekend. 

Only two cryptocurrencies posted any notable price movements, rallying around 15% this week: Avalanche (AVAX), which currently trades for $10.39, and Solana (SOL), which is currently worth $23.31.

On Monday, the Solana network’s total value locked (TVL) hit a new 2023 high of $338.82 million.

In the news…

The week began with Coinbase secured a Major Payment Institution (MPI) license from MAS. This development follows the In-Principle Approval (IPA) Coinbase received last year, part of a drive by the exchange to expand globally due to the uncertain regulatory climate on the company’s U.S. home turf. 

On Tuesday, Helen Boyd, Head of Capital Markets at the independent regulatory watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), announced that the British Treasury hopes to launch a Digital Securities Sandbox (DSS) by the end of the first quarter of next year.

A sandbox is a controlled test environment for those looking to bring innovative products to the market. The FCA already has a similar engagement via its Regulatory Sandbox where companies with viable products can begin pitching them to a closed circle of early customers, but the DSS has “a new rule set that would allow it to do new things with digital securities.”

On Thursday, Hong Kong’s police force and Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) launched a joint task force to monitor illegal activities on crypto exchanges following the suspension of trading on the JPEX exchange. The JPEX incident is one of the largest cases of financial fraud in Hong Kong history. involving at least 2,305 victims of the incident, who collectively have been defrauded of HK$1.43 billion ($182.9 million).

A report published this week by blockchain data platform Chainalysis shows that recent inflows to Hong Kong have rivaled that of mainland China over the past year, despite hosting only 0.5% of the latter’s population.

Finally this week, both Starbucks and the Museum of Modern Art launched NFTs.

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