Bitcoin began rising above US$28,000 in early morning trade in Asia on Monday, a support level it has fluctuated around for much of April after a strong start to the year even amid concerns about higher interest rates, bank failures and a recession in the United States. Ether, along with other top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies, gained ahead of Wednesday’s upgrade to the Ethereum blockchain. Dogecoin rose. US stock futures were mixed after a three-day weekend.
Bitcoin added 1.40% to US$28,343 in Hong Kong in the 24 hours to 8:00 a.m., up 0.57% or little changed for the week, according to CoinMarketCap data.
The world’s biggest cryptocurrency has risen 70% so far this year and is hovering around $28,000 this month even as equity markets face headwinds from inflation, a series of bank failures, and higher interest rates to curb signs of a US economy. led to a recession.
Bitcoin could break US$30,000 next week but the caveat is that a downturn could be coming, said Kadan Stadelman, chief technical officer at blockchain infrastructure development firm Commodore.
“Typically, we see situational risk as something that drives up the price of Bitcoin. But, with the banking crisis in the last month, we’ve actually seen positive risk for Bitcoin. At this point, the price action is telling us that the market is indecisive,” Stadelman said.
Ether rose 0.55% to US$1,859, up 3.62% for the week ahead of Wednesday’s Shanghai hard fork, also known as the Shapela upgrade, which will allow investors to withdraw their staked Ether for the first time.
Most other top 10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization showed moderate gains led by Dozecoin, which added 2.31% to US$0.08328 for a weekly gain of 5.30%. The meme token surged last week when Elon Musk changed Twitter’s blue bird icon to a Dogecoin dog icon, breaching US$0.10 on April 4. It lost steam as the Twitter icon reverted to the bird.
Solana added 1.51% to US$20.33, but was down 1% on the week. Polkadot rose 1.29% to US$6.22 but similarly lost 0.87% over the past seven days.
Total crypto market capitalization rose 0.95% to US$1.19 trillion in the last 24 hours. Total trading volume increased by 8.19% to US$29.46 billion during the same period.
In the non-fungible token (NFT) market, the Forecast 500 NFT Index rose 0.12% to 3,968.42 in the 24 hours to 08:00 in Hong Kong, losing 2.34% for the week. The index is a proxy measure of global NFT market performance and includes 500 eligible smart contracts on any given day. It is operated by Forkast Labs data arm, CryptoSlam.
US stock futures traded mixed in Hong Kong as of 8:00 am. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 0.14%, S&P 500 futures rose 0.091% and Nasdaq-100 index futures fell 0.10%.
The US unemployment rate, released last Friday, fell to 3.5% in March from 3.6% in February. The U.S. added 236,000 jobs in March, slightly below expectations but still pointing to a strong labor market, according to Trading Economics.
However, several US indicators released earlier last week pointed to a cooling economy. Job openings fell to 9.9 million in February, the lowest since May 2021. The March US manufacturing purchasing managers’ index also signaled a possible slowdown, falling to 46.3% from 47.7% in February.
US interest rates are now between 4.75% and 5%, the highest since June 2006. Ahead of the May 3 Federal Reserve rate meeting, CME Group analysts expect 35.3% to expect no rate change, while 64.7% expect a 25 basis-point increase, up from 44.5% on Friday.
This week brings more U.S. economic indicators — the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ consumer and producer price indexes on Thursday, the expected monthly retail trade report on Friday and minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee meeting on Tuesday.