Blockchain Bites: Bitcoin Trades Sideways as US Inflation Is Muted


Hello. Analysts are reporting gloomy short-term projections for bitcoin as the U.S. Labor Department reports muted inflation over 2020. Here’s the story:

Top shelf

Institutional products
A new, physically backed bitcoin exchange-traded product (ETP) has hit the SIX stock exchange in Switzerland. Developed by ETC Group, this is the 34th bitcoin ETP on SIX. Meanwhile, the Winklevoss-owned Gemini Trust company is backing the latest bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) application filed in Canada. Arxnovum Investments’ bitcoin ETF could conceivably trade on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, if approved. U.S. regulators have long been skeptical of these “high risk” investment vehicles, which many point to as hampering institutional interest (by the way, check out Blockwork’s new editorial site).

Stopping bitcoin ‘funny business’…
European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde has called for bitcoin to be regulated at the international level, during a Reuters event. The “highly speculative asset” has led to “some reprehensible activity,” including money laundering, and any loopholes need to be closed, according to a report from Reuters. Meanwhile, crypto’s favorite regulator, Brian Brooks, the acting head of the U.S.’ top bank regulatory agency, is reportedly ending his term this week, while crypto-knowledgeable Wall Street and Commodity Futures Trading Commission vet Gary Gensler is rumored to be named chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commision.

Gloomy projections?
Analysts are gloomy about bitcoin’s short-term price outlook, with several pointing to increased flows onto exchanges and cooling institutional demand. Some 57,000 BTC moved onto exchanges Tuesday, the biggest-single day change since the markets crash on March 12, 2020. A Goldman Sachs exec said institutional investors are “key” to curbing bitcoin’s volatility. Neither bitcoin’s 20% drop on Monday, nor its volatility, have stopped “whales” from buying the dip.

Quick bites

  • DREAM DEFERRED? Marker takes a critical look at bitcoin, arguing that it’ll never be used to buy a coffee or pizza. (Medium)
  • CEX, LIES & VIDEOTAPE: Binance is hitting back at rival exchanges OKEx and Huobi after a supposedly “bogus” video surfaced claiming Binance played a role in bitcoin’s recent rout. (CoinDesk)
  • DIRECT OFFERING: Bitcoin miner Marathon seeks to raise $250 million in a stock offering. (CoinDesk)
  • GONE DARK: German authorities have arrested an Australian man thought to be tied to the world’s largest darknet marketplace, DarkMarket. (CoinDesk)
  • GOV-BACKED: A provincial government in Pakistan is mining bitcoin. (Decrypt)
  • BILLIONAIRE INVESTOR: Howard Marks’ son owns “a meaningful amount” of bitcoin. (The Block)
  • TEA LEAVES: Traders watch bitcoin for clues about high-flying stock market (CNBC)

Market intel

Alt season?
Bitcoin and ether prices are about 87% and 78%, respectively, of their all-time highs, though the majority of altcoins (smaller market cap cryptocurrencies) are languishing. While some altcoins have spiked during the recent market run-up, retail investors have largely ignored these cheaper, and riskier, cryptos. That said, Messari found tokens embedded in the decentralized finance (DeFi) market – like maker (MKR), compound (COMP), aave (AAVE) and uniswap (UNI) – are seeing robust growth. 

At stake

Inflation projections
Much of bitcoin’s growth in 2020 was driven by institutional investors turning to the hard-capped, deflationary asset as an inflation hedge. Hedge fund legend Paul Tudor Jones, MicroStrategy’s Michael Saylor and Guggenheim Partners Chief Investment Officer Scott Minerd, among others, have all spoken on bitcoin’s prospect as “digital gold.”

Fiscal stimulus and looser monetary policy in response to the coronavirus pandemic drove up inflation projections. Indeed, rates for U.S. Treasury bonds have been ticking up higher in recent days, crossing 1% last week, on calls for additional government…

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