Bitcoin soared above $28,000 for the first time since mid-August and was still holding close to the threshold, despite a sour investment environment for risk assets and even after some of the euphoria for new Ethereum futures ETFs dissipated.
The largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization was recently trading at about $27,809, up 2.6% over the past 24 hours. BTC rose 3.3% over a two-hour period (Eastern U.S. time) on Sunday afternoon to escape its recent logjam near $27,000 and lead a wider spike in crypto markets. Analysts attributed the gains to excitement over the ETF launches after a sudden, unexpected spate of approvals last week by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which has been cool to crypto investment product applications.
“I’ve talked a lot of the institutions in the space over the past few weeks, and they’ve all been saying ‘when are these ETFs coming?'” said Michael Safai, managing partner at venture capital firm Dexterity Capital, in an interview with CoinDesk TV on Monday. “It actually caught the market off guard.”
A number of market observers also noted that October has been a historically strong month for crypto markets.
Still, Edward Moya, senior market analyst at foreign exchange market maker Oanda, told Unchained that investor enthusiasm for risk-on assets remains dull, a reflection of wider worries about macroeconomic uncertainty, including the recent, global bond market sell-off.
“There’s still a pessimistic mood on Wall Street for all risky assets,” Moya said, calling the sell-off “troubling for so many industries, including crypto.”
“We’re not going to see any leave for startups, for a lot of crypto companies that need refinancing in the next year or two. Conditions are going to be terrible. So there’s there’s a little bit more of a sour mood today, and [also] given just how high yields are pushing.”
Yields on two- and 10-year Treasurys have reached more than 16-year highs over the past two weeks. Cryptos have typically declined as yields have risen. On Monday, the 10-year yield rose as high as 4.7%.
Ether and other major altcoins followed a similar pattern, soaring late Sunday to multi-week highs before sagging late Monday. ETH reached its highest level since late August at about $1,700 before dropping to its more recent $1,665, slightly in the red from Sunday, same time. SOL, the token of smart contracts platform Solana, was recently up more than 2.8%, holding some of its gains from earlier in the day when it climbed by double digits. Wrapped bitcoin (WBTC), which represents bitcoin on the Ethereum network, was up 3.1%, but MATIC was down 1.6% after spending much of the past day in positive territory.
Equity markets were mixed with the tech-heavy Nasdaq up 0.69%, but the S&P 500 was flat, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) sank slightly. Stocks have been slumping in recent weeks after climbing steadily for more than seven months.
Meanwhile, crypto markets received an additional sliver of good news with a report from crypto asset manager CoinShares showing the first inflows to digital asset investment products in six weeks. Even then, the company said that trading volume remained “seasonably low.”
The industry will turn its attention on Tuesday to the start of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s trial for allegedly defrauding customers of billions of dollars. The collapse of the exchange, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, along with other industry debacles in 2022, sent prices spiraling and spawned the current harried environment.
“With crypto, you never know,” Moya said. “But right now I haven’t talked to anyone that is really aggressively buying or is interested in buying just yet. There’s there’s too many hurdles, and unfortunately, the backdrop for crypto companies is getting worse by the day.”