- Bitcoin retakes US$38k, year-to-date increase of >130%.
- ETF hopes fuel largest crypto fund inflows in over two years.
- Circle seeks to expand USDC presence in Japan with SBI Holdings.
- XRP climbs as Ripple’s Metaco acquisition brings banks closer.
- Vitalik Buterin: If AI turns on us 'even Mars may not be safe'.
- Chainlink extends staking mechanism to 45 million LINK.
BTC Markets in the news
Binance scandal and the future of crypto.
In several interviews this week, Caroline Bowler, CEO of BTC Markets, has offered her views on the US Department of Justice's recent charges against Binance, which she says reflects the audacity of corporate misconduct, but not the character of the cryptocurrency industry itself. She stresses that illicit activities, such as money laundering, refuted by some as victimless white-collar crimes, facilitate serious offences which must not be downplayed, like terrorism and human trafficking.
Caroline has repeatedly expressed concerns over the complacency shown towards such behaviour, especially when it threatens the legitimacy of the industry and hard-won regulatory progression achieved by platforms like BTC Markets. Despite the alleged misconduct of Binance, the actions of individuals need to be differentiated from the cryptocurrency industry.
Caroline emphasised that many within the Australian crypto industry, including BTC Markets, have been consistently advocating for regulation for several years. She also highlighted that the existing regulation under Austrac that Australian cryptocurrency exchanges must adhere to, is similar to that of traditional financial services.
Bull market in 2024, say crypto exchange heads.
Speaking to Cointelegraph, BTC Markets chief Caroline Bowler said market conditions had grown more bullish over the year, with a general recovery that kicked off in January.
Bowler added that, while the trajectory of market gains hadn’t exactly been linear, the industry-wide growth in both asset prices and tech applications was a reason to be confident.
Read more at Cointelegraph.
Aussie crypto exchanges: bull market is coming.
“CEO of BTC Markets Caroline Bowler acknowledged the overall bullishness of the market. She pointed out the rise in asset prices, technological advancements, growing user base, and increased trading volumes as indicators of an early-stage bull market.”
Read the full article at Yahoo Finance.
BTC Markets announcements
AUD card deposits are now available!
We’re excited to announce we now offer AUD deposits by card.
By simply using your Australian-issued Visa or Mastercard credit or debit card, you can now seamlessly deposit funds directly into your BTC Markets account, all without leaving the exchange.
This addition joins our other existing deposit methods of Osko (PayID) and direct deposit, providing you with even more flexibility and efficiency in managing your assets.
To learn more, visit our help article.
Blockchain APAC's Crypto Assembly: key takeaways.
Last week, BTC Markets proudly sponsored Blockchain APAC’s Crypto Assembly in Sydney, marking another step in our commitment to the growth and development of the crypto industry.
Against the backdrop of the Australian Treasury's recent announcement on proposed crypto regulations for local exchanges, our active involvement in discussions with the government has become of paramount importance.
As foundational sponsors, we played a key role in facilitating crucial conversations on regulatory matters and contributing to the formulation of legal frameworks that benefit all participants in this dynamic landscape.
The event was a gathering of industry experts and thought leaders, offering valuable insights and cutting-edge information on DeFi, liquidity, Web 3 culture, and the legal landscape.
Notable discussions included perspectives on stablecoins in 2024, with insights from industry leaders like Niki Ariyasinghe from Chainlink and Drew Bradford from Zodia Custody. Raagulan Pathy from Circle shared insights on stablecoins in countries across Asia-Pacific, highlighting the demand for US dollars.
Additionally, our engagement extended to a conversation led by Blockchain Australia Chair Mike Bacina and Treasurer Greg Valles with Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones MP. It was a momentous occasion, and a particular highlight was the opportunity to sit down with Stephen Jones MP to discuss the future of the digital asset space in Australia.
The Crypto Assembly proved to be a platform for fostering meaningful dialogue, and we remain dedicated to our role as active contributors shaping the crypto industry's trajectory.
State of crypto
- Regulatory crackdown as DOJ settles with Binance.
- Bitcoin's unparalleled ROI against traditional assets.
- SEC charges Kraken with operating an unregistered exchange.
- BTC outpaces traditional markets as ETF interest drives inflows.
Regulatory crackdowns as the DOJ settles with Binance and the SEC charges Kraken.
Amidst a week of intensified regulatory actions and government agency announcements, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it had reached a settlement with Binance and its CEO, Changpeng Zhao (CZ), culminating in a guilty plea to money laundering and other U.S. federal charges, resulting in historic fines totalling US$4.3 billion.
The DOJ announcement came off the back of the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing suit against Kraken the day prior, citing the exchange was operating an unregistered securities exchange. The SEC also alleges that Binance and CZ knowingly mixed client assets in market-making firms, resembling practices observed before FTX's collapse.
In an unexpected twist, the DOJ revealed that prosecutors may seek a 10-year prison sentence for CZ. The judge has prohibited CZ from returning to Dubai, where he is based, before sentencing.
Integral to the DOJ agreement is a court-appointed monitorship that introduces systematic oversight to Binance. This scrutiny encompasses “products, risk management, governance, and compliance rigor” according to an article in Cointelegraph.
Bitcoin's resurgence outpaces traditional markets as ETF anticipation drives fund inflows.
Bitcoin has experienced a remarkable surge in 2023, outperforming traditional equity markets and other asset classes with a year-to-date increase of around 130%. This surge far exceeds the current price action of -0.17% seen in the ASX 200.
Anticipation surrounding approvals of several spot Bitcoin ETF’s, has led to the largest crypto fund inflows in two years according to CoinShares, reflecting a growing interest among investors.
Bitcoin's ROI since its inception in 2009 is almost 4.9 million percent to date. This astronomical return is calculated by comparing the current price of Bitcoin to its initial value, which was effectively zero as it was initially mined and traded among early adopters.
Bitcoin has consistently outperformed other major asset classes over the past 14 years. During this period, Gold has experienced a gain of 68%, and the S&P500 has seen an increase of 312%. This stark contrast further underscores Bitcoin's unparalleled performance in comparison to traditional assets.
The future of crypto
Navigating the next bull run: will Ai, real world assets, and gaming take centre stage?
In typical bull runs, a dominant narrative often takes centre stage, influencing conversations and trading strategies. In 2020, the focus shifted from the emergence of DeFi summer to the prominence of gaming and NFTs. Now, let's explore the compelling narratives that are poised to drive the upcoming bull run. Each narrative presents distinct opportunities, and investors are closely monitoring promising projects within these categories.
AI's rise with big data.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has long been touted as a transformative force, and its intersection with the crypto space is gaining momentum. Projects like The Graph (GRT), Injective Protocol (INJ), and Render (RNDR) stand out in this domain.
These projects contribute to the narrative of creating a decentralised AI marketplace, enabling AI developers to share and monetise their creations. With decentralised networks of AI agents, GRT, INJ, and RNDR aim to catalyse innovation in various industries within the crypto space.
Riding the RWA wave with Chainlink (LINK) and Avalanche (AVAX).
The concept of tokenising real-world assets (RWA) on the blockchain is gaining traction as a bridge between traditional finance and the crypto world. Projects like Chainlink and Avalanche are leading the charge in this narrative.
Chainlink, for example, facilitates secure and tamper-proof data feeds that can be used to verify real-world events and conditions, enhancing the reliability of smart contracts.
Avalanche, on the other hand, focuses on building a decentralised internet that incorporates real-world assets into its platform, providing a seamless connection between the physical and digital worlds.
These projects are tokenising various assets, allowing fractional ownership, and democratising access to investment opportunities. Investors can participate in diverse markets with smaller capital, fostering inclusivity in sectors traditionally reserved for larger players.
Leveling up with gaming.
As the gaming industry continues to expand, the convergence with blockchain technology is opening new avenues for innovation.
Decentraland operates a virtual world where users can buy, sell, and build on virtual land, creating a decentralised ecosystem.
IMX and SAND contribute to this narrative by introducing their unique gaming ecosystems, allowing users to engage with digital assets and experiences.
The idea of digital assets within the gaming world, powered by blockchain, is creating a vibrant economy with tangible value.
Considerations for investors.
Investors navigating the next bull run should consider the strengths and potential challenges within each narrative. AI projects hinge on advancements in technology and adoption across industries.
RWA relies on regulatory frameworks and the successful tokenisation of diverse real-world assets. Gaming projects depend on sustained user engagement and the integration of blockchain features into mainstream gaming experiences.
Whether banking on the future of AI, the tokenisation of real-world assets, or the thriving gaming industry, diligent research and strategic investments can unlock the potential rewards of the next bull run.
The weekly crypto close.
In the weekly market recap, assets that closed in the green are:
- Ethereum (ETH) showing a gain of +2.53%.
- Bitcoin (BTC) with a positive movement of +0.23%.
On the downside:
- Avalanche (AVAX) experienced a decline of -7.83%.
- Solana (SOL) faced a decrease of -5.79%.
- XRP experienced a decline of -1.61%.
- Polkadot (DOT) witnessed a decrease of -1.93%.
- Chainlink (LINK) saw a decline of -0.95%.
- Litecoin (LTC) dropped by -0.72%.
Bitcoin's dominance lost -0.12%, maintaining its strong position at 52.53% for the week. Simultaneously, the total cryptocurrency market capitalisation reached a peak of US$1.426 trillion, concluding its sixth consecutive week in positive territory with a 0.40% gain throughout the week and ultimately closing at US$1.394 trillion.
Meanwhile, the crypto market sentiment is slowly creeping up in the Greed zone, currently sitting at 74 on the Crypto Fear & Greed index, up from 72 yesterday.
Year-to-date in the crypto space.
Looking at the year-to-date performance of the most prominent crypto’s, Solana (SOL) leads the pack with an astounding surge of 490%, underlining its robust market performance. Following closely, Chainlink (LINK) experienced a notable increase of 158%, demonstrating its resilience in the volatile market conditions. Bitcoin (BTC), showcasing impressive growth with a substantial ascent of 128%.
Other top performers, Avalanche (AVAX) registered a gain of 92%, XRP (XRP) up 78%, while Compound (COMP) and Ethereum (ETH) both contributed to the positive market sentiment with gains of 63% and 69%, respectively.
Cardano (ADA) experienced growth at 54%, however, Litecoin (LTC) recorded a slight decrease in value, showing a 0.57% dip over the year.
The weekly trading stats as of Monday, November 27th at 11:00 am AEDT, based on data from Tradingview in USD.
Year-to-date performance as of Thursday, November 30th at 11:00 am AEDT, based on data from Tradingview in USD.
Bitcoin ETF hopes fuel largest crypto fund inflows in two years.
Crypto investment funds attracted net inflows of US$346 million last week, their largest net inflows this year, according to Coinshares latest report. Bitcoin (BTC) funds saw the strongest run of inflows since the 2021 bull market, as anticipation for a spot BTC exchange-traded fund (ETF) continues to allure investors.
Amid signs of short seller capitulation, BTC funds enticed US$312 million last week, underlining a nine-week consecutive run which brings year-to-date crypto fund inflows to over US$1.5 billion.
CoinShares head of research James Butterfill commented: "This run, spurred by anticipation of a spot-based ETF launch in the US, is the largest since the bull market in late-2021."
Butterfill noted that ETPs now account for 18% of total spot Bitcoin trading volume, a figure far above average, highlighting their growing popularity among investors seeking crypto exposure.
Despite the excitement, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced a delay to its decision regarding Franklin's ETF application, in what is potentially an attempt at ensuring fair play by approving all spot Bitcoin ETFs at once in the new year.
Buy Bitcoin on BTC Markets.
Vitalik Buterin's d/acc philosophy: fostering impartial decentralisation.
In a (very long) exploration of techno-optimism, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has outlined his d/acc (Depoliticised Access Control and Coordination) philosophy in his latest blog post, offering a novel perspective on the future of technology and how we go about refining decentralised systems.
At its core, d/acc advocates for minimising external political and social influences to enhance the impartiality and resilience of decentralised networks. The philosophy envisions a trustless environment where access control and coordination mechanisms prioritise autonomy, reducing external interference in decision-making processes. By depoliticising governance, d/acc aims to establish a framework where decentralised platforms operate in a more fair and secure manner.
As the crypto industry grapples with the delicate balance between decentralisation and effective governance, d/acc emerges as a timely and interesting viewpoint. Buterin's insights contribute significantly to ongoing discussions surrounding governance challenges and artificial intelligence (AI), setting a standard for fair and unbiased decision-making within decentralised ecosystems, underscoring that if AI turns on humanity, "even Mars may not be safe". In the ongoing evolution of technology, perhaps this philosophy can guide the industry towards a more resilient, trustworthy future.
Buy ETH on BTC Markets.
XRP climbs as Ripple's Metaco brings big banks closer.
XRP saw an uptick in price last month, following significant legal wins, and looks to be closing November around the AU$0.92 mark. Earlier this week, XRP’s price climbed to AU$0.96, accompanied by a notable increase in trading volume.
Following the historic settlement between the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Binance (BNB), analysts suggest that XRP may flip BNB in the near future, as Binance’s native token continues to downtrend. Currently, just US$2 billion separates BNB and XRP’s market capitalisation, which stand at US$35.7 billion and US$33.2 billion respectively.
Despite ongoing legal proceedings, Ripple has put significant effort into courting many of the big banks during the past few years, with an aim to reduce friction in cross-border payments worldwide. Ripple acquired Swiss digital assets custody firm Metaco, back in May. Recent news that Metaco is working with HSBC, one of the world's largest banks, as a custody tech partner, has boosted hopes that major financial institutions will adopt XRP Ledger technology.
Adrien Treccani, Metaco’s CEO, told CoinDesk:
“We can provide a bank with the infrastructure, and also tokenisation life cycle, payments primitives, and liquidity management all from a single vendor – with the proper segregation between that infrastructure and those value-added services,”
Buy XRP on BTC Markets.
Chainlink expands staking with 45 million LINK pool upgrade.
Decentralised computing protocol Chainlink has revamped its staking mechanism, launching Chainlink Staking v0.2 with a substantial 45 million expansion to its LINK pool, 8% of the current circulating supply.
Chainlink's upgraded staking system is designed to attract more participants, fostering a robust ecosystem around the LINK token while strengthening the network’s security and reliability. This significant investment in the LINK pool is part of Chainlink's Economics 2.0 plan and underscores the growing confidence in their role as a key infrastructure provider in the blockchain space.
Chainlink co-founder Sergey Nazarov said of the upgrade:
"Because we are seeing a consistent increase in the amount of value secured by and paid for over the Chainlink Network, it's increasingly important to improve cryptoeconomic security. Staking v0.2 introduces important new security features and sets the system up for even further growth in the year to come."
Chainlink is the most widely used oracle network in crypto, providing external real-world data to blockchain applications. With an increased focus on decentralised finance (DeFi) and smart contract applications, the upgrade aligns Chainlink’s commitment to advancing the capabilities of its network.
Buy LINK on BTC Markets.
Circle collaborates with SBI Holdings for USDC expansion in Japan.
Circle, issuer of the USDC stablecoin, is gearing up to broaden the presence of USDC in Japan, through a strategic partnership with Japanese securities and banking giant SBI Holdings. Tapping into the growing demand for stablecoins, Circle aims to strengthen the adoption of USDC in the Japanese market. SBI Holdings, a major financial institution, brings significant influence, potentially paving the way for increased USDC usage in various financial applications.
In a statement released on Monday, Circle said it signed a Memorandum of Understanding with SBI Holdings, which “includes SBI Group and Circle initially working towards the circulation of USDC and expanding the use of stablecoins in Japan.”
The partnership underlines the global trend of stablecoins becoming integral components of digital financial ecosystems. As Circle seeks to expand its footprint in Japan, their alliance with SBI Holdings could have a substantial impact on the accessibility and utility of USDC in the region and beyond.
Buy USDC on BTC Markets.
The week ahead: upcoming economic events
November 30th: France's Inflation Rate. Euro Area Inflation Rate. Italy's Inflation Rate. India's GDP Growth Rate. Canada's GDP Growth Rate. US Core PCE Price Index, Personal Income & Personal Spending.
December 1st: China's Caixin Manufacturing PMI. Canada's Unemployment Rate.
December 2nd: US Federal Reserve Chair Powell Speech. US ISM Manufacturing PMI.
December 4th: Germany's Balance of Trade.
December 5th: Reserve Bank of Australia's Interest Rate Decision.
December 6th: Australia's GDP Growth Rate. US ISM Services PMI & JOLTS Job Openings.
December 7th: Australia's Balance of Trade. China's Balance of Trade. Canada's Ivey PMI.
- Inflation dips more than economists expect in October.
- Retail sales surprise with a 0.2% decrease.
- Expectations of 60% rate hikes in early 2024.
- Economic indicators present a mixed outlook.
In October, inflation exhibited a faster-than-expected decline, alleviating some pressure on the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to follow up its recent interest rate hike with another. Concurrently, Australian retail sales unexpectedly dipped by 0.2%, contrary to analysts' projections of a 0.1% growth. This trend was attributed to consumers momentarily curtailing discretionary spending, likely in anticipation of taking advantage of Black Friday sales in November.
Despite the softer retail data, market reactions were muted, with prevailing expectations that the RBA would maintain its stance in the coming month. However, there is a 60% probability of potential rate hikes in early 2024. Despite the RBA's tightening campaign, consumer spending has remained resilient, contributing to the decision to resume rate increases in November.
Governor Michele Bullock's recent warning emphasised that inflation is increasingly driven by domestic demand, necessitating a more substantial response from interest rates. This perspective sparked social media mockery, particularly regarding her comments on Australians' visits to hairdressers and dentists contributing to inflation. Critics argue that factors such as large corporations, record immigration, and global price pressures are more significant contributors to inflation.
In contrast, Bullock defends the rate rises as a necessary response to demand-driven inflation, stressing the imperative to achieve collective welfare objectives. The contrasting views within the RBA align with ongoing considerations for additional rate hikes to curb inflation, currently at 5.4%.
Despite the economic landscape, other indicators present a mixed picture. Total construction work in Australia rose by 1.3% quarter-on-quarter, signalling acceleration. However, the manufacturing sector revealed a contraction for the ninth consecutive month, whilst the composite PMI, which measures the business activity in both the manufacturing and services sectors of the Australian economy, fell in November, indicating the sharpest decline since August 2021. A PMI reading above 50 indicates expansion in economic activity, while a reading below 50 suggests contraction.
- US Fed gives mixed signals suppressing market gains.
- Japan's inflation surges to 3.3%, highest since April 2014.
- Germany's economic indicators provide mixed signals.
US stocks closed with modest gains on Tuesday amid conflicting remarks from the US Federal Reserve officials, as positive consumer data provided some lift in sentiment.
Oliver Pursche, Senior Vice President at Wealthspire Advisors in New York, likened the market's current state to a marathon, stating that even runners need to pause for a breath and a drink. He expressed optimism among investors due to the strong performance in November.
Investors are closely analysing comments from Federal Reserve officials in anticipation of the upcoming Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. Fed Governor Christopher Waller expressed confidence in the current policy rate but hinted at potential rate cuts if inflation falls closer to the Fed's 2% target.
Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee highlighted progress in reducing inflation, while Fed Governor Michelle Bowman suggested the need for another rate hike to curb inflation promptly.
Pursche noted that mixed messaging from the Fed is typical near the end of a tightening cycle, with different members having varying opinions on the appropriate course of action.
Financial markets are pricing in a nearly certain 98.9% likelihood that the FOMC will maintain the Fed funds target rate at 5.25%-5.50% in the next meeting, according to CME's FedWatch tool.
The holiday shopping season is in full swing, with National Retail Federation survey data indicating a 5% increase in consumer spending this year. Consumer confidence data from the Conference Board also surprised positively due to improved near-term expectations.
In Japan, the annual inflation rate for October 2023 rose to 3.3%, marking the highest level since the prior month's 3.0%. The core inflation rate inched up to 2.9%, slightly below consensus but still above the Bank of Japan's 2% target for the 19th consecutive month. On a monthly basis, consumer prices increased by 0.7%, the most significant gain since April 2014.
In Germany, the Manufacturing PMI for November 2023 increased to the highest in six months, showing signs of a softened decline in the manufacturing sector. The Ifo Business Climate indicator rose in November, reaching its strongest level in four months. However, the GfK Consumer Climate Indicator edged up slightly for December, reflecting continued weak consumer sentiment characterised by uncertainty and concern. The propensity to buy increased slightly, while income expectations suffered small losses, and economic expectations remained almost unchanged.
Hong Kong regulators may get powers to crack down on unlicensed crypto exchanges.
Hong Kong's Chief Executive has hinted at empowering regulators with increased authority to crack down on unlicensed crypto exchanges, signalling a commitment to address critical regulatory gaps.
This move comes following the news that at least 145 people in Hong Kong were scammed on the unlicensed crypto exchange Hounax, resulting in a loss of US$18.9 million. Hong Kong's consideration of additional powers for regulators reflects a global trend of tightening oversight to ensure consumer protection, market integrity, and mitigate the risks associated with unregulated exchanges. As the crypto industry continues to evolve, governments are increasingly focused on establishing robust regulatory frameworks.
As Hong Kong navigates these regulatory waters, the crypto community will be closely monitoring the outcomes and implications of these potential powers. Optimistic onlookers hope for a delicate balance between innovation and regulation in the evolving cryptocurrency landscape, contributing to the industry's maturation. Hong Kong's proactive approach signals a commitment to striking that balance for the benefit of both market participants and regulatory authorities.
Scams Awareness Week Australia.
Taking place from November 27th to December 1st, this year's focus is on impersonation scams, shedding light on the tactic’s scammers employ. It's crucial to recognise the signs of scam messages, especially as perpetrators frequently masquerade as representatives of trusted organisations, like BTC Markets.
Stay informed about common scam strategies, such as enticing you with promises of rebates, payments, or requests to update personal details, and empower yourself to navigate the digital landscape securely.
What are ‘Impersonation’ scams?
People aren’t always who they say they are.
3 in every 4 scam reports we receive involve impersonation – criminals pretending to be people we should trust.
Always ask yourself: who’s really there?
How do ‘Impersonation’ scams work?
Impersonation scams use your trust in people or organisations to agree to requests you normally wouldn't. These scammers pretend to be trusted brands, recruiters, and government organisations – even friends or family – to steal personal information and money.
Scammers are great at putting you in a highly emotional state: anxious, scared, or excited. And changes in technology have made impersonation scams harder to spot. They really can happen to anyone.
Stop and think: Who's really there?
Next time you receive a call, text or email that asks for sensitive information or doesn’t seem right, STOP and THINK – who’s really there?
Ignore them: Delete and block, keep scrolling. Never click the link. If hanging up on someone feels hard, it’s OK to tell them you’ll call back on their main number – even if you don’t. Do whatever you need to end the conversation.
Independently check who you’re dealing with: Never use contact details they’ve given you. If you want to check who’s really there, use official websites, apps, phone numbers and email addresses you’ve looked up yourself.
Together we can make Australia a harder target for scammers!
At BTC Markets, we are committed to keeping you up to date on the latest scams in the crypto space. Each week we share tips on how to protect yourself in our ‘Compliance Conversations’ blog.
ASIC provides a checklist of common scams and ways to avoid them. To learn more, visit ASIC’s website.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this email is for general purposes only. It should not be construed as professional financial advice from BTC Markets Pty Ltd. BTC Markets is not a financial adviser, and you should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to ensure that the information relates to your unique circumstances. BTC Markets is not liable for any loss caused, whether due to negligence or otherwise arising from the use of, or reliance on, the information provided directly or indirectly, by use of this information contained within this email. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance. We note that we may, at any time, change the characteristics of the product. The information provided is intended for recipients in Australia. This information is not to be reproduced without permission.
Prices are accurate as of 11:00 AM AEST, on 30/11/2023.