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This Week in Crypto
The overall cryptoassets market trickled down to 1.22T in market cap over the past week. On May 4, the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point in response to inflation pressures. In response, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite fell by 3.12% and 5% respectively the day after. Bitcoin and Ethereum dropped by 54% and 50% since their all time highs in November 2021. Thanks to a Bitcoin-backed loan, MicroStrategy holds around 129,218 Bitcoins, acquired at an average price of around $30.7K per Bitcoin. If Bitcoin dips to below $21K, the software analytics company will either have to sell some of its holdings backing the loan or deposit more Bitcoin as a collateral. Tesla on the other hand is at a greater loss, holding around 43,200 Bitcoins, acquired at an average price of $34K.
The bear case here is if these large institutional investors decide to dump their BTC holdings, we speculate that the price might dip to around $20K. However, this isn’t a new drill for Bitcoin’s price movement over the years. The first time Bitcoin’s price dropped by half was in February 2018, going down to $8K after crossing the $19K mark in December 2017. It took Bitcoin two calendar years to recover. However, in the following years, recovery time shrunk to just a few months. As the market stands, the leverage accelerating recovery could be spotted in the increasing institutional adoption of crypto, and especially Bitcoin. We can safely reckon recovery to take place within the next quarter.
Regulations and Adoption
Argentina’s central bank made a decision to ban crypto trading on the back of the alleged pressure from the International Monetary Fund, which gave the country a $44B relief package back in 2017. This decision comes just a few days after Argentina’s biggest private bank, Banco Galicia, decided to add crypto trading. Uganda is also enforcing a countrywide crackdown this week on digital payment providers facilitating crypto transactions.
Nigeria is upgrading its central bank digital currency (CBDC) eNaira to be used on a wider range of goods and services. On the other hand, Nigeria’s central bank is also tightening its grip on cryptoassets, crippling the country’s fintech sector, according to a UN report.
On a higher note, Japanese eCommerce website, SBI Motor Japan, announced it will start accepting Bitcoin and Ripple for its automotive sales. This will mark the first time Ripple would be deployed on a cross-border e-commerce website in Japan. On May 4, when Bitcoin was trading at $38K, Gucci announced it will accept crypto payments in some US stores at the end of this month, and plans to extend the pilot to all stores in North America.
In a win for DeFi adoption, Jane Street took out a $25M loan in USDC from BlockTower Capital through Clearpool, a decentralized capital markets provider built on Ethereum. Clearpool enables institutions to borrow uncollateralized loans via a network of lenders, and is backed by venture capital firms, including Arrington Capital and Sequoia Capital.
DeFi and NFTs
Algorithmic stablecoins are getting battle-tested as Terra (UST), the largest in the market, lost its peg last week, dropping to $0.66 on May 10 and to as low as $0.3 the following day. The Luna Foundation Guard plans to lend $750M worth of Bitcoin and 750M UST to market makers to bring UST back to its peg. Read our statement on UST and LUNA to learn more.
Despite the bloodbath in the market last week, developments in the realm of DeFi are still coming strong. Tron’s new algorithmic stablecoin USDD has officially gone live on the blockchain. Tron is collateralizing $10B in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to support USDD. The new stablecoin will be available on Ethereum and BNB Smart Chain.
Polkadot also launched XCM, a new cross-chain communications protocol aiming to eliminate the need for complex bridging procedures that have cost the crypto industry billions in cyber attacks. Being as secure as Polkadot’s core hub, the Relay Chain, XCM will allow communication between parachains and smart contracts.
Decentralized oracle network Chainlink is partnering with LaProp, a tokenized real estate platform serving the property market in Latin America. Leveraging Chainlink Keepers’ node operators’ track record in securing billions of dollars invested in DeFi markets, LaProp will allow investors to buy tokenized shares in various real-world properties, yielding a percentage of income from rental payments. Chainlink Keepers is a decentralized automation service that carries out tasks for smart contracts on the BNB Chain.
On the NFTs front, Instagram is testing out NFTs this week through select content creators in the US. The supported blockchains for showcasing NFTs on Instagram are Ethereum and Polygon. In other news, Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) unveiled its headquarters in metaverse, making it the first governmental entity in The Sandbox.