Biweekly Headlines 2023 Dec W2 – W3

“Calling Bitcoin a religion is not the insult that you think it is. Religions:

* have a moral code

* have shared beliefs

* help shape peoples’ identities

* are a system separate from that of the state

* last many generations

Knee-jerk atheist insults show how intellectually shallow these critics are.” – Jimmy Song

Biweekly News Roundup

1. Market Performance and Predictions

The price of BTC extended its year-to-date gain to over 164% and climbed above $44,000 – a level not seen since before the crash of Terra – for the first time since April 2022, pushing the market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies over $1.5 trillion for the first since May 2022. The number of whale entities has increased to 1,509, the highest since September 2022. ETH moved past $2,300, rallying more than 99% year to date. The anchored euro (AEUR) stablecoin, which is supposedly pegged to 1 euro, surged nearly 200% on Binance after being listed on the crypto exchange on Dec. 5. BTC and ETH drop spurred $500M in liquidations on Dec. 11 as steep volatility impacted highly leveraged longs and shorts. Soon after the Fed projected rate cuts next year, Bitcoin bounced over $43K, and altcoins and crypto stocks burst higher on Dec. 14. Bitcoin futures open interest on CME near 2021 all-time high. Matrixport’s $45K end-of-year target for BTC looks to be accurate. Bitwise predicts Bitcoin will surge to $80K as stablecoins overtake Visa in 2024. Key indicators tracking Bitcoin’s blockchain activity, miner flows, and the 200-day moving average suggest Bitcoin is far from being overvalued and could continue to rally in 2024.

2. Cryptocurrency Investments and Gains

Coinbase, Marathon Digital, and Riot Platforms surged over 300% from their prices at the start of 2023. The president of El Salvador said that his country’s BTC investment was now profitable by more than $3 million following the crypto’s rally to the $42,000 area.

3. Regulatory and Institutional Developments

As the SEC engages in detailed discussions with investment giants like BlackRock and Fidelity, the potential approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF seems to be moving closer to reality. A crypto bill has scored a victory in a committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, with the panel’s unanimous approval of legislation that would direct the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to support blockchain technology. France’s third largest bank SocGen issues green euro-denominated bond on Ethereum. Two of Turkey’s largest banking groups announced crypto initiatives. Turkey ranks among the top 20 countries in Chainalysis’ Global Crypto Adoption Index 2023. El Salvador’s long-planned Bitcoin bonds have inched closer to reality after apparently receiving regulatory approval for an early 2024 issuance.

4. Global Adoption and Usage

According to Mastercard, it reveals that 51% of consumers in Latin America have purchased with digital currency, while one-third have used a stablecoin for everyday purchases. The Swiss city of Lugano officially announced that it has started accepting BTC and USDT as payment for taxes and all other community fees. El Salvador kickstarted its “Freedom VISA” program, doling out residency to a maximum of 1,000 people per year who invest at least $1 million worth of BTC or USDT and attracting $153M in less than one week.

5. Blockchain and DeFi Trends

The blockchain gaming market in North America is projected to reach $600B by 2030.  Value on some Solana-based protocols has risen by as much as 120% and newly announced layer-2 platform Blast received more than $700M in deposits. DeFi’s TVL has gained more than $15B in six weeks. The total amount of capital locked or staked across all DeFi protocols reached $50 billion at the start of December for the first time in six months, led by Solana ecosystem protocols.

6. NFT and Crypto Art Market

Venturing into the world of Bitcoin NFT artwork, Sotheby’s introduces its first-ever sale titled “Bitcoin Ordinals.” The average value of NFT transactions climbed from $126 to $270, showing an increase of 114% in November, with trading volume nearing $1B as markets turned bullish.

7. Corporate and Venture Capital Movements

FTX’s SOL holdings are worth over $4.2B in today’s money, up from $1.16B from earlier this year, setting the claims market on fire. Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) has released its “big ideas” for 2024, with its crypto arm composing a list of trends to look forward to in crypto in 2024.

8. Economic and External Factors Impacting Crypto

Goldman Sachs sees the Fed delivering the first rate cut in Q3 2024, with expected rate cuts in 2024 and the Bitcoin halving event set for April, both could be catalysts for a post-halving price rally. VanEck predicts that BTC will hit a new all-time high in late 2024 because of a long-feared US recession and regulatory shifts after the next U.S. presidential election.

Dec. 16, 2023

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