Market Wrap: Cryptos Mixed Amid Choppy Trading, Bitcoin Activity Slows

Bitcoin (BTC) was roughly flat on Thursday as trading conditions remained choppy across the crypto market.

Technical indicators have been neutral throughout the past week as BTC traded at about $30,000. Meanwhile, some alternative cryptocurrencies (altcoins) are outperforming BTC, which could encourage some buyers to return from the sidelines.

Internet Computer’s ICP token rallied by as much as 20% over the past 24 hours, while Cardano’s ADA token was up by 4% over the same period. Meanwhile, Solana’s SOL token was down by 2% over the past 24 hours after a network outage on Wednesday.

On the regulatory front, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued Gemini Trust Co. Thursday, alleging the crypto exchange’s staff misled the federal regulator during Gemini’s effort in 2017 to start trading of what would have been a landmark bitcoin futures contract. CoinDesk’s Nik De has the latest here.

The Gemini case highlights concerns about exchange data and potential market manipulation. For example, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has continuously struck down proposals for a spot-based bitcoin exchange-traded fund, citing issues related to volatility, fraud and price manipulation.

Latest prices

Bitcoin (BTC): $30,300, +0.90% 

Ether (ETH): $1,823, +0.35% 

●S&P 500 daily close: 4,177, +1.84% 

●Gold: $1,873 per troy ounce, +1.62% 

●Ten-year Treasury yield daily close: 2.91%

Bitcoin, ether and gold prices are taken at approximately 4pm New York time. Bitcoin is the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index (XBX); Ether is the CoinDesk Ether Price Index (ETX); Gold is the COMEX spot price. Information about CoinDesk Indices can be found at coindesk.com/indices.

Activity stagnates in bear market

The chart below shows a dip in the number of active entities and addresses on the Bitcoin blockchain, similar to what occurred during the 2018 crypto bear market.

There was a brief upswing in blockchain activity as investors scrambled to post margin and cover positions during the LUNA-inspired sell-off, which some analysts viewed as an early sign of capitulation. That spike in activity, however, was short-lived.

“The recent sell-off and lower prices has not yet inspired an influx of new users to the space,” Glassnode wrote in a blog post.

Meanwhile, existing entities on the network (possibly long-term holders) have been accumulating additional BTC on price dips, especially over the past two weeks. Still, the level of accumulation has been minor relative to previous phases.

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Bitcoin active entities and addresses (Glassnode)

Slower spending by bitcoin miners

Bitcoin miners have been distributing their holdings of BTC during the recent sell-off, albeit at a slower pace compared with earlier this year. Still, it is unclear if the miners’ position changes will lead or react to BTC price swings.

The chart below shows the 30-day change of BTC supply held in miner addresses, according to data compiled by Glassnode.

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Bitcoin miner net position change (Glassnode)

Altcoin roundup

  • Solana outage: The Solana network suffered its latest outage Wednesday, felled for over four hours by a bug in how the blockchain processes a niche type of transaction that’s designed for offline use cases. Validators began restarting the network only after disabling these “durable nonce transactions,” Solana Labs communications chief Austin Federa told CoinDesk. Solana’s SOL token is down by 9% over the past week, compared with a 3% rise in BTC over the same period. 
  • Staked ether discount: Staked ether (stETH), a token from the Lido protocol that’s supposed to trade at a price close to ether (ETH), has been changing hands at a sustained discount since the collapse of the Terra network – possibly a signal that liquidity has dried up in crypto markets. “At this point, there’s no new money coming into crypto,” Fundstrat analyst Walter Teng told CoinDesk in a Telegram chat.
  • Alchemy expands to Solana ecosystem: Alchemy is expanding its services to the Solana ecosystem, the Web 3 developer platform said on Thursday. The beta version is now live for users to sign up and will be released to the wider public in the coming weeks, according to a press release. Popular Web 3 products, such as OpenSea, Aave and 0x, were developed through Alchemy.