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First Mover Americas: BTC, ETH Drop Amid Geopolitical Tensions

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With heightened tensions between Beijing and Washington, BTC, ETH and the rest of global markets fell. (James Allen/Unsplash)

  • Price Point: The correlation between crypto and stock markets is strong, as global markets take a hit amid heightening geopolitical tensions. Both bitcoin and ether are down.
  • Market Moves: ETH and BTC trading volumes converge for the first time. Will there be a change in market dominance?
  • Chart of The Day: The U.S. yield curve is at its flattest level since 2000.

This article originally appeared in First Mover, CoinDesk’s daily newsletter putting the latest moves in crypto markets in context. Subscribe to get it in your inbox every day.

Price point

Bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) were both down on Tuesday as global markets fell on fears that the U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) planned visit to Taiwan could heighten tensions between Beijing and Washington.

The prospect of escalating geopolitical tensions led to a fresh risk-off sentiment among investors, and cryptocurrencies are seen as risky assets.

In China, the benchmark Shanghai Composite dropped 2.3%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 2.4%.

BTC was down by 1% over the last 24 hours and ETH dropped 5%.

“The larger dip in ether is just ETH taking a profit trade from investors after a 50% rally in July,” said Pablo Jodar, financial products manager at Storm Partners, a systems provider for the crypto industry in Europe.

In July, ETH rallied by 56% and BTC rose 16%, according to data from TradingView.

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Ether's returns in July (TradingView)

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Bitcoin's returns in July (TradingView)

“It’s important to recall the difference between the two tokens’ rally last month,” Jodar said. “It’s normal to see a bigger dip in ETH now.”

The correlation with stocks remains strong for cryptocurrencies, which signals that the Hang Seng Index’s drop on Tuesday hurts the momentum, Jodar said.

“The support for ETH now sits at around $1,500,” Jodar said. “If ETH manages to keep that level, it will be a positive signal for the market and the bullish trend could continue to $1,700.”

Tokens trading in the green Tuesday included’s cronos (CRO) and chilliz (CHZ), which is a digital currency for sports and entertainment, powering the platform. They were up by 7% and 13%.

Elsewhere, Coinbase Prime has added ethereum to its expanding list of staking options for U.S. institutional clients, according to a blog post Monday.

According to a report from CoinShares, crypto funds saw a fifth consecutive week of inflows, with net inflows of $81 million in the seven days ended July 29. July’s $474 million of inflows were the largest monthly amount this year and reversed June’s outflows of $481 million.

User activity on the Aave lending platform rose to a 2022 high ahead of the launch of its yield-generating stablecoin, GHO. Read more about that here.

Biggest Gainers

Asset Ticker Returns DACS Sector
Gala GALA +6.0% Entertainment

Biggest Losers

Asset Ticker Returns DACS Sector
Terra LUNA −12.2% Smart Contract Platform
Polkadot DOT −5.9% Smart Contract Platform
Chainlink LINK −4.9% Computing

Market Moves

ETH and BTC Trading Volumes Converge for First Time

For the first time this year, ether’s market share of trading volume achieved 50% parity with bitcoin’s, according to data provided by Kaiko. It was previously around 45% to 50%.

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BTC vs. ETH volume. (Kaiko)

“This could be because of FOMO from investors of ETH 2.0 or because there is already a change in tendency,” Jodar said, using the acronym for “feat of missing out” and referring to an upcoming software update on the Ethereum network.

“In the next bull market, maybe we will see a change in market dominance,” he said.

Chart of the Day: U.S. Yield Curve Flattest Since 2000

By Omkar Godbole

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The U.S. Treasury yield curve (TradingView)

  • The U.S. 10/2 yield spread, measuring the difference between yields on 10- and two-year Treasury notes, is now at its most inverted level since September 2000.
  • The flattening indicates that even as the Federal Reserve raises rates and puts upward pressure on the two-year yield, market participants are buying the 10-year note, pushing its yield lower.
  • That reflects investor belief that the Fed’s tightening cycle will be over soon and rates will fall again, perhaps to support economic growth. Bond prices and yields move in the opposite direction.
  • The flattening, therefore, could be considered bullish for risky assets, including bitcoin. It’s the classic case of bad news being good news for markets, especially since risk assets seem to have priced the Fed’s tightening since November.
  • The 10-year note often attracts demand for safe haven assets and could do so if tensions between the U.S. and China escalate over Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan – a self-governed Island claimed by Beijing. In that case, risk assets will likely dip alongside the continued flattening of the yield curve.

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