Ether surpasses US$ 3,000 driven by expectations of ETFs in the US

For the first time in nearly two years, Ether (COIN:ETHUSD) exceeded US$ 3,000 on Tuesday, driven by the possibility of approval of Ether ETFs in the United States by May. Reaching a peak of US$ 3,003.40, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market value then retreated, settling at US$ 2,930.01, marking a 0.48% decline in 24 hours. The anticipation for an Ether ETF follows the success of Bitcoin ETFs. Despite high expectations, analysts and regulators remain cautious about the rapid approval of these ETFs.

Expectation for Bitcoin ETF expansion in the coming months

A spokesperson for Galaxy Digital Holdings (TSX:GLXY) predicts increasing adoption of Bitcoin ETFs soon, as reported by FOX Business. Steve Kurz, from Galaxy Asset Management, expressed surprise if within a year major financial institutions do not engage with these ETFs, anticipating institutional FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Eleanor Terrett of FOX Business pointed out that many financial advisors are interested but are awaiting approval from their firms after risk assessments. Galaxy, with its Invesco Galaxy Bitcoin ETF (AMEX:BTCO), participated in a highly attended panel on the topic at the ETF Exchange Conference in Miami, highlighting the growing interest in the sector.

Bitwise Bitcoin ETF adopted by $30 billion advisor network

The Bitwise Bitcoin ETF Trust (AMEX:BITB) has been officially approved for inclusion in a prestigious network of registered investment advisors (RIAs) with assets under management of $30 billion. Announced by Bitwise CEO Hunter Horsley via X (formerly Twitter), this approval allows network advisors to allocate between 1% to 5% of funds into BITB. While the name of the RIA has not been disclosed, the acceptance of BITB marks a significant advancement for the ETF, which quickly surpassed the billion-dollar mark in assets. This move underscores the growing integration of Bitcoin into the institutional financial sector, with RIAs managing around $115 trillion in assets globally.

BlackRock boosts Bitcoin ETF marketing with new announcement

Despite Bitcoin spot ETFs surpassing $5 billion in investments, the sector is still emerging. BlackRock (NYSE:BLK), which recently obtained SEC approval for its iShares Bitcoin Trust (NASDAQ:IBIT), has launched an innovative advertising campaign. The ad, described as “simple, modern, and effective” by Bloomberg’s senior ETF analyst Eric Balchunas, targets not only a specific group of investors but also resonates strongly with financial advisors. Promising simplicity and equating its BTC ETFs to traditional products, BlackRock aims to inform investors about this new asset class, consolidating its leadership in the market.

Challenges and opportunities in the Bitcoin market amidst leveraged positions

Investor HODL15Capital highlighted on X a short-selling trend in Bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD), with potential liquidations of up to $1 billion if prices reach $52,400 to $53,000. With Bitcoin stabilizing around $51,270, Coinglass’s liquidation heatmap for the BTC/USDT pair on Binance shows high leverage above this level. Recently, the move beyond $50,000 resulted in notable liquidations, highlighting the vulnerability of leveraged short positions. However, another perspective highlights that the extremely low trading volume indicates that the $52,800 resistance is short-term and likely to be surpassed soon. This low selling volume may be interpreted only as a temporary pullback, not as an indication of a more significant trend reversal. “The extremely low trading volume on negative BTC days (like yesterday and Saturday) indicates that the $52,800 resistance is short-term and should be broken soon. The low selling volume indicates just a pullback, not a stronger reversal,” commented Fernando Pereira, analyst at Bitget.

Starknet launches historic token airdrop

Starknet, an Ethereum rollup, initiated the largest token distribution of the year, delivering 728 million STRK to approximately 1.3 million addresses. The pre-launch token was initially priced at $1.80 on Aevo and reached $5 on Kucoin before stabilizing at $3.50. With a total of 10 billion STRK, the theoretical market value reaches $35 billion, while the current market value is $2.32 billion. Starknet, which utilizes zero-knowledge proof technology to optimize transactions on Ethereum, allocates over half of the token supply to the Starknet Foundation and the rest to contributors, employees, and partners, with unlocking over 31 months.

Binance concludes leveraged token offerings

Binance will cease trading and subscription of its leveraged tokens, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and BNB variants, by February 28. Affected assets, such as BTCUP and BTCDOWN, will be removed, with redemption available until April 3. These products offer leveraged exposure without strategy adjustments but with risks. The withdrawal follows Binance’s focus on optimizing customer value and competitiveness as the platform recovers its market share after regulatory challenges.

Forbes establishes innovative presence in The Sandbox metaverse

Forbes celebrated its entry into The Sandbox metaverse (COIN:SANDUSD), inaugurating a space dedicated to the Web3 community. This new digital territory not only reflects Forbes’ commitment to innovation but also serves as a vibrant meeting point for idea exchange and networking. With a design that includes a pool, a bar, and a gallery for the 2024 Under 30 laureates, Forbes aims to stimulate interaction and engagement. Taha Ahmed, from Forbes, highlighted this initiative as a milestone in technological exploration, promising a gamified and interactive content-rich experience for visitors. “By establishing a permanent presence in this digital world, we are opening new pathways for our community to connect, learn, and grow together in ways that were previously unimaginable,” said Ahmed.

Mastercard and Swoo Pay drive crypto payments for emerging markets

Mastercard (NYSE:MA) is collaborating with Swoo Pay, an app focused on payments in developing regions, aiming to introduce cryptocurrency loyalty rewards. This initiative seeks to cover gaps left by other players like Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) in international payments. The partnership will focus on markets not served by Google Pay, such as Africa and Southeast Asia, and will extend to Huawei smartphone users, who face Google service restrictions. The goal is to offer Swoo tokens as rewards, which can be exchanged for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD). The initiative, which has already had a successful pilot, aims to make crypto payments more accessible and encourage everyday transactions among users.

MetaMask enhances security with automatic alerts

The MetaMask wallet app now provides automatic security alerts, courtesy of Blockaid, for its extension and mobile app users across various networks. Launched after a beta period, this feature aims to notify wallet holders about suspicious transactions. Initially available on Ethereum (COIN:ETHUSD), these alerts now cover networks such as Polygon (COIN:MATICUSD), Arbitrum (COIN:ARBUSD), Optimism (COIN:OPUSD), Avalanche (COIN:AVAXUSD), and BNB Chain (COIN:BNBUSD). This functionality is expected to prevent significant asset thefts in 2024. Dan Finlay, co-founder of MetaMask, emphasized this update as essential to keeping the platform secure for all users. “This is a crucial step in ensuring that MetaMask remains at the forefront of secure, self-custodial encrypted wallets for both new and experienced users,” said Finlay.

CME to introduce euro-denominated micro Bitcoin and Ether futures

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (NASDAQ:CME) announced it will launch euro-denominated micro Bitcoin and Ether futures on March 18, subject to regulatory approval. This new offering expands CME’s range of cryptocurrency derivative products, following previous releases of micro Bitcoin and Ether futures in dollars. The new futures contracts will be one-tenth the size of the original assets, aiming to offer a more accessible investment option in cryptocurrencies. Giovanni Vicioso, Head of Cryptocurrency Products at CME Group, highlighted the growing demand for risk management instruments in Bitcoin and Ether, especially in regions outside the US.

Hong Kong establishes guidelines for digital asset custody

The central bank of Hong Kong has released guidelines for banks wishing to offer crypto asset custody services, aiming to reaffirm its position as a cryptocurrency financial center. The new rules, detailed in an 11-page document, require a detailed risk assessment, effective risk management policies, and strong management involvement. In response to recent sector failures, HKMA insists on asset segregation, prevention of misuse of client assets, and rigorous security measures, including cold storage and protection of private keys.

Investor accuses Swiss fund Tyr Capital of ignoring FTX risks

Swiss hedge fund Tyr Capital faces negligence allegations from an investor after failing to heed advance warnings about the imminent risk of FTX’s bankruptcy, according to the Financial Times. Allegedly, the fund disregarded concerns raised by TGT, an investor, about its exposure to FTX, attempting to withdraw funds only after the exchange declared bankruptcy in November 2022. TGT, seeking to regain control over its assets, including a $22 million claim against FTX, warned Tyr between November 7 and 10, before the collapse. Swiss authorities are investigating Tyr, having conducted searches in August and seized documents.

UK accelerates regulation of cryptocurrencies and stablecoins

The UK is mobilizing to implement new rules on cryptocurrencies and stablecoins within six months, stated Bim Afolami, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, at a Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN) event. The government aims to expedite this process ahead of the general elections scheduled for January 2025. The recent proposals aim to bring the sector under financial supervision, leading some crypto companies to pause operations in the country due to regulatory requirements.

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