Crypto Rally: Bitcoin, Ether Surge after Ripple's Partial Win against SEC

Bitcoin, the world's leading cryptocurrency, experienced a significant surge on Friday, surpassing the crucial resistance level of $31,000. This surge came after Ripple Labs achieved a partial victory in its long-standing three-year lawsuit against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

Ripple was accused by the regulatory body of offering XRP as an unregistered security. Alongside Bitcoin, Ether and other top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies also witnessed substantial gains, with XRP leading the rally with an impressive rise of over 70%. 

Meanwhile, U.S. equity futures traded flat during the Asian session as investors eagerly awaited earnings reports from major U.S. banks. Furthermore, the release of the U.S. producer price index (PPI) on Thursday added to the belief that inflation is slowing down in the country.

Ripple’s XRP leads crypto rally

XRP Ruling Boosts Crypto Market  

Bitcoin registered a 3.45% increase over the past 24 hours, reaching $31,463 as of 07:50 a.m. in Hong Kong. This marked a weekly gain of 4.93%, and Bitcoin even reached a high of $31,814 early Friday morning, which was the highest price recorded since June 2022.

In a summary judgement on Thursday, New York Southern District Court Judge Analisa Torres ruled that Ripple's programmatic sales of the XRP token on public exchanges do not fall under the category of securities, providing Ripple with a partial victory against the SEC. The SEC had initially sued Ripple, a San Francisco-based fintech firm, in 2020, arguing that XRP should be classified as a security.

However, it's important to note that the court ruled that Ripple's sales of XRP to institutional investors did violate securities laws. Consequently, these transactions will be subject to further court proceedings.

Despite the optimism prevailing in the crypto community due to the market upswing, some industry experts are expressing cautious sentiments. Townsend Lansing, the Head of Product at CoinShares, commented via email that identifying Ripple's sales to institutional customers as a violation of securities law represents a significant victory for the SEC. He further emphasized that this ruling sets a precedent for regulatory action against other cryptocurrencies.

Lansing highlighted the possibility of institutional investors who directly purchased from Ripple facing class-action litigation as potential underwriters, especially if prominent venture capitalists were involved. Nevertheless, Justin d'Anethan, the head of APAC business development at Keyrock, a Belgium-based crypto market maker, believes that the ruling has shaken investors in a positive way, implying a renewed sense of confidence in the market.

Europe's First Bitcoin ETF Set for Public Listing

In other news, Europe is about to witness the public listing of its first Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) this month. The Financial Times reported on Thursday that this listing had faced a 12-month delay from its initial scheduled date. Experts consider the introduction of the Bitcoin ETF as a potential catalyst for the crypto market. Keyrock's d'Anethan stated that the idea of seeing multiple cryptocurrencies being tracked by ETFs is not implausible, and traders are adjusting their positions accordingly.

Similar to Bitcoin's performance, Ether recorded a surge of 6.99%, reaching $2,004 and marking a weekly increase of 7.69%. This is the first time Ether has traded above $2,000 since April. Encouraged by the ruling in the SEC-Ripple case, all other non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies in the top 10 also experienced gains over the past 24 hours. Cardano's ADA, Solana's SOL, and Polygon's MATIC each achieved double-digit increases.

XRP, the subject of the SEC's lawsuit against Ripple, witnessed an astounding 72.75% jump, reaching $0.8142, with a weekly gain of 74.89%. This surge allowed XRP to replace Binance's BNB as the third-largest non-stablecoin cryptocurrency by market capitalization.

The total market capitalization of the crypto market rose by 6.19% over the past 24 hours, reaching $1.26 trillion, while trading volume saw a significant surge of 95.72%, reaching $60.3 billion.

Forkast 500 Up, Dapper Labs Announces Layoffs

The Forkast 500 and other NFT market indexes provide a measure of the global NFT market's performance. These indexes are managed by CryptoSlam, a sister company of Forkast.News under the Forkast.Labs umbrella.

The main Forkast 500 NFT index witnessed a slight increase of 0.14% over the past 24 hours, reaching 2,699.39 as of 09:55 a.m. in Hong Kong. Forkast's Solana and Cardano NFT market indices also experienced upward movement, while the Ethereum and Polygon indices saw a decline.

Despite the rise in cryptocurrency prices following the Ripple ruling, the total sales volume of NFTs experienced a slight dip of 1.72% over the past 24 hours, amounting to $24.45 million, according to data from CryptoSlam.

Among all NFT collections, Bitcoin-based $FRAM BRC-20 NFTs dominated the 24-hour sales volume, increasing by 0.31% to $2.14 million. This accounted for more than two-thirds of the total volume on the Bitcoin network. Ethereum-based collections such as Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) and the Captainz ranked second and third, respectively.

The top-selling collectible in the past 24 hours was BAYC #1734, part of the BAYC collection, which was sold for 600 Ether ($1.2 million) early Friday. It's worth noting that BAYC #1734 had previously been sold for 800 Ether in January 2022. Yehudah Petscher, the NFT Strategist at Forkast Labs, highlighted the significance of this sale, stating that despite the substantial loss incurred, it demonstrates that there is still a market for high-priced NFTs even during a bear market.

As the bear market continues, Dapper Labs, the developer of popular NFT collections like CryptoKitties and NBA Top Shot, announced on Thursday that it would be laying off 51 employees, approximately 12% of its workforce. 

This decision, although difficult, is aimed at ensuring a lean and efficient company, according to Dapper Labs CEO Roham Gharegozlou. These layoffs mark the third round of workforce reductions in the past 12 months, resulting in a total reduction of 22% in November 2022 and an additional 20% in February this year.

Cool Cats Group, the Web3 company behind the Cool Cats NFT collection, also made an announcement. They revealed a partnership with game developer nWayPlay, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based software and investment giant Animoca Brands. The collaboration will focus on the development of a Web3 game scheduled for release between late 2023 and early 2024.

U.S. Equities Trade Flat Amid Data Releases

U.S. Equities Trade Flat Amid Data Releases

U.S. stock futures showed little movement as of 11:50 a.m. in Hong Kong. While all three major U.S. indexes closed higher in Thursday's regular trading session, with the Nasdaq leading the gains with a rise of 1.58%, stock futures indicated a relatively stagnant market.

The U.S. producer price index (PPI) released on Thursday revealed a year-on-year increase of 0.1% for the month of June, down from 0.9% in May. This figure represents the smallest rise since August 2020. The PPI data fell below analysts' expectations of a 0.4% annual increase, further suggesting a slowdown in U.S. inflation.

Keith Wade, the chief economist and strategist at asset management firm Schroders, pointed out that the better-than-expected inflation figures for June 2023 indicate that policies aimed at easing price pressures, such as higher interest rates, are having an effect. 

However, Wade still anticipates another interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve in July due to lingering concerns about inflation. He believes that the tight labor market and the possibility of a reversal in the Fed's monetary policy could trigger a bond market rally, leading to looser financial conditions.

Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller, in a speech on Thursday, emphasized the need to maintain restrictive policies to reduce inflation below the 2% target. He anticipated two more rate hikes by the end of the year, expressing confidence in the economy's resilience. Waller suggested that the first of the two hikes could occur at the Fed's meeting later this month.

Meanwhile, a report by Bankrate, a financial comparison service company, revealed that economists believe there is a 59% chance of the U.S. economy entering a recession within the next twelve months. This concern stems from the long-term economic impact of the series of rate hikes carried out this year. However, the 59% figure represents a decrease from the 64% chance reported in April and is currently the lowest level observed in the past 12 months.

Investors are eagerly awaiting the release of second-quarter earnings reports from major financial institutions on Friday. This includes reports from JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, BlackRock, and others.

In the Asian market, main stock indexes, including China's Shanghai Composite, Hong Kong's Hang Seng, Japan's Nikkei, and South Korea's Kospi, traded higher on Friday morning.

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