ETH Sees 32% 7-Day Gains As Altcoins Party

This week was undoubtedly an altcoin party. Even though Bitcoin is up quite a bit in the past seven days, it was altcoins that stole the show, charting major increases almost every single day.

Let’s start with BTC, though. It began the week at around $34,000 and was rather indecisive in the first few days, dipping below $33,000 on a few occasions. However, it was on Tuesday when the price started going up, reaching a weekly high at just shy of $39,000 before settling to where it’s currently trading at around $37,500.

All in all, BTC gained around 15% in the past seven days, but what happened in the altcoin market was far more interesting. The alternative coins reduced Bitcoin’s dominance to 60% as they claimed their piece of the pie.

Ethereum charted a new all-time high at $1784 today, while almost all of the top 20 cryptocurrencies (with small exceptions) are up double-digits. Aave skyrocketed by around 80%, BNB is up 40% – now trading above $60, Uniswap’s UNI is also up 40%, the same goes for Cardano. Meanwhile, XRP also saw an increase of about 55%, and bulls now eye the $0.5 target.

Stepping aside from prices, the week was also quite intensive in terms of news. Visa will pilot a crypto API that will enable institutions and banks to buy Bitcoin. It should be ready at some point this year. PayPal also released their quarterly report, revealing gains higher than anticipated for Q4 of 2020 after they enabled users to buy, sell, and store cryptocurrencies.

Elsewhere, well-known celebrity and rapper LL Cool J also began investing in the field alongside billionaire Paul Tudor Jones as both have contributed to a newly founded crypto VC fund.

All in all, the week was very dynamic, and the market does feel quite euphoric. Is this a sign of a local top? Or is this just the beginning of a parabolic movement? We have yet to see.

Market Data

Market Cap: $1152B | 24H Vol: 156B | BTC Dominance: 60.4%

BTC: $37,515 (+13.1%) | ETH: $1,689 (+27.1%) | XRP: $0.44 (+66%)[embedded content]

LL Cool J Is Now a Crypto Investor Alongside Paul Tudor Jones in a New VC Fund. The popular rapper LL Cool J will take part in a new cryptocurrency venture capital firm. Other names who will participate include the legendary investor Paul Tudor Jones, as well as the CEO of PepsiCo.

American Youtuber Logan Paul Teams Up With Bondly Finance to Release NFT. US celebrity and YouTuber Logan Paul has partnered up with Bondly Finance in a deal that will see them create and distribute non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for Paul’s ‘Pokemon Box Break.’ The YouTuber becomes the latest in a series of celebrities to jump on the NFT bandwagon.

PayPal Records Massive Gains In Q4 2020 After Enabling Cryptocurrency Trading. The leading online payment processor, PayPal, revealed gains larger than expected throughout the last quarter of 2020. This happens after the company allowed its customers to buy, sell, and store cryptocurrencies directly on its platform.

Retail Interest Soars as ‘Buy Crypto’ Google Searches Explode To New ATHs. The retail interest in cryptocurrencies is surging, according to data from Google Trends. Searches for ‘buy crypto’ skyrocketed to a new all-time high, signaling serious euphoria in the markets.

Ethereum Reaches ATH of $1,700: Economist Predicts $20k by Year-End. Ethereum continues on its path in uncharted territories with yet another all-time high. The cryptocurrency shows no signs of slowing down, and some optimistic predictions put it at $20,000 by the end of the year.

Visa to Pilot Crypto API Enabling Institutions and Banks to Buy Bitcoin This Year. The largest payment processing company, Visa, will pilot a new API that will allow its institutional clients and partners to buy, custody, and trade bitcoin, as well as other cryptocurrencies. It’s expected to happen at some point during this year.

Nigeria Crypto Ban

A body representing cryptocurrency and blockchain stakeholders in Nigeria has joined other crypto industry players in assailing the recent Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directive to banks. The CBN order, which seeks snuff out crypto entities from the banking system, took effect on February 5, 2020.

Not Just a Mere Reiteration

In a statement, the body, known as the Blockchain Industry Coordinating Committee of Nigeria (BICCON), also dismisses the CBN’s assertion that the new directive is just a “mere reiteration” of what it said in January 2017. The latest directive effectively banned financial institutions from providing services to persons and/or entities transacting in cryptocurrency.

Further, the BICCON castigates the CBN for failing to give “any adequate notice or court order of any court of competent jurisdiction.” Also highlighting the hastiness as well as the chaotic implementation of the order, the BICCON reveals how some crypto companies have been affected by this decision. The BICCON explains:

Since 5 February 2021, a number of persons and entities accounts have been closed. In one strange and exceptional case, the funds in the two corporate accounts of a cryptocurrency exchange were wiped out and then eventually closed.

Still, the representative body notes that the ban might face legal challenges since “there is currently no legislation by the National Assembly criminalizing or illegalizing trade in cryptocurrency in Nigeria.”

Senators Oppose CBN Directive

Meanwhile, prior to the release of the media statement by the BICCON, some members of the Nigerian Senate had expressed opposition to the CBN directive. According to reports, the Nigerian Senate wants the CBN to explain this decision, and the governor, Godwin Emefiele is set to appear before the legislative body.

However, at least one Senator, Sani Musa has come out in support of the CBN directive. In a speech, Musa claims cryptocurrencies, especially BTC, have made the Nigerian currency “almost useless.” Another regulator, the Nigerian Security and Exchange Commission also says it endorses the CBN directive. Reports quote the regulator saying:

For the purpose of admittance into the SEC regulatory incubation framework, the assessment of all persons and products affected by the CBN circular of Feb. 5, 2021 is hereby put on hold until such persons are able to operate bank accounts within the Nigerian banking system.

The SEC, which previously announced plans to regulate cryptocurrencies, is justifying the apparent about-face claiming there is further need to “analyse and better understand the risks.” The regulator, however, denies that there are “contradictions and inconsistencies” between what the SEC said in September 2020 and its current stance with respect to the CBN directive.

Countering False Assertions

In the meantime, the BICCON statement also responds to some of the false assertions about cryptocurrencies that are propagated by the CBN in its follow-up statement. Next, the body also lays out what Nigeria, which is already the largest cryptocurrency market on the African continent, stands to lose if the ban is not “reviewed or reversed.”

According to BICCON, Nigeria stands to miss out on “boosting remittances into the country.” Remittances sent via crypto rails have proven to be popular with a growing section of Nigeria’s expatriate community. Moreover, the representative body says if this directive is not reviewed, the country will see the “death of centralized cryptocurrency exchanges in Nigeria, particularly indigenous cryptocurrency exchanges who should be getting regulatory support to become globally competitive.”

Bitcoin’s climb above $50,000 for the first time

Bitcoin’s climb above $50,000 for the first time on Tuesday marks a psychological milestone for investors—but it could trigger extra regulatory scrutiny.

The move higher means the cryptocurrency has more than doubled in value in just two months after several splashy news announcements. The gains come after a 303% increase in Bitcoin’s price last year.

In resent trading, Bitcoin was selling for $48.726. Bitcoin was up more than 4% earlier on Tuesday but has retreated back. Its price is up nearly 70% so far this year.

This month, Elon Musk’s Tesla (ticker: TSLA) said it bought $1.5 billion of Bitcoin and will start accepting it as payment for its electric vehicles at some point soon. BNY Mellon said it would hold, transfer, and issue Bitcoin for clients, and Mastercard (MA) said it would integrate Bitcoin into its payments network this year.

A possible catalyst for Tuesday’s move higher: MicroStrategy (MSTR), a business-intelligence company that has become a Bitcoin investing platform, said it would sell $600 million of convertible notes to buy the crypto. It sold $650 million of notes in December to do the same thing.

Shares of MicroStrategy fell 3.7% on Tuesday but are up 570% over the past year, compared with the S&P 500’s 16.7% one-year gain.

Bitcoin was once dismissed as a quirky sideshow in finance, with a shadowy history and cultlike following. Its increasingly mainstream appeal puts a spotlight on regulation as banks and professional traders take it seriously.

Earlier this month, newly confirmed Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told an industry innovation policy roundtable that she sees “the promise” of these new currencies. “But I also see the reality: Cryptocurrencies have been used to launder the profits of online drug traffickers; they’ve been a tool to finance terrorism.”

President Joe Biden’s nominee to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, Gary Gensler, is also well-versed in crypto, having spent the past few years teaching about digital currency and the blockchain technology that

underlies it at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will come under the spotlight from watchdogs like never before and this can be expected to create volatility in the market,” said Nigel Green, the founder and CEO of U.K.-based deVere Group, a financial advisory firm.

DeVere sold half its Bitcoin holdings in December, when the price had surged to $25,000.

Green said in a December blog post about the sale that it was to take profit after last year’s run-up. “It was not due to a lack of belief in Bitcoin, or the concept of digital currencies,” the post said.

Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said Tesla’s embrace of Bitcoin could be a “game-changer” for the crypto. “We believe the trend of transactions, Bitcoin

investments, and blockchain-driven initiatives could surge over the coming years,” he said. “This Bitcoin mania is not a fad, in our opinion, but rather the start of a new age on the digital currency front.”

More financial and payment companies are pushing Bitcoin into the mainstream. Robinhood, Square (SQ), and PayPal Holdings (PYPL) allow Bitcoin trading. Fidelity Investments has a business to store and trade crypto.

And more are considering jumping in. In January, asset management giant BlackRock (BLK) gave two of its funds the go-ahead to invest in crypto.

A unit of Morgan Stanley’s (MS) asset-management business is reportedly examining adding it as an option for investors. JPMorgan Chase (JPM) Co-President Dan Pinto said last week client demand isn’t there yet, but it will get there.