BRC-20 Bitcoin Tokens Surpass $1 Billion Market Cap

On May 9, 2023, BRC-20 Bitcoin tokens reached a significant milestone, with their total market capitalization surpassing $1 billion. This milestone is a testament to the growing popularity of BRC-20 tokens, which employ a novel form of fungible token that uses Ordinals and Inscriptions to create and manage token contracts, token minting, and token transfers on the Bitcoin base chain.

According to analysts at multichain wallet BitKeep, the Ordinals numbering system assigns a unique number to each satoshi, or 0.00000001 Bitcoin (BTC), allowing for its tracking and transfer. On the other hand, the “inscription” process adds a layer of data to each satoshi, enabling users to create unique digital assets on the Bitcoin blockchain. The BRC-20 token standard was developed by a Twitter user known as Domo on March 8, 2022.

Compared to Ethereum, Bitcoin has been lagging in the deployment of token standards, with only a few notable ones like ERC-20 and ERC-721. However, BRC-20 tokens have been gaining traction since its inception, with over 14,000 tokens currently deployed on the Bitcoin blockchain. Despite this progress, Domo, the creator of BRC-20, has openly stated that the standard is “worthless” and that users should not waste money on “mass minting this fun experiment.”

Nevertheless, the growing adoption of BRC-20 tokens by traders and investors has led to a surge in trading volume, with a total trading volume of $207.7 million recorded in the past 24 hours. Notable tokens like ORDI, NALS, VMPX, PEPE, and MEME have experienced significant price variance within the past day, ranging between +11% and -55%.

As the adoption of BRC-20 tokens continues to grow, it remains to be seen how this new standard will fare in the highly competitive and rapidly evolving cryptocurrency market. Nonetheless, the development of the BRC-20 token standard highlights the potential of the Bitcoin blockchain to support new and innovative financial instruments beyond its traditional role as a store of value.


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US Crypto Crackdown Hurts USD Coin

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire stated that the US regulatory crackdown on cryptocurrencies has been a significant factor behind the decreasing market capitalization of USD Coin (USDC). The regulatory scrutiny on USDC comes after the collapse of the FTX exchange, a banking crisis, and USDC’s depegging.

The USDC depegged in March due to the US banking crisis, which caused Circle’s $3.3 billion worth of USDC reserves to be stuck with Silicon Valley Bank, one of the three crypto-friendly banks that were shut down by regulators. Although Circle had assured its customers that it had the backing from investors to fill the gap, the news caused the market to react quickly, and USDC depegged from the US dollar.

At its peak, USDC had a market cap of $56 billion, placing it right behind Tether-issued USDT. However, since the banking crisis and USDC’s depeg, the stablecoin’s market cap has been reduced nearly by half, currently sitting at $30.7 billion.

Circle CEO Allaire has also raised concerns that the lack of regulatory clarity in the US may force crypto companies to seek opportunities overseas. With the recent passing of the Markets in Crypto-Assets Act (MiCA) by the European Parliament and the push for adoption by Hong Kong, Allaire believes that the US will be left behind.

Allaire has called for Congress to step up, stating that it is a critical moment for the US. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) led by Gary Gensler has been on an enforcement spree since the FTX collapse saga. The SEC has threatened regulatory action against multiple crypto platforms and exchanges.

During the oversight hearing on digital assets, Gensler faced pushback from policymakers, and many crypto proponents have also questioned the authority of the SEC and Gensler. The regulatory environment in the US has caused uncertainty and concern, leading to a decline in the market capitalization of USDC.

In conclusion, the regulatory crackdown on cryptocurrencies by US regulators has been a significant factor behind the decreasing market capitalization of USDC. Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire has raised concerns about the lack of regulatory clarity and the US banking system’s global reputation. The passing of the Markets in Crypto-Assets Act (MiCA) by the European Parliament and the push for adoption by Hong Kong have put the US at risk of being left behind in the crypto industry. Congress needs to step up and provide regulatory clarity for the US to remain competitive in the evolving crypto landscape.


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Cryptocurrency Soars in Q1 2023

The cryptocurrency market has started off 2023 with a bang, as shown in CoinGecko’s Q1 2023 Crypto Industry Report. The report highlights the surge in market capitalization of Bitcoin (BTC) and decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols, making them the key takeaways of the first quarter.

BTC emerged as the best-performing asset of Q1 2023, with gains of 72.4%, outperforming other assets such as the NASDAQ index and Gold, which marked gains of 15.7% and 8.4%, respectively. The report notes that all major asset classes, except crude oil, saw gains through the first quarter of the year. Crude oil dropped by 6.1%, which was attributed to United States inflation data that cited a reduction in oil demand and the ill effects of the U.S. banking crisis.

The overall cryptocurrency market capitalization reached $1.2 trillion at the end of Q1, with a gain of $406 billion from the market cap of $829 billion at the end of 2022. The DeFi space was another standout performer, rising by $29.6 billion in value through the first quarter. Liquid staking governance tokens saw a 210% increase in market cap since the start of 2023, making it the third-largest category in the DeFi sector.

Ethereum’s Shapella upgrade played a major role in driving the increase of capital flows into liquid staking pools. The upgrade finally unlocked ETH staking reward withdrawals, which helped the network gain more attention.

While Bitcoin and DeFi have been major movers thus far this year, the top 15 stablecoins saw their market cap drop by $6.2 billion. CoinGecko attributes this 4.5% drop in market cap to the shutdown of Binance USD by Paxos and the momentary depeg of USD Coin (USDC) during the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in March 2023.

Tether (USDT) strengthened its position as the largest stablecoin by market cap in 2023, adding $13.6 billion since the start of the year, while USDC and BUSD recorded market cap losses of 26.9% and 54.5%, respectively.

Nonfungible token (NFT) trading volume has also surged again in 2023, marking a 68% rise from Q4 2022 to $4.5 billion during the first quarter of 2023. NFT marketplace newcomer Blur accounted for the majority of NFT trading volume since its launch in October 2022, accounting for 71.8% of the NFT market share in March 2023.

The cryptocurrency market is still relatively new and volatile, but the Q1 2023 report shows that it is gaining momentum and acceptance from investors. Despite some drops in stablecoin market cap and the decline in crude oil, the overall cryptocurrency market has been performing exceptionally well. This growth could lead to more mainstream adoption and could open doors for new developments and opportunities in the future.


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Ether Surges to Over $1,900 Ahead of Staking Withdrawals

Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, has surged to over $1,900 for the first time in over seven months, according to CoinMarketCap data. This price increase comes ahead of the Ethereum Shanghai hard fork, scheduled for April 12, which will implement Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP)-4895, allowing validators and stakers to withdraw staked ETH from the Beacon Chain. The upgrade is also expected to help increase transaction speeds while reducing transaction costs through other EIPs.

The last time Ether was above $1,900 was on August 16, 2022, during a broader crypto sell-off when the United States Federal Reserve was hiking the federal funds rate at a record pace to combat inflation. The recent price increase could be driven by expectations that the Fed may ease up on its quantitative tightening efforts, causing cracks in the global banking industry, or by increased demand for Ether given that staking is slated to be more flexible.

Bitcoin has also recorded gains recently, but the trading pair ETH/BTC has increased by nearly 3% in the last week, suggesting that both factors may be contributing to Ether’s price jump. It is worth noting that the price of Ether dropped sharply following the execution of the Merge on September 15, 2022, where it lost just under a quarter of its value in one week.

The Ethereum Shanghai hard fork is named after the fork on the execution layer client side, while Capella is the upgrade name on the consensus layer client side that is set to be executed shortly after Shanghai on April 12. The execution layer is where all the smart contracts and protocol rules are, while the consensus layer ensures that all network validators follow these rules.

Despite some analysts and traders suggesting that unlocking staked Ether will create sell pressure, what will occur following the Shanghai and Capella updates is speculation. The recent price surge may be an indication that investors are optimistic about the future of Ether and the potential for the upcoming upgrades to increase its value.

In conclusion, Ether’s recent surge to over $1,900, a level not seen since August 2022, is likely due to several factors, including the upcoming Ethereum Shanghai hard fork that will enable stakers to withdraw their ETH and the potential easing of the Federal Reserve’s quantitative tightening efforts. While some investors may be concerned about sell pressure following the upgrade, others remain optimistic about the future of Ether and its potential for growth. The upcoming upgrades are set to increase transaction speeds while reducing transaction costs, and it remains to be seen how they will affect Ether’s value in the long term.


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Bitcoin Flips Visa Again

Since the beginning of the year, the price of Bitcoin (BTC) has increased by 48%, which has caused its market valuation to once again surpass that of the payment processing behemoth Visa.

According to CoinMarketCap, with the price of Bitcoin sitting at $24,365 at the moment, its market size of $470.16 billion is now only slightly more than that of Visa, which has a market cap of $469.87 billion at the moment.

Companies Market Cap reports that this is the third time Bitcoin has “flipped” Visa’s market cap, meaning that Bitcoin’s value has exceeded Visa’s value.

The first occasion was in late December 2020, coincidentally coinciding with the first time that BTC reached $25,000 in value.

This was accomplished during a price rise that saw BTC climb from $10,200 in September 2020 to $63,170 seven months later in April 2021. The price increase lasted for seven months.

BTC was able to take the lead over Visa for a very short period of time on October 1 before the payments business was able to reclaim their position as the market leader. Visa regained the lead between June and October 2022.

This advantage was further extended when, between November 6 and 10, 2022, the failure of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX took off more than $100 billion from the value of BTC in only four days.

However, since that time, BTC has had a complete recovery and has added an extra $65 billion to its market valuation of $408 billion as of November 6. This has allowed it to surpass the payment processing behemoth.

Because of the relatively tiny gap in their respective market caps, Bitcoin and Visa are now trading places on an hourly basis, which is something that should be taken into consideration.

Regarding the remarkable beginning that Bitcoin had in 2023, its third “flipping” of Visa occurred on the heels of a run of 14 days in a row during which the price increased. This run lasted from January 4 through January 17.

According to Google Finance, the market capitalization of Mastercard, the world’s second-largest payment processing network, is now $345.24 billion. BTC, on the other hand, has a significant lead over Mastercard.

However, Bitcoin is still trading at a discount of 63% compared to its all-time high of $69,044 that it hit on November 10th, 2021.


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Cardano Elbows Ripple to Take 6th Position, Thanks to Heightened Development Activity

Cardano (ADA) has been scaling the heights because it is now the sixth-largest cryptocurrency after dethroning Ripple (XRP) with a market capitalization of $20.71 billion, according to CoinMarketCap

Cardano is going through the roof based on factors like increased development activity. Market insight provider Santiment explained:

“Cardano is one of many altcoins that have enjoyed a great start to the week. Development activity has hit AllTimeHigh levels, as ADA’s team worked on innovating while prices were suppressed.”


Source: Santiment

Cardano is a proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain, which is designed to be a scalable, sustainable, and flexible network for running smart contracts needed when developing decentralized finance (DeFi) applications and new crypto tokens.

Therefore, Cardano is one of the sought-after networks in the development arena based on the latest trend of flipping Ripple’s market capitalization of $20.14 billion.

Market analyst under the pseudonym Tajo Crypto pointed out:

“Cardano pumped more than 25%, so it flipped XRP to become the 6th largest crypto by market cap. Cardano is doing well with over 5 million assets minted from its network recently. Cardano is also getting ready for the Vasil upgrade in June. ADA is doing well.”

ADA was up by 18.66% in the last seven days to hit $0.6124 during intraday trading, according to CoinMarketCap. 

Therefore, Cardano seems not to be relenting in its quest to flip other cryptocurrencies. For instance, it elbowed Polkadot (DOT) from the seventh position in January 2021. As a result, it became the biggest proof-of-stake network. 

Image source: Shutterstock


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Bitcoin briefly dethroned by unknown altcoin due to CoinGecko glitch

CoinGecko, one of the largest cryptocurrency tracking websites in the world, has suffered a major glitch on Friday morning, with Bitcoin (BTC) mistakenly losing its position as the largest digital currency by market capitalization to a lesser-known altcoin.

The list of top-valued cryptocurrencies on CoinGecko briefly went somewhat irrelevant, with the BTC market cap temporarily falling behind a token known as Relevant (REL).

As of 07:20 am UTC, REL was mistakenly placed at the top of the most-valued cryptocurrencies on CoinGecko, with the market cap going insane at $6.5 septillion, or way more than all other assets in the world combined.

Source: CoinGecko

The glitch also affected the total crypto market capitalization on CoinGecko, with the market cap temporarily growing as big as $7 septillion. The issue was quickly fixed as the website data appeared to be back to normal as of 8:20 am UTC.

CoinGecko co-founder and CEO Bobby Ong told Cointelegraph that the website’s errors were due to a major glitch, stating:

“We are facing an internal glitch over here affecting the market cap of some coins and are fixing this issue now. Things are stabilizing so hopefully no more cases like this happening again.”

According to CoinGecko’s major competitor website, CoinMarketCap, the REL token subsequently surged following the glitch, with the price surging to $0.9, or over 20% over the past 24 hours at the time of writing. The coin’s fully diluted market cap is now worth $24.7 million, ranked the 5,378th token by market cap, according to the website.

The REL token was launched by crypto developer Slava Balasanov in 2018. After hitting the all-time high above $8 in April 202, the REL token subsequently plummeted below $1 in a couple of months.

Some enthusiasts in the crypto community chuckled about CoinGecko’s latest glitch as it came shortly after CoinMarketCap’s owner Binance announced a $200 million investment in Forbes on Thursday.

Related: CoinMarketCap removes allegedly fake SHIB wormhole addresses

CoinGecko is not alone in facing glitches like this though. CoinMarketCap experienced a similar issue one year ago, with Wrapped Bitcoin suddenly gaining quadrillions of dollars in value, briefly and mistakenly becoming the website’s most-valued cryptocurrency in January 2021.