Weekly Cryptocurrency News. Feb. 23

Here comes Friday, February 23rd. As the ongoing week elapses, we can focus on the industry highlights over the past few days.

Bitcoin liquidity hits record high since Oct. 2023

The recently-approved U.S.-based spot bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded funds (ETFs) proved to have a favourable impact on the cryptocurrency order books liquidity as well as on its ability to trade at sustainable prices. Such an observation made by Kaiko, a Paris-based blockchain analytics company, was published by CoinDesk. Back on February 19, the crypto market depth of 2% on 33 centralized marketplaces skyrocketed to $539 million. The index reached its highest level to date since October 2021 and is up about 30% since the previously-mentioned ETF approval in January.

In fact, greater market depth or greater liquidity allows for large-scale deals without price slippage.

The share of the U.S.-based exchanges in the global 2% market depth has jumped to 48% from 14.3%. This has led to speculation that it must have been the ‘green light’ for spot bitcoin ETFs that contributed to the uptick. However, analysts also take into account the impact of prices due to the current market situation.

Despite market depth having gained its momentum, it still hasn’t reached over $800m mark seen in November 2022, shortly before the notorious FTX collapse.

Experts suggested a flow of funds into products from gold-based ETPs (Exchange Traded Products).

The United States seized 83% share of the global spot BTC exchange-traded fund market, according to CoinGecko.

USDC minting on TRON ceases, Circle pulls plug 

Circle, a peer-to-peer payments technology company, has begun phasing out support for its USD Coin (USDC), a dollar-pegged stablecoin running on the Tron blockchain.

The major U.S. crypto firm will keep maintaining USDC transfers on Circle Mint accounts to other blockchains till February 2025. Non-Circle customers are free to send their stablecoins to  CEXs (centralized exchanges) for subsequent withdrawal to supported protocols.

The stablecoin operator did not specify a reason for terminating support for the Tron network, noting only that it “continually assesses the suitability of all blockchains” as part of its risk management procedures. The firm added that the move to pull Tron support was the “result of an enterprise-wide approach that involved the business organization, compliance, and other functions across our company.”

USDC is actually the second-largest stablecoin with a market cap of nearly $28 billion, surpassing USDT, issued by Tether. About 1.17% of the total supply of this asset is on the Tron network at the time of writing, as per DeFi Llama.

The majority of the stablecoin (81.98%) is used in Ethereum, outpacing by Solana (5.22%) and Polygon (1.97%). Earlier, Circle announced the release of its stablecoin on another blockchain called Celo.

As early aas January, Circle Internet Financial filed a confidential IPO filing in the U.S. as part of its plan to become a publicly traded company.

AI tokens go through the roof after Nvidia earnings report

The renowned tech giant beat analysts’ expectations for Q4 2023 earnings results, boosting the value of AI-driven tokens. The company said earnings totaled $22.1 billion, which is $2b more than analysts had anticipated. Nvidia’s founder and CEO Jensen Huang highlighted that accelerated computing and generative AI have spiked as never before, while demand is surging globally.

Once the report was published, the market value of some AI-based tokens skyrocketed in value. Below you can see what really happened: 

  • AGIX is up 33%;
  • AIOZ climbed by 26%;
  • RNDR soared 17%; 
  • GRT leaped 16%.

Let us remind you that on February 20, AI tokens demonstrated growth amid the launch of OpenAI’s groundbreaking text-to-video AI dubbed Sora.

Ripple CEO demolishes rumors regarding XRP-ETF

The widely-known payments platform “welcomes” the emergence of XRP-based ETFs, but has yet to disclose key plans. This was stated by Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse in an interview with Bloomberg.

When asked about possible negotiations with BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, whether to issue the ETF in question, the CEO said, “I’m not going to comment on that. I know BlackRock has said some things publicly. You know, we think it makes sense for the XRP community overall […] Ripple obviously is a very important stakeholder in the XRP ecosystem, but we’re not the only player.” In November 2021, it was falsely reported that BlackRock had applied to launch an XRP-ETF. The global investment company itself denied this statement and filed a complaint with the police afterwards.

As of now, there is no exchange-traded fund based on XRP in the US. However, companies such as CoinShares and 21Shares offer ETPs based on this asset in European markets.

Speaking about the potential XRP-ETF, Garlinghouse expressed optimism, drawing an analogy to the early days of the stock market when “diversification was the key to risk management.” 

He sees the approval of spot bitcoin ETFs as a signal that the courts are ready to fight the SEC’s anti-crypto policies. 

Garlinghouse also emphasized that Ripple’s legal victories against the regulator were a pivotal point and underlined the need for clearer rules for the industry. 

Earlier, the company’s analysts predicted “substantial changes” in the crypto market structure in favor of institutional capital. 

Recall that in January, Garlinghouse said that Ripple had shelved plans for a IPO in the US because of the SEC’s “hostile” attitude.

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