Bitcoin flirts with $30,000, ether nears $2,000 as crypto beats lagging equities

Quick Take

  • Ether traded above $1,900 ahead of the Shanghai upgrade, while bitcoin flirted with the $30,000 level.

Crypto markets trekked higher late Monday with bitcoin trading up more than 4.6% over the last 24 hours to near $30,000, according to data from CoinGecko. 

Bitcoin approached the psychologically important $30,000 level while ether pushed above $1,900 for the first time since August. Monday's gains add to a broader rally in cryptocurrencies that began at the beginning of the year, underpinned by a wide-range of bank runs that called into question the resiliency of centralized banking options. Since the beginning of the year, bitcoin has gained 79%, while ether has picked up 59%. 

While major bitcoin indexes didn't yet hit a print of $30,000, bitcoin did hit $30,000 on crypto exchanges Coinbase and OKX. It did not hit the important threshold on major crypto exchange Binance.

On Wall Street, Monday's trading session was a mixed bag with U.S. stock indexes paring losses as investors digested a new employment report. Traders are also expecting a week of new data on the earnings and banking earnings front. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were little changed on the day.

As for crypto markets, investors have focused in on Ethereum's so-called Shanghai upgrade, which is slated to go into effect April 12. It has been viewed as a relatively bearish event as it would allow users to unlock staked ether and finally be able to sell into the open market. 

Framework's Vance Spencer — a large holder of ether — noted that crypto might finally be de-coupling from broader macro. 

"We are going up because everyone larped as a macro economist for a full year while simultaneously forgetting to allocate to the asset class they spend 12 hours a day commenting on via crypto Twitter, and now they are panicking," he said.

Rich Rosenblum, co-founder and president of GSR, the crypto market maker, attributed bitcoin's rise to interest rate hikes that "are no longer as viable as an option now that we are seeing the unexpected consequences of them, i.e. the bank runs."

"If forced to keep rates low, it could cause inflation to become unhinged, the ultimate bitcoin bull case," he added. Rosenblum also pointed to a desire for "de-dollarization" — suggesting that countries are buying gold and bitcoin as a means to gain independence from the U.S. 

"On the world stage of sovereigns, a few billion dollars is small, but it can have a large impact on crypto, especially during a time of crimped liquidity," he said. 

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