September has proven to be a brutal month for the financial markets.
The unease is largely tied to the U.S. Federal Reserve, which signaled it will maintain current interest rates, coupled with the possibility of future hikes later in the year. Consequently, the market has been on edge, with stocks consistently in the red over the past five sessions and concerns of an impending recession resurfacing.
JPMorgan's CEO, Jamie Dimon, has even issued a warning to clients, suggesting they prepare for interest rates to potentially reach as high as 7%. This morning, while watching a strategist on Bloomberg TV, I couldn't help but notice her taking a bit of a victory lap. She pointed out that her earlier recommendation to shift investments towards more defensive stocks now appears to have been a wise move.
Reflecting on the recent debut of Instacart, a company that had previously garnered a staggering $39 billion valuation during more prosperous times, its shares now trade at a significantly reduced $10 billion market capitalization on the day of its public offering. As for my personal finances, my 401(k) portfolio has taken quite a hit. It's as if the era of Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) has never felt so distant.
Turning our attention to the crypto world, bitcoin has remained within a narrow trading range, and overall crypto trading activity seems to be stuck in a state of stagnation. Nevertheless, amidst this backdrop, there are intriguing developments reminiscent of the excitement we saw in the crypto space back in 2021.
No, we're not witnessing people borrowing cash through Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs) to jump into the world of Bored Apes. Instead, individuals are flocking to decentralized social applications like Friend.tech to trade shares related to their favorite figures in the Crypto Twitter community. Cumulatively, transaction volumes are approaching the 8 million mark, and daily transactions consistently number in the hundreds of thousands since the start of September.
In addition to Friend.tech, copycat platforms such as Words.tech and Post.tech have emerged, offering opportunities for users to access seemingly free money. Notably, Post.tech recorded over $1.8 million in trading volume within a 24-hour period and closely resembles the functionality of X (formerly known as Twitter). Solana-Friend.tech Fork Friendzy saw weekly volumes hit about half of Friend.tech's since its launch Sept. 19.
To be clear, there are likely aberrations and lingering traces of speculative fervor across most markets. However, the current market conditions differ significantly from previous bear cycles. Considering the broader economic landscape, it's reasonable to expect more challenges and market turbulence ahead than what we're currently experiencing.
This first appeared in Frank Chaparro's biweekly The Scoop Newsletter. Sign up now.
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