Top cryptocurrency surges to reach a new high last seen on the 19th of January as billionaire Elon Musk changes his Twitter bio to #bitcoin. The cryptocurrency jumped 20% to the last high seen on January 19th and although the situation seems unrelated, Bitcoin which was at a surprising (-10.11%) rose to a whopping (15.7%) entering $37,050 and climbing as at the time of this report. This sharp rise ignited short liquidations on several major exchanges is like Binance, Bitfinex, Bitmex, Deribit, OKEx among others, worth slightly over $387 million.
Amidst all these, Dogecoin which was on a bearish landslide, at (-37.5%) became the hottest topic among digital asset enthusiasts and traders alike as it soared to a bullish wind. Climbing over 800% on Thursday 28th January, reaching a new record high of about $0.082 per coin, and earning it a place in the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market cap.
Meanwhile, memetic trader Robinhood has limited crypto purchase. This (according to some sources) is due to market conditions which the firm deems to be ‘extraordinary’. There was a frenzy as the trading application limited stocks, usually favored by most day-traders in the Reddit community WallStreetBets. While many had stated this to be part of a political grandstanding exercise, Robinhood has stated that the halt in trading has been entirely misunderstood. According to its CEO, Robinhood has always been about trader equality and complete decentralization of cryptocurrencies.
India Considers a Ban on Digital Assets
In other news, a ban on private cryptocurrencies seems to be underway in India as parliament seeks to introduce a bill that bans private cryptocurrencies in the country. These, according to politicians, will be replaced by a digital cryptocurrency which will be issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). This move will make India the only Asian country seeking to ban cryptocurrencies rather than regulate them like others are intending or actively working on. Although the bill, as anti-private digital assets as it is, will allow some exceptions to help promote the underlying digital technology and its various uses.
Even though it remains unclear which cryptocurrencies will fall into the exception, there are speculations that most major digital assets will make the list. Some stakeholders in the Indian crypto community are hoping to share their views with the government before parliament passes the bill. It has so far been filled with a lot of legal anxiety.
Ripple under SEC Scrutiny
Speaking of legal affairs, Ripple (XRP) has been in the limelight since December when it was slammed with a lawsuit by the SEC. The SEC alleges that the CEO Brad Garlinhouse and Chairman Chris Larsen sold over $1.3billion worth of XRP tokens for over seven years while violating the U.S security laws. In its defense, Ripple responded that its XRP tokens are not security or investment contracts, and hence neither are their distributions.
For nearly a month now traders and enthusiasts have highly anticipated Ripple's response to the SEC. In their response, Ripple focused on XRP's function, stating that the SEC complaint ignored the fact that XRP is open source and claims that its price has always correlated with the price of bitcoin (BTC, -8.37%) and Ether (ETH, -2.52%). Also, they highlighted the absence of a fair notice from the SEC regarding their violation of the law. According to sources, Ripple, in addition to its response, filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the documents from the SEC on how it determined that the top two cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, Bitcoin and Ethereum, are not securities. XRP which is up nearly 48% over the past 24 hours, joining a larger spike across the crypto market which saw Dogecoin (DOGE, -41.05%) jump nearly over 800% on Thursday. Traders are still observing the outcome of the legal battle as most hope it goes in favor of Ripple.
Blockfi & Grayscale Battle for Dominance
Closing the week with a competition between Blockfi and Grayscale after Blockfi released a new Bitcoin trust product. The trust, revealed in the Friday regulatory filings, might put BlockFi and Grayscale in direct competition for bitcoin-friendly Wall Street investors' attention and dollars. Grayscale's bitcoin (BTC, -8.51%) Trust is one of the single-largest bitcoin investment vehicles on the market. CoinDesk's parent company, Digital Currency Group, also owns Grayscale.
In the coming week, we will examine more developments in the digital asset space, while monitoring those assets most likely to impact the market, both positively and negatively.