Data from CryptoCompare shows that the price of Bitcoin started last week at around $48,000 and quickly moved up to hit a high near $52,000 before plunging to a low near $47,000 and recovering.
Ethereum’s Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation, moved in a way similar to Bitcoin, starting the week at around $3,900 and moving up to test its resistance around $4,400 before moving back down. At the time of writing, ETH was hovering around $4,000.
Bitcoin endured an abrupt sell-off this week that took the price of most other top cryptocurrencies down along with it. Behind the dop was an institution moving to sell more than $500 million worth of the flagship cryptocurrency late on Friday, at a time in which liquidity was dropping ahead of the weekend.
The institution’s $500 million sale, according to one trading executive, triggered “aggressive liquidations” in the cryptocurrency derivatives market. The cryptocurrency’s sudden drop led to over $1.3 billion in long positions being liquidated and saw open interest in the derivatives market plunge.
Shortly after the drop the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group revealed it was expanding its cryptocurrency offerings to include micro Ether futures contracts sized at 0.1 ETH, giving institutional and individual traders another product to gain exposure to ETH.
The micro ETH futures are cash-settled and join other crypto derivatives products at the CME, including Bitcoin futures, micro Bitcoin Futures, and options on both BTC and ETH futures contracts.
The market downturn did not halt other investments in it. Cryptocurrency-focused private equity firm 10T Holdings revealed it’s set to raise $500 million in a new fund for the digital asset ecosystem. The firm has already raised $750 million since it was founded last year.
Visa has also moved ahead with unveiling a new cryptocurrency consulting arm. The financial services giant hopes that the new initiative will facilitate mass adoption of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies while helping its clients navigate the crypto sector.
To Visa, a “vital first step” for financial institutions looking to attract and retain customers with crypto offerings is to understand the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Visa Crypto Advisory Practice, the new service, offers expertise in crypto-related areas, evaluates opportunities and develops concrete strategies.
Other new services being launched in the cryptocurrency space included that of Meta’s WhatsApp, which launched a new pilot letting a ‘limited number’ of people in the United States send and receive money from within a chat using the Pax Dollar (USDP) stablecoin. The feature is powered by Meta’s digital wallet Novi.
Through the service, sending a payment works much like sending any attachment via WhatsApp, with no fees for sending and receiving being charged. Payments are transferred instantly, and there are no fees to keep a balance in a user’s Novi account or to withdraw their funds to a bank account. The pilot program is available in both English and Spanish.
Nasdaq-listed cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has also launched a yield product allowing users outside of the United States to earn interest on their cryptocurrency holdings. The product, launched in 70 jurisdictions, lets users earn interest on DAI through the decentralised platform Compound.
Cryptocurrency hacks plague industry
Over the week, cryptocurrency industry executives appeared before the US Congress to defend the industry. They argued the technology in crypto holds promise for the future as lawmakers and regulators look to regulate the space.
The House Financial Services Committee called the hearing in a bid to improve lawmakers’ understanding of cryptoassets and the sector. While these assets are criticised for their volatility and risk, crypto CEOs defended them, saying that they can make financial transactions faster, cheaper, and more accessible to people throughout the world.
Senior executives from cryptocurrency exchanges, including FTX and Coinbase, testified along with executives from Bitcoin mining firm Bitfury, cryptocurrency payments system Stellar, and blockchain firm Paxos.
The same way crypto CEOs defended the industry before Congress, centralised crypto exchange BitMart lost $196 million in various cryptocurrencies in a security breach that saw hackers steal $100 million on the Ethereum blockchain and $96 million on the Binance Smart Chain.
It was also revealed cryptocurrency lender Celsius Network lost funds in the recent hack of decentralised finance platform BadgerDAO, with its CEO confirming the firm was affected without revealing how much the firm lost.
Finally, Solana was hit with a major distributed denial of service (DAO) attack that failed to take it down but managed to clog the network to the point it endured a noticeable slowdown. A DDoS attack is generally caused by a number of coordinated devices or a botnet overwhelming a network with fake traffic.
Francisco Memoria is a content creator at CryptoCompare who’s in love with technology and focuses on helping people see the value digital currencies have. His work has been published in numerous reputable industry publications. Francisco holds various cryptocurrencies.