Bitcoin, Altcoins Dip as Investors Mull Higher Interest Rates

Bitcoin, Altcoins Dip as Investors Mull Higher Interest Rates

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Crypto and other risk-on asset markets have been unsettled by the prospect of higher interest rates for an extended period. A U.S. central bank governor on Monday reiterated the Fed’s commitment to base its decisions on inflation data.

Most major cryptos fell slightly on Monday.

Photo by Susan Q. Yin on Unsplash

Posted September 25, 2023 at 7:29 pm EST.

Crypto markets inched downward on Monday as investors continued to fret over the prospect of long-term, elevated interest rates.

Bitcoin was recently changing hands at $26,300, a 0.8% decline, and remained firmly in its weeks-long range between $25,000 and $27,000.

ETH was recently trading at $1,586, down slightly over the past 24 hours. Among other major cryptos, XRP, the token of open-source, public blockchain XRP Ledger, popular memecoin DOGE, and OPT, the native crypto of smart contracts platform Optimism, recently fell in a market that was largely in the red.

Layer 1 blockchain Aptos’s APT token was a rare exception, climbing more than 5% at one point, even after the South Korean exchange Upbit suspended APT trading for a short period, the result of a suspicious deposit attempt that the platform detected.

Crypto Price Funk

Prices for most of the largest digital assets by market value have been in a funk as investors warily eye U.S. central bank policy focused on curing inflation without casting the economy into recession.

“It just seems like right now the market is having a major reset and is now finally in agreement that interest rates are going to be staying elevated for quite some time,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst for foreign exchange market maker Oanda, in an interview with Unchained. “That is posing some difficulties for risky assets – equities (and) cryptos – as we’re probably going to see, the credit crunch will get much worse.”

Moya added, “There’s a greater emphasis right now with what is happening with monetary policy globally and it’s making concerns that recession risks are rising. And that is a very difficult environment for most risky assets, but especially new ones such as cryptos.”

Equity markets broke slightly from their sluggishness of recent days, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq and S&P 500 both climbing 0.4%. Treasury yields maintained their lofty heights, with the yield on a 10-year bond settling above 4.5% for the first time in 16 years, another sign of investor unrest about risk-on assets.

The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged last week meeting expectations, but in remarks following the decision, Fed Chair Jerome Powell left open the possibility of an additional increase. On Monday, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Austan Goolsbee, who is among the more dovish Fed governors, reiterated the bank’s commitment to base their upcoming decisions on data.

ETF Frustrations

Oanda’s Moya said that small crypto companies that look to refinance in the next couple of years “are going to have difficult terms,” and that the market has “become frustrated with the Securities and Exchange (SEC) delay in approving a spot bitcoin ETF.

But Joe DiPasquale, the CEO for crypto fund manager BitBull Capital was slightly more upbeat, noting bitcoin’s return to $26,000 after falling below the threshold late last week. “If Bitcoin is able to maintain the support its shown at $26K, then bullish investors will look for a potential breakout over $27K, before retracing towards $30K.

But he added, “If it continues to try to break below $26K, bearish investors will grow fearful of a fall that could potentially be as low as $20K, as we saw in March.”

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