February 26, 2023
Cryptocurrencies: Weekly Update
The United States regulatory crackdown on the crypto market continues, and now this topic seems even more complicated than even last week. Gary Gensler and the SEC have really hit the ground running in 2023 as they continue to announce charges regarding securities violations on several significant exchanges that we discussed last week as well as multiple celebrities.
After making headlines for halting the staking/lending programs of some of the biggest US-based crypto exchanges last week such as Kraken, the SEC has kept the ball rolling with the announcement of charges being brought to ex-NBA player Paul Peirce as he joins the likes of Kim Kardashian and Floyd Mayweather that have already paid fines for their own promotion of altcoins that were deemed to be in violation of anti-fraud and anti-touting laws.
It appears that the SEC has lost its patience after the FTX collapse at the end of 2022 and is looking to make an example out of whoever it can in order to dissuade illicit activity from US-based crypto entities moving forward.
All of the charges that have been brought by the SEC in recent weeks are accompanied by a new proposal by the regulator that would require registered investment advisors to use the services of a qualified custodian for client assets. On the surface, this proposal seems to make a bit of sense as it would theoretically create rules that would serve to further protect US crypto investors from scams and fraud which would explain why it received a 4-1 vote by SEC commissioners.
However, the one commissioner that voted in opposition to this SEC proposal has been quite vocal in their personal stance against all of this rapid SEC enforcement. Republican Commissioner Hester Peirce is widely known amongst crypto proponents as “Crypto Mom” thanks to her unrelenting opposition to overzealous regulatory action ever since her appointment to the SEC in early 2018. This means that Peirce is often at odds with the very regulatory body that she is a major part of, and this explains why she was the singular opposing vote for this most recent proposal.
Peirce has brought up concerns regarding the SEC's new requirements for qualified cryptocurrency custodians as she believes that they would disallow a large portion of the existing crypto firms from being able to continue operations. Rather than protecting investors, restricting the number of viable cryptocurrency custodians in the US may have a negative impact on the industry by consolidating and centralizing crypto market activities to a handful of governmentally friendly entities.
On Wednesday, Hester Peirce posted a tweet addressing the frustrations surrounding recent SEC developments.
It has been made clear that Peirce as well as countless others believe that the recent onslaught of enforcement by the SEC has only served as a deterrent for crypto activity in the US, and is likely to have an overall negative effect on the growth of the industry.
This all comes at a fairly inconvenient time for the US because while our regulators appear to be attempting to restrict access to cryptocurrencies in the US, others continue to adopt them in an attempt to secure their spots in the global crypto industry.
The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has moved to create regulations for cryptocurrencies, rather than just cracking down right off the bat like the SEC has. The SFC has published a set of proposed rules for cryptocurrency exchanges which it is hoping to amend and improve after seeking public comment. Many believe that if we start seeing more Asian countries that were previously opposed to crypto adoption start to change their tune, it could draw both talent and capital from the US market.
Even with a widespread ban on cryptocurrencies in mainland China, there has yet to be any negative reaction from the Chinese government regarding Hong Kong’s announcement of proposed regulations. Many believe that this could be because China is potentially viewing Hong Kong as a test pilot of sorts for the adoption of new blockchain-based technologies and cryptocurrency trading.
Keep an eye out for the Hong Kong narrative in the news, especially in a few months when we may see new buyers entering the crypto market as Hong Kong is expected to begin its new requirements for exchange licensing in the beginning of June.
Crypto Charts Have Mixed Signals
Cryptocurrency prices have not benefited from the pressure brought on by US regulators as of late, with the entire market down along with stocks this week. As of Friday afternoon, Bitcoin has failed to take out its 50-week moving average which is a fairly bad signal given the bearish cross on key moving averages just last week. This means that BTC remains in a Bearish phase for a long-term time frame.
Despite worsening conditions on the weekly candles, the daily timeframe shows that Bitcoin is still in gear for the time being as it is currently retesting support at its positive trendline and still remains in a bullish phase as price is above the 50 and 200-day moving averages.
Our RealMotion indicator also shows that underlying momentum is in a fairly similar position to price, with momentum resting right on the support of its 2-3 month uptrend and just above its own 50-day moving average. If you’re a RealMotion user, keep an eye out for whether or not Bitcoin’s momentum will break below its 50-dma before price does, because if this happens it may be your early warning sign to consider exiting crypto positions before a deeper correction.
A break below current trendlines on price and momentum would likely lead to Bitcoin swinging down to lower support at $21,300, whereas a bounce from current prices would be capped at resistance around $24,300. One positive note to keep in mind for BTC is the fact that it has in fact developed higher highs on a daily timeframe now that the highs from last August have been taken out.
With the stock market currently on shaky ground it definitely wouldn’t be a good time to go too heavy on new crypto positions just yet. It is very possible that the bullish momentum that we’ve seen in the crypto market thus far in 2023 may have come to an end for Q1, which really shouldn’t come as any surprise given that even after this past week’s selloff Bitcoin is still up nearly 40% YTD.
You should anticipate choppy conditions and a continuation of the rangebound trading that we’ve already been dealing with.
The last thing we’ll mention for this week's report will be that despite this sudden selloff in cryptocurrencies, our CryptoPulse Quant’s most recent position in MATIC is still positive from our entry price which should allow for a bit of flexibility next week.
After a failed attempt to break above the top of its current parallel channel, MATIC has whipsawed down and through the bottom of its channel and is resting on support above the $1.25 level. If MATIC can’t sustain current levels then expect a retest of the next step lower around $1.18, which also happens to be right around breakeven for our CryptoPulse Quant position. All things considered, anyone who bought MATIC with us is likely to be just fine as things stand, and let's hope that this coin’s -17% correction over the past 7 days is already exhausted and ready to reverse back to the upside!