AUG 25, 2023
Weekly Market Update - Friday, August 25, 2023 - Crypto Prices Stabilize After Drop, Friend.tech Emerges on the Scene, Fed Chair Powell Speaks on the Economy
Welcome to our Weekly Market Update.* Explore weekly crypto price movements, read a quick digest of notable market news, and dive into a crypto topic — this week we explore cryptoart and NFTs.
*Percentages reflect trends over the past seven days.
**Crypto prices as of Friday, August 25, 2023, at 11:05am ET. Check out the latest crypto prices here. All prices in USD.
- Prices stabilize following last week’s drop: After losing over 10% and almost hitting $25k USD, bitcoin (BTC) gradually pared some losses to regain $26k this week as prices stabilized. Ether (ETH) received a boost from reports that the SEC might be preparing to approve an ETH futures ETF.
- New Friend.tech platform makes waves in crypto world: Friend.tech is a decentralized social media platform that allows users to monetize chat groups with crypto, and is being run on the layer-2 Base network. The hype around the project has led to more daily transactions on the newly created Base network than on Ethereum, though questions have been raised about their legitimacy.
- Fed Chair Jerome Powell speaks at Economic Symposium: On Friday, Powell spoke in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in a highly anticipated keynote address. Speaking on Friday morning, Powell indicated that more interest rate hikes may be necessary to stem rising inflation if the US economy continues to grow at a fast pace.
- Nvidia continues to show strong growth beating earnings expectations: Nvidia released its second-quarter earnings report on Wednesday, beating analyst expectations by a wide margin as its push into AI continues to pay off. AI-focused crypto projects also saw a boost following the earnings release.
Crypto Prices Stabilize Following Last Week’s Drop
After remaining range bound since the start of August, crypto markets tumbled as bitcoin (BTC) saw its worst week last week since the FTX collapse in November, losing over 10% of its value and over $1 billion USD in liquidations were reported on Friday, August 18.
The exact catalyst for the dramatic move is unclear, with a number of headlines potentially contributing to the initial drop such as rising yields, hawkish Fed minutes, SpaceX’s writedown on its bitcoin position, and Evergrande’s bankruptcy. A lack of liquidity and recent low volatility exacerbated BTC’s outsized fall to $25k USD.
The price of BTC as of Friday morning is trading around $26k USD as the panic has eased and is back in line with the levels seen before Blackrock and other major ETF issuers announced their plans to launch a spot Bitcoin ETF in the US in June.
Ether (ETH) received a small boost on Friday, August 18, as it was reported that the SEC was set to approve an ETH futures ETF, pushing the ETHBTC pair to its highest level since June around 0.0647, although has since retraced and settled back around the 0.063 range we have seen throughout the past month. ETH is trading around $1,650 USD as of Friday morning.
New Token-Powered Friend.tech Social Engagement Platform Surges
Friend.tech has been buzzing across crypto X, formerly Twitter, this week, gaining momentum due to its mix of social engagement and ability to make investments. Friend.tech is a decentralized social media platform that allows users to monetize chat groups with crypto, and is being run on the layer-2 Base network.
The platform offers “keys,” in the form of digital assets and users can earn these by joining different groups and paying a base price. As the user base of a group grows and the total number of keys increases, the base price correspondingly rises. Members of each group can subsequently decide to leave, liquidating their “keys” for a potential profit.
The hype around the project has led to more daily transactions on the newly created Base network than on Ethereum, although many of these have been identified as potential bots trying to gain an edge on Friend.tech.
Friend.tech also faced some scrutiny as a data breach revealed wallet addresses of over 100k of its users.
All Eyes on Fed Chair Powell as he Spoke Friday in Wyoming, Stocks Stay Mostly Flat
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell spoke at the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium in Wyoming on Friday. Market participants were eagerly watching for any clues to indicate whether the Fed’s interest rate hike in July will be its last and mark the end of its rate hiking campaign.
Speaking on Friday morning, Powell got right to the point, indicating that more interest rate hikes may be necessary to stem rising inflation if the US economy continues to grow at a fast pace.
US stock indices moved slightly higher this week in the build-up to the symposium, led higher by technology and media stocks, but paired those gains to end up largely flat by Friday morning. PMI data released this week, a measure of manufacturing and service sector activity, showed a decline from 52 in July to 50.4 in August, marking its biggest drop since November of last year. Signs of stagnation in business activity may increase expectations that monetary policy will start to be eased.
Nvidia Smashes Earnings Expectations, as AI-Focused Cryptos Rise Alongside
Semiconductor giant Nvidia released its second-quarter earnings report on Wednesday, beating analyst expectations by a wide margin as its push into AI continues to pay off. The company’s graphics processing units (GPUs) have become central to the AI boom and resulted in extremely strong sales for the firm.
EPS of $2.70 USD per share compared to $2.07 USD expected and revenue of $13.51 billion USD versus $11.04 billion USD expected helped Nvidia's (NVDA) share price rise ~10% on the week. Revenue was up 88% from the first quarter, and up 101% from the same period last year.
In crypto, Render Protocol (RNDR), a provider of decentralized GPU rendering, and one of the largest AI-focused gainers in the crypto industry this year, saw its token price jump over 5% following Nvidia's positive results.
-From the Gemini Trading Desk
BitcoinBuzz data as of 5:00pm ET on August 24, 2023.
To learn more about the BitcoinBuzz Indicator and its components, read our introduction here. Check back every Friday for an updated score!
Cryptoart, NFTs, and the Art Industry
With the excitement around The Monument Game on Nifty Gateway, following the 420.69 ETH sale of IX. The Monument Game piece and +650 ETH in total limited edition sales, this week we resurface our discussion of cryptoart and NFTS. Sam Spratt and Nifty Gateway, a Gemini company, teamed up to deliver The Monument Game — an interactive NFT game pioneering a new dynamic experience in the digital art industry. The Monument Game is a competition that combines old techniques and new technology to create a communal layer atop NFT artwork. Read more about The Monument Game here.
Below, we dig into a general discussion of how the relationship between crypto, NFTs, and digital art have developed over the past years.
Cryptoart is digital art that lives on the blockchain in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). This fast-emerging sector is disrupting the art industry for artists, dealers, and investors alike — and creating a far more accessible, equitable, and inclusive art market. Today, we explore the origins of cryptoart and NFT art, as well as how artists may benefit from the proliferation of this new art medium.
From digital art to cryptoart
Emerging around the 1970s, digital art has become one of the more popular subgenres of contemporary art. Digital art may refer to artworks created or enhanced with software, digitally rendered animations, or interactive art consumed through a digital device. There is also “generative” digital art, which artists produce mostly by using algorithms.
Some digital artists use blockchain technology itself as their medium — employing custom software and code, along with a slew of new decentralized applications (dApps) to create their work. Once it’s on the blockchain, digital art falls into the realm of cryptoart. So what is cryptoart exactly? As with all things crypto, the vocabulary and definitions surrounding this art movement are dynamic and iterative, but there is a baseline distinction: Cryptoart is art on the blockchain — natively published as an NFT.
These rare digital artworks — interchangeably termed crypto-collectibles, NFT art, nifties, or cryptoart — are represented by unique and provably rare tokens.
The rise of cryptoart and NFTs
Before NFT art captured the zeitgeist, early projects like Monegraph in 2014 and Rare Pepe in 2016 allowed users to register collectibles on blockchain networks. In 2017, a new vehicle for digital art emerged with Ethereum’s introduction of the ERC-721 standard, enabling the creation of NFTs and springboarding the cryptoart movement into existence. 2017 saw the rise of CryptoPunks, CryptoKitties, CurioCards, and Dada.nyc — paving the way for the NFT art movement.
Blockchain enters the mainstream art market
The development of cryptoart has not been limited to the fringes of the internet. In 2018, Christie’s New York became the first auction house to register a sale on a blockchain platform with its $318 million USD sale of the Barney A. Ebsworth collection. This collection featured artwork by landmark American artists Edward Hopper and Georgia O’Keeffe, among others. Read more about fine art and blockchain here.
Mainstream acknowledgment of the blockchain art sector reached a tipping point in 2021 with the sale of digital artist Beeple’s “Everydays — The First 5000 Days.” An entirely digital crypto art piece, it sold for $69 million USD at Christie's. The sale made Beeple one of the wealthiest artists alive in the world today.
Now, there are multitudes of NFT art marketplaces such as Nifty Gateway, OpenSea, Rarible, and KnownOrigin, each with unique value propositions. Fine-art specific NFT marketplaces include Maecenas, Masterworks, Artchain.world, Aditus, and Portion.
How artists can benefit from NFT marketplaces
The plethora of online NFT marketplaces is good news for artists and collectors, as these markets are typically more accessible, approachable, equitable, and inclusive than storefront galleries.
The most important benefit for artists may be that they can get paid equitably for their work. In the traditional art model, an artist typically gets 50% of an artwork’s sale price and the gallery takes the other 50%. If the piece is resold, the artist receives no royalties. In the cryptoart world, however, an artist can earn 80% or more of the initial sale price, depending on the venue, and a standard of 10% or more of all secondary sales.
Further, these funds don’t need to be tracked down or negotiated. They are cryptographically secured and guaranteed by autonomous smart contracts on the blockchain. NFTs automatically authenticate the art and track its provenance and value as it changes hands.
See you next week. Onward and Upward!
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