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This Week in Crypto: Markets Decline on Hawkish Fed Commentary

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Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies tumbled this week after the release of the US Federal Reserve meeting minutes which revealed plans to shrink their balance sheet and raise interest rates. The world’s largest cryptocurrency is down more than 4.5% since last week but has experienced slight gains over the past 24 hours – likely a result of temporary dip-buying action.

At the time of writing, Bitcoin (BTC) is trading at US$41,305.17 (+2.90%) while Ethereum (ETH) is trading at US$3,117.04 (+2.13%). Altcoins such as the SoLunAvax trio have also been trading in green over the past 24 hours.

BTC 24-Hour Chart. Data: CoinMarketCap

“Macro markets have been spooked by a hawkish FOMC minutes from last Thursday and also very high expectations for US CPI later today (forecast 8.3%)”, said Singapore-based crypto trading firm QCP Capital ahead of the US Labor Department’s announcement on Tuesday. US inflation hit 8.5% in March, a 40-year high, following a surge in prices due to the Ukraine conflict and global supply snags.

Meanwhile, Nigel Green, CEO and founder of deVere group, has predicted that BTC could recover from the current crypto crash to hit a fresh all-time high of US$75,000 by the end of 2022

“There’s a growing sense that central banks – including the U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and European Central Bank – will be unable to achieve a ‘soft landing,’ that’s to say curbing inflation without precipitating a recession”, he said in a note published on Tuesday.

At the moment, Bitcoin is being regarded as a risk asset, alongside equities. But this might all change again as its primary characteristics remain the same.

“As inflation continues to run hot in the coming months, the price of Bitcoin will be supported as investors look to protect their purchasing power by moving out of cash and into store of value investments”, he added.

Ethereum’s “Merge” delayed (again)

Ethereum developer Tim Beiko announced that the Ethereum merge has been delayed till Q3 2022, and the network’s transition to a PoS (Proof-of-stake) network will likely come “in the few months after”.

“The Merge” refers to Ethereum’s foundational PoS Beacon Chain combining with Ethereum’s smart-contract-enabled mainnet to form a new, single and smart contract-enabled PoS ecosystem.

This is the fifth time the Merge has been delayed. It was previously postponed due to complications in implementing the “difficulty bomb” –  a mechanism that forces miners to stop producing blocks, therefore making mining unprofitable and disincentivising miners from keeping the chain alive after Ethereum becomes a PoS network.

Read our writer’s take on why Ethereum consensus layer’s constant delays could spell trouble for the network.

Meta takes mega cut

Meta, Facebook’s parent company, is planning to charge a 47.5% fee on the sale of digital assets on its virtual reality platform Horizon Worlds.

The cut includes a “hardware platform fee” of 30% for sales made through the Meta Quest Store, where apps and games for Meta’s virtual reality headsets are sold. Horizon Worlds will charge a 17.5% fee.

By comparison, popular NFT Marketplace OpenSea take a 2.5% cut.

No love for “Jack Dorsey’s First Tweet” NFT

The NFT of Jack Dorsey’s first tweet has been offered for US$48 million on Opensea, 16 times what its owner, crypto entrepreneur Sina Estavi, paid for in March 2021.

However, the auction closed on Wednesday with only seven offers ranging from 0.0019 ETH to 0.09 ETH (less than US$280).

There is currently an offer of 2 ETH (US$6,231.80) that expires in three days. A good bargain perhaps?

Trading Volume

The global crypto market cap is US$1.92 trillion, a 2.94% increase over the last day.

The total crypto market volume over the last 24 hours is US$80.64 billion, which makes a 12.80% decrease. The total volume in DeFi is currently US$9.34 billion, 11.58% of the total crypto market 24-hour volume. The volume of all stable coins is now US$66.45 billion, which is 82.40% of the total crypto market 24-hour volume.

Fear & Greed Index

The Crypto Fear and Greed Index uses 5-6 measurements to assess the current sentiment of the market and then rates that level of emotion on a scale of 1-100 – 1 is extreme fear and 100 is extreme greed.

The current score of 28 (fear) is a slight decrease from last week’s score of 37. More volatility should be expected as risk appetites continue to be sapped.