February 14, 2024

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Next FOMC meeting: Mar 20th 2024

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The News Room

Swiss Banks to Offer Ethereum Staking Through Taurus-Lido Partnership

The collaboration between Swiss-based cryptocurrency custody firm Taurus and Ethereum staking specialist Lido marks a significant step towards enabling banks to offer their customers the ability to earn income from holding and staking Ethereum tokens. This partnership makes Lido’s liquid staking product, which allows firms to lock up Ether (ETH) and receive a tradable digital token (stETH) in return, accessible exclusively to Swiss-based, FINMA-regulated banks working with Taurus, such as Deutsche Bank and Santander. Taurus aims to bridge traditional finance with digital assets by facilitating access to liquid staking solutions, responding to the growing demand from banking clients for such services. Regulatory clarity from Swiss financial regulator FINMA and anticipation of similar guidance in European jurisdictions underscore the opportunity for banks to engage with liquid staking and blockchain technology, despite the challenges and learning curve associated with ensuring the safety and accessibility of funds in the blockchain space.

Ripple Acquires Standard Custody to Bolster Regulatory Framework and Custody Services

Ripple is set to expand its regulatory and service capabilities with the acquisition of Standard Custody and Trust Company, a New York-based digital asset platform. Pending regulatory approval, this move will grant Ripple sole ownership and access to Standard Custody's trust charter and money transmitter licenses, enhancing its compliance offerings to financial institutions. Ripple President Monica Long highlighted the strategic value of these licenses in providing a comprehensive blockchain solution for decentralized financial services. Standard Custody, known for its institutional-grade digital asset custody, escrow, and settlement services, complements Ripple's growing European custody team and its global client base which includes major banks and financial institutions. The acquisition builds on Ripple's license portfolio, with plans for further expansion in the UK and Europe, marking a significant step in Ripple's commitment to offering end-to-end blockchain solutions.

MicroStrategy Pivots to Bitcoin Development, Expands Cryptocurrency Focus

MicroStrategy is transitioning its focus to become a Bitcoin development company, as announced by executive chairman Michael Saylor. This rebranding underscores the company's significant success with Bitcoin, aligning its operations more closely with developing the Bitcoin network and increasing its holdings in the cryptocurrency. Saylor's comparison of MicroStrategy to real estate or petroleum developers reflects this strategic pivot, emphasizing the importance of Bitcoin in the company's future endeavors. With Bitcoin's price surge contributing to MicroStrategy's unrealized profit of approximately $3.5 billion on its investments, the company solidifies its position as the world's largest public corporate holder of Bitcoin. This move comes amid growing demand for Bitcoin ETFs, highlighting the digital asset's appeal as a novel, uncorrelated investment option. MicroStrategy's aggressive Bitcoin acquisition strategy has not only significantly increased its holdings to 190,000 BTC but also positively impacted its stock performance, marking a substantial year-over-year increase.

Trading Desk Insights

In the latest market developments, Bitcoin has surged to a two-year high, hitting $52,000 and reclaiming a market cap milestone of $1 trillion, reminiscent of late 2021. The overall cryptocurrency market has surpassed the $2 trillion mark for the first time since April 2022. Notably, BTC has seen a remarkable 21% surge this year alone. The substantial positive impact on Bitcoin's price action can be attributed to the robust inflow of funds into spot ETFs. During the recent rally, the futures market also played a significant role, contributing to a $700 million increase in open interest.

Yesterday marked the second-largest day of net inflows into ETFs, totaling $631.2 million. In the midst of BTC's breakout, the cumulative inflows have approached an impressive $4 billion, with over $2 billion recorded in the preceding four trading days.

Despite the upward momentum, the overall market leverage remains relatively low, indicating a lower likelihood of sudden liquidations that could trigger a significant price crash. According to CryptoQuant, BTC's estimated leverage ratio has slightly increased from 0.18 to 0.20, although it remains far from the levels observed in August last year.

This positive trend has also spilled over to crypto stocks, with notable gains such as COIN (+10%), MARA (+13%), and MSTR (+11%).

Meanwhile, U.S. stock futures edged higher on Wednesday following the Dow Jones’ most substantial decline since March 2023. The sell-off was prompted by a higher-than-expected inflation reading, leading traders to express concerns about the Federal Reserve delaying interest rate cuts.

Barclays anticipates a significant capital influx of $400 billion to $600 billion into risk assets in the near future, adding further momentum to the market.

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This research is for informational use only. This is not investment advice. Other than disclosures relating to Secure Digital Markets this research is based on current public information that we consider reliable, but we do not represent it is accurate or complete, and it should not be relied on as such. The information, opinions, estimates, and forecasts contained herein are as of the date hereof and are subject to change without prior notification. We seek to update our research as appropriate.

Any forecasts contained herein are for illustrative purposes only and are not to be relied upon as advice or interpreted as a recommendation. The price of crypto assets may rise or fall because of changes in the broad market or changes in a company's financial condition, sometimes rapidly or unpredictably. Past performance is not a guide to future performance, future returns are not guaranteed, and a loss of original capital may occur. Fluctuations in exchange rates could have adverse effects on the value or price of, or income derived from, certain investments. We and our affiliates, officers, directors, and employees, excluding equity and credit analysts, will from time to time have long or short positions in, act as principal in, and buy or sell, the securities or derivatives, if any, referred to in this research.

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