January 31, 2024

Markets Insights

Economic Calendar

Next FOMC meeting: Jan 31st 2024

  • Probability of a 25bps ease → 6%
  • Probability of a 0bps hike → 94%

The News Room

Thailand's SEC Unveils Progressive Crypto Regulations in 2024, Enhancing Investor Access

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Thailand is adopting more lenient regulations towards cryptocurrencies, as evident in its recent framework update. Under the Digital Asset Businesses Decree, the Thai SEC, which oversees areas like sales, trading, and ICOs, has now lifted the investment cap for retail investors in asset-backed digital tokens and introduced new rules for custodial wallet management, requiring such services to be offered by subsidiaries of publicly listed companies. This significant regulatory shift is expected to broaden the investor base and aid the growth of Thailand's digital asset market. Additionally, the SEC will enhance its role in monitoring and approving the expansion plans of digital asset businesses, ensuring they meet regulatory standards. However, in a cautious stance similar to South Korea, Thailand's SEC has decided not to permit spot Bitcoin ETFs, maintaining a principle to prohibit financial institutions from investing in virtual assets for market stability and investor protection.

Bitfinex Securities Launches Digital Asset Services in El Salvador

Bitfinex Securities has become the first licensed entity to offer digital assets services in El Salvador, marking a significant milestone in the country's growing embrace of cryptocurrency. The securities token platform is now accepting customer applications and anticipates launching various tokenized financial asset issuances in the first half of this year. Paolo Ardoino, CTO of Bitfinex Securities, expressed enthusiasm for the launch, highlighting El Salvador's unique position due to its adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender and the potential for attracting global investment flows. This development coincides with a surge in institutional investor interest in Bitcoin-focused financial products, following the successful launch of U.S. spot Bitcoin ETFs. El Salvador has been in the spotlight since declaring Bitcoin legal tender in 2021 and recently launched the “Adopting El Salvador Freedom Visa” program with Tether, allowing investors to apply for a visa through a $1 million investment in Bitcoin or USDT. Additionally, the country has established a digital asset regulatory framework, paving the way for fully operational Bitcoin-based financial markets.

Block Inc. Initiates Layoffs, Aiming to Trim Workforce by 10% by End of 2024

Block Inc., a blockchain and payments firm led by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, has initiated layoffs as part of its plan to reduce its workforce by up to 10% by the end of 2024. The company, which encompasses Square Inc., Cash App, Tidal, and the Bitcoin-focused division TBD, had announced in an earnings call last year its intention to decrease its headcount from 13,000 in the third quarter of 2023 to a maximum of 12,000 by the end of 2024. In a memo to staff, Dorsey attributed this decision to the company's growth outpacing its business and revenue. While the exact number of recent layoffs wasn't disclosed to CoinDesk, Block confirmed its commitment to achieving the reduction target through performance adjustments and other reorganizing efforts. Block, previously known as Square, rebranded in 2021 to reflect its focus on blockchain technology, and Dorsey, having resigned as CEO of Twitter, continues to lead Block with a strong advocacy for Bitcoin.

Trading Desk Insights

Bitcoin is under pressure as traders await the Fed's announcement at 2pm EST. Prices saw a 3.5% decline from yesterday's session high. If today's session low of 42,300 is breached, we may see further declines towards $41,000 and $40,000.

BTC spot ETFs saw inflows of $247 million yesterday, despite $221 million outflows from GBTC. BlackRock's ETF $IBIT traded nearly as much as $GBTC.

Reports suggest Ripple's co-founder may have been hacked for around $113 million. The team identified the issue and notified relevant exchanges to freeze affected addresses, with law enforcement involved.

The Solana ecosystem is gaining momentum. Trading volume on its DEX Jupiter hit $480 million on Monday, surpassing Uniswap's 24hr volume. Uniswap regained the top spot today with $788 million, closely followed by Jupiter at $670 million. JUP token debuts today with a $700 million market cap.

Tether Holdings reported a record net profit of $2.85 billion in Q4, with $1 billion from net operating profits and the rest from Gold and Bitcoin reserves. 2023's net profit reached $6.2 billion.

Tech-heavy Nasdaq-100 futures dropped after megacap tech companies reported quarterly results. Alphabet fell over 5%, while Microsoft slipped 2% in after-hours trading.

Traders await the Fed's rate decision. The fed funds futures market predicts a 98% chance of unchanged rates. Attention will focus on the central bank's policy stance in its post-meeting statement and press conference at 2:30pm EST. The market sees a 57% probability of a rate cut on March 20th.

Policymakers might adopt a "later and fewer" approach to rate cuts, aiming to avoid overly aggressive actions as seen in the past.

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