After showing impressive gains over the weekend, then correcting slightly, the cryptocurrency market was seen higher over the week’s first 24 hours, including impressive gains from Bitcoin Cash, XRP and Stellar. An event with major geopolitical implications impacted the markets at the end of last week and Bitcoin’s status as a hedging tool is once again being discussed.
This Week’s Highlights
- Cryptos Rise on US-Iran Tensions
- Ethereum Hard Fork a Success
- The Week Ahead
US-Iran Conflict Fuels Crypto
Between Thursday and Friday, news broke that Iran’s top military leader, Qasem Soleimani, was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad. Soleimani’s death had a tremendous impact on the market, including sending oil prices to their highest levels since last April and pushing gold beyond its previous 6-year high. At the same time, the crypto market also started to rise, with Bitcoin, Ethereum and XRP rising 9.5%, 9.7% and 5.4%, respectively, since Friday (as of the time of writing).
This recent uptick once again rekindled the debate whether or not Bitcoin could be considered a safe-haven asset. While definitely much more volatile than gold, it seems that at times of extreme volatility in mainstream markets, Bitcoin and other crypto coins tend to be the go-to for some investors — a claim that is supported by this recent price surge.
Ethereum Picks up the Speed
For the Ethereum blockchain network, 2020 started with the implementation of the much-anticipated Muir Glacier hard fork. The fork was intended to improve the network’s performance and mining speed, and early data suggests that it was a success.
As the data above displays, the average block time on the network has been reduced by 25% – a mammoth improvement by all measures. If this improvement holds, the Muir Glacier will be remembered as one of the more significant, trouble-free forks in the history of Ethereum.
The Week Ahead
As mainstream markets continue to decline in the aftermath of the US strike in Iraq, the crypto market may be the beneficiary. Currently, tensions are extremely high and geopolitical unrest grips the world. While this will definitely continue to impact mainstream, and quite possibly, crypto markets, there will also be other events this week that will test Bitcoin’s status as a safe-haven. Most prominently, the monthly NFP report, to be released this Friday, which is considered a key fundamental for the performance of the US economy. Coupled with any developments regarding US-Iran tensions, Bitcoin will most definitely be given enough challenges from the mainstream market this week.