Bitcoin drifts sideways as market weighs regulatory risks

Regulatory risks weigh on market ahead of options expiry

Regulatory and macroeconomic concerns have weighed heavily on cryptoassets this week, with Bitcoin and Ethereum trading sideways on cautious market sentiment.

Wall Street’s top cop Gary Gensler, head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has requested more resources for cryptoasset oversight, while protestors in El Salvador have been marching against the new Bitcoin law. Adding to the uncertainty, the collapse of Chinese property developer Evergrande is threatening to send shockwaves through global markets.

Against this backdrop, altcoin trading action was mostly subdued. Litecoin finished the week 3% down after rocketing higher on fake news of a Walmart partnership, while Shiba Inu left Dogecoin in the dust with a 20% spike.

This Week’s Highlights

  • Markets trade cautiously as Gensler calls for regulation
  • Vitalik Buterin makes Time Magazine’s Top 100

Markets trade cautiously as Gensler calls for regulation

After five months settling into his position as SEC chairman, Gary Gensler is starting to show the world what his tenure could mean for the crypto market.

The former blockchain professor spoke before the Senate Banking Committee about crypto last Tuesday, calling for more powers for the SEC, and asking federal regulatory agencies to work together on issues such as custody.

Yet while some senators cheered him on, others questioned his paternalistic stance. At one point, Senator John Kennedy asked Gensler if he considered himself to be the “daddy” of the companies he regulated — epitomizing the defiant attitude of the Senate that may have helped keep prices buoyant.

Vitalik Buterin makes Time Magazine’s Top 100

Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin has joined the likes of Joe Biden and Elon Musk in Time Magazines’ list of the 100 Most Influential People of 2021.

In Buterin’s profile for the magazine, Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian claims the wunderkind programmer is responsible for catalyzing a broader movement that no single person could ever have created, and that what makes him so special is that “he is a builder’s builder.”

Although the price of Ethereum was unmoved by the news, data shared by crypto analytics firm IntoTheBlock shows that a record $1.2 billion worth of ETH was withdrawn from centralized exchanges on Thursday. This has sparked bullish speculation about prices rising as supply shrinks.

Week ahead

Aside from a short-lived trip above $50K, Bitcoin has now been trading sideways for almost six weeks. The longer the market stays in this range, the bigger the eventual breakout is likely to be.

On Wednesday, we could see volatility catalyzed by the Federal Reserve which will announce the direction of future monetary policy. This announcement, along with the still-unfolding Evergrande crisis, are likely to be the biggest macro factors affecting the crypto market in the week ahead.