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First Mover Asia: Bitcoin Is Flat, Ether in the Red, as a Long Weekend Begins

Good morning. Here’s what’s happening:

Prices: Bitcoin is flat at $28K while ether is down 1.1% to $1878 as the market’s hopium subsides.

Insights: Twitter boss Elon Musk spurred a jump in DOGE and had the crypto world’s attention again. But Musk’s long-term benefit for the industry remains questionable.

Good morning Asia, here’s a look at how the markets are shaping up this Friday morning.

Bitcoin climbed out of the red as the market shifted from West to East while ether is slightly down.

The world’s largest digital asset is flat to $28,067, while ether is in the red down 1% to $1,878.

Brent Xu, CEO of DeFi lender Umee, thinks there’s a gap between the market reality, and what the market wants to think.

On a recent appearance on CoinDesk TV, Xu pointed out that the mini-bull market that’s been forming since January 2023 has been largely driven by positive sentiment.

“This is driven by three factors: tamed inflation, the market’s belief that there will be no future interest rate increases, and the avoidance of a banking crisis,” he said. “So that’s what the market wants to think.”

But the wild card here is interest rates, especially if they continue to rise.

“There’s a big battle between the bulls and the bears right now,” he said on CoinDesk TV. “There’s not as much liquidity and depth around, so that’s why you see these volatile moves right now.”

Next week the latest Consumer Price Index is scheduled to be released, which is key to determining inflation and thus directs the Fed’s hand on interest rates.

That’ll be a good update in the battle of bulls and bears.

Is Chief Twit Elon Musk Also Top DOGE?

So this is how mass adoption happens? Elon Musk, at least at one point the world’s richest man, replaced Twitter’s classic blue bird logo with a sprite of DOGE, the Shiba Inu dog known as much for the meme as the meme coin. Dogecoin spiked something like 40%, and hasn’t yet crashed. I hear there’s excitement brewing that DOGE could pump above the 10 cents threshold, which is proportionately one-tenth as exciting as when the so-called proletariat investors of the GameStop era attempted to drive dogecoin, sometimes un-ironically called “the people’s cryptocurrency,” past $1 (it didn’t work).

Dogecoin is apparently spiking because people believe that Elon Musk could soon integrate a permanent dogecoin payment system on Twitter, the microblogging platform he overpaid for ($43 billion). Twitter has several million daily active users, many of them high-profile, and if even just a small percentage begin transacting in DOGE – as a joke or not – it’s not completely irrational to speculate on that translating into a higher price. Mind you, Twitter already has payment/tipping features using the U.S. dollar and the Bitcoin Lightning network. The latter is rarely used, which gives some indication of how frequently the even-less-widely adopted and even-less-trusted crypto, dogecoin, would (or wouldn’t) be used.

Of course, this is my attempt to ascribe meaning to crypto price moves. Prices are basically the only thing that matter in crypto, but rarely for any reason investors typically rely on when evaluating the expected return of an asset. Instead, crypto prices are almost a perfect reflection of market sentiment – or, to put it in the people’s language, vibe. The coronavirus shutting down the global economy? Bad vibes. Locked-down workers with excess cash turning into slap-happy day traders? Fun vibes. A massive stablecoin experiment crashing and burning? Bad vibes. The collapse of the U.S. banking revealing Bitcoin’s virtues? Apparently good vibes.

Elon Musk has manipulated the price of dogecoin in the past. The first time it happened, in early 2020, DOGE jumped after the Tesla founder tweeted out a meme. He apparently got a taste of something he enjoys – power through s**tposting – because he pulled similar moves again and again, each time raising the stakes as the joke grew stale. He weighed in on a dispute between DOGE traders and crypto exchange Binance. Tesla, his car company, would allow DOGE payments. Musk planned to bring DOGE to space, with a SpaceX satellite launch. Over 30-some tweets up to the end of 2022, Musk pumped the price of DOGE by 4.5% on average, according to crypto-skeptical news site Protos.

Read the full story here:

Ethereum’s Shanghai upgrade, also known as “Shapella,” is expected to go live on April 12. It will mark Ethereum’s complete transition to a proof-of-stake (PoS) network and enable staked ETH withdrawals. Runa Digital Assets Chief Operating Officer Max Williams and Umee CEO Brent Xu discussed. Plus, a closer look at Japan’s new Web3 white paper that laid out recommendations for growing the country’s industry. And, “The Crypto Lawyer” Irina Heaver shared her insights on the crypto industry in Dubai.

Read More:First Mover Asia: Bitcoin Is Flat, Ether in the Red, as a Long Weekend Begins