In this Week's Market Rollup
Crypto price action sees a positive start to 2023, tech giants make major metaverse moves, and Mastercard's announcement is music to artists' ears.
Read on for everything worth knowing!
The crypto space makes a strong start to the year with the total crypto market cap up 5% at US$887 billion, boosted by solid gains for the majors: Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Gala Games (GALA) soars after it acquired mobile gaming studio, Ember Entertainment, causing its price to more than double.
Mastercard plans to leverage Polygon to help guide musical artists into the Web3 space, including with minting their own NFTs.
The first full week of 2023 marked an optimistic start to the year as Bitcoin (BTC) crossed the US$17,000 mark for the first time this year. Opening the week at US$16,590, BTC sustained modest appreciation throughout the entire week.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing though as the U.S. Federal Reserve’s December meeting minutes were released Wednesday afternoon. Stocks and almost every crypto token dropped on the news that the Fed would not step down from its aggressive monetary policy as meeting participants “reaffirmed their strong commitment to returning inflation to the Committee's 2 percent objective.”
BTC fell 1% in the hour following the announcement before making a recovery over the weekend to close the week at US$17,180, up 3.6% over the last seven days.
Ethereum (ETH) also experienced a great start to 2023 having gained up to 6.5% mid-week before the Fed’s meeting.
The price of ETH dipped slightly more aggressively than BTC did following the announcement, dropping 1.3% in just one hour. However, ETH was also able to recover over the weekend as it pushed towards US$1,300. ETH ended the week with a weekly gain of 8.1%, making it ETH’s strongest weekly performance in ten weeks (16.5% - October 24).
Altcoins rallied alongside BTC and ETH this week with almost all sectors making double-digit gains. GameFi was the leading performing sector and increased by an astonishing 37.1% week-on-week. Following this were DeFi, Smart Contract Platforms, and Web3 which grew by 24.9%, 24.0%, and 14.7%, respectively. Currencies trailed the group and returned 9.6% over the last seven days.
Gala Games (GALA) led the GameFi sector this week after rallying 124.2%. A large portion of the move came after Gala Games announced the acquisition of a mobile game studio with over 20 million users, Ember Entertainment. The move will extend Gala’s exposure through new gaming platforms as well as add 15 more games to its current roster.
The Sandbox (SAND) also performed strongly, returning 33.0% week-on-week after a whale address was seen moving 21.6 million SAND (worth approx. US$9.9 million) to Binance.
DeFi’s performance was led by Lido DAO’s (LDO) takeover as the largest DeFi protocol by total value locked (TVL) last week. The move was sustained this week as TVL continued to grow on other DeFi staking protocols, otherwise known as liquid staking derivatives (LSDs).
With Ethereum’s Shanghai upgrade fast approaching, users will soon be able to withdraw staked ETH, potentially encouraging more investors to stake ETH through LSDs. As such, LDO gained an impressive 85.1% over the week while Rocket Pool (RPL), an emerging competitor gained 21.3%.
Solana (SOL) has returned from the ashes after surging 56.2% this week. The move followed the collapse of crypto exchange FTX which saw SOL lose roughly 75% in value since November. Disgraced FTX founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) supported the Solana blockchain and used it to build his own decentralised exchange.
Zilliqa (ZIL), the Smart Contract Platform which focuses on transaction speed also showed strength this week, beating the sector average and rallying 34.3%.
In Other News
HTC and LG Make Metaverse Moves
The blockchain gaming narrative has continued to flourish this week after two more tech giants announced new metaverse products at the 2023 Consumer Electrics Show.
Taiwanese tech behemoth HTC launched its new Vive XR Elite mixed reality headset which will allow users to interact with the metaverse via a virtual reality headset.
Meanwhile, South Korean consumer tech giant LG Electronics unveiled Blade Wallet, a web3 wallet deployed on the Hedera Hashgraph (HBAR) network which will facilitate NFT trading and metaverse interactions through its own LG smart TVs.
Huobi Feels the Pain
Huobi cryptocurrency exchange has confirmed plans to lay off 20% of its employees as part of the ongoing restructuring following cryptocurrency entrepreneur and Tron founder Justin Sun’s acquisition of the firm. A Huobi statement read, “With the current state of the bear market, a very lean team will be maintained going forward. The personnel optimisation aims to implement the brand strategy, optimise the structure, improve efficiency and return to the top three.”
Sun denied insolvency rumours.
Mastercard Taps Polygon
Global payments giant Mastercard is ramping up its exposure blockchain tech yet again, after announcing a Polygon-based accelerator program to help musicians build their careers via Web3.
The “Mastercard Artist Accelerator” is designed to help artists expand their brand and establish a community via content creation, collaboration, and ownership all with the help of NFTs.
📢ANNOUNCED AT CES📢— Polygon - MATIC 💜 (@0xPolygon) January 6, 2023
@Mastercard will launch the Mastercard Artist Accelerator #onPolygon
👉🏾a Web3-based, fan-driven initiative to develop and launch emerging musical artists in the digital economy 🎵 💳https://t.co/oEK7g29XyH pic.twitter.com/D5kRZRtPU4
Recommended reading: What Is the Crypto Fear and Greed Index?
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