Crypto market stands like Nasdaq in the early 2000s. Here’s why

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Hello! Welcome back to Distributed Ledger, our weekly crypto newsletter that reaches your inbox every Thursday. I’m Frances Yue, crypto reporter at MarketWatch, and I’ll walk you through the latest in this bear market.

Find me on Twitter at @FrancesYue_ to send feedback, or tell us what you think we should cover. You can also reach me through email to share your personal stories with crypto.

As the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate for the fourth time this year on Wednesday to cool off inflation, I caught up with Ben McMillan, founder and chief investment officer at IDX Digital Assets, to chat about the recent status of the crypto market.

Crypto in a snap

Bitcoin
BTCUSD
gained 0.8% over the past seven days, and was trading at around $23,908 on Thursday, according to CoinDesk data. Ether
ETHUSD
advanced 6.4% over the seven-day stretch to around $1,732. Meme token Dogecoin
DOGEUSD
went down 3.5% while another dog-themed token, Shiba Inu
SHIBUSD,
dropped 5% from seven days ago.

Crypto Metrics
Biggest Gainers

Price

%7-day return

Bitcoin Gold

$26.86

45.2%

Ethereum Classic

$33.75

44.1%

Celsius Network

$1.14

42.4%

Qtum

$4.30

40.5%

Lido DAO

$2.22

38.7%

Source: CoinGecko as of July 28

Biggest Decliners

Price

%7-day return

Amp

$0.009

-7.3%

Huobi

$4.42

-6.2%

Dogecoin

$0.07

-5.7%

Frax Share

$6.26

-5.6%

Algorand

$0.33

-5.5%

Source: CoinGecko as of July 28

Nasdaq in the early 2000s?

The current crypto market “looks very much like Nasdaq in the early 2000s after the washout,” IDX’s McMillan said in a phone interview. During the past two months, the crypto market struggled with contagion as digital asset hedge fund Three Arrows, broker Voyager and lender Celsius went into bankruptcy. 

“You’ve had a couple of very high profile big liquidation events,” McMillan said. “Similar to Long Term Capital Management in the late 90s or Pets.com, there were a lot of flawed business models that were simply trafficking off of the hype of digital assets that have gone away.”

“Ultimately, we saw a similar paradigm play out in the early 2000s with technology stocks, and that ended up being a generational buying opportunity,” according to McMillan. 

Still, in a risk-off environment, IDX’s mutual fund Risk-Managed Bitcoin Strategy Fund
BTIDX
has kept its investments mostly in cash since the end of last year, as bitcoin trades more than 67% down from its peak in November, McMillan said.

The fund is recently starting to “put a little bit of risk back on the table,” according to McMillan.

“What we are looking for is what we call a kind of conviction buying behavior. We want to see it, particularly with a volatile market like bitcoin or other digital assets. For an asset class that is no stranger to 50% plus drawdowns, managing risk becomes really important, particularly for institutional clients, which is primarily who we serve,” according to McMillan.

Hear from Mike Novogratz at the Best New Ideas in Money Festival on Sept. 21 and Sept. 22 in New York. The Galaxy Digital CEO has ideas about navigating the crypto winter.

FTX’s rescue plan for Voyager?

Bankrupt crypto broker Voyager Digital has turned down a proposal, made by Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto exchange FTX and Alameda Ventures, saying it is a “low-ball bid dressed up as a white knight rescue.”

FTX and Alameda on July 22 jointly proposed to buy all digital assets and crypto loans of Voyager other than its claims on hedge fund Three Arrows , in “immediately available cash” at fair market value. Such value would be “calculated by Alameda in good faith based on market practice and available pricing information,” with Voyager’s confirmation, according to the proposal.

Under the proposal, FTX and Alameda also offered to provide early liquidity to Voyager customers, where they could choose to start a new account with FTX and receive a cash balance equal to part of their claims with Voyager.

In response to FTX and Alameda’s proposal, Voyager’s lawyers said it would hurt the company’s customers, undermining the efforts to maximize value in the bidding process, capping users’ crypto claims to their dollar values, and letting consumers bear the tax consequences of transactions, among other concerns. 

“The AlamedaFTX proposal is nothing more than a liquidation of cryptocurrency on a basis that advantages AlamedaFTX,” Voyager’s lawyers wrote in a court filing on July 24. 

Still, “the deal isn’t necessarily dead,” Bankman-Fried said Tuesday in an interview with Yahoo Finance. “Ultimately, shareholders will get to decide what they want to move forward with. And I don’t think we’ve seen sort of the final journey on that side.”

In a series of tweets, Bankman-Fried argued that their proposal would benefit consumers by allowing them to be repaid sooner. “The longer the bankrupt process drags out, the more optionality customers lose,” the crypto billionaire tweeted. He also tweeted that some other third parties may bid for plans that will give customers more haircut.

Crypto companies, funds

Shares of Coinbase Global Inc.
COIN
gained 3.4% to $60.84 on Thursday, while they were down 17.5% over the past five trading sessions. Michael Saylor’s MicroStrategy Inc.
MSTR
climbed 2.3% Thursday to $268.32, while the shares went down 7.4% over the past five days.

Mining company Riot Blockchain Inc.
RIOT
shares edged up 1.5% to $7.25 Thursday, while they lost 4.8% over the past five days. Shares of Marathon Digital Holdings Inc.
MARA
advanced 5.5% to $12.99, with a 3.7% gain over the past five days. Another miner, Ebang International Holdings Inc.
EBON
shares rose 1.8% to $0.48 on Thursday, looking at a 15% loss over the past five days.

Overstock.com Inc.
OSTK’s
shares rallied 7.7% to $30.45. The shares gained 3.8% over the five-session period.

Shares of Block Inc.
SQ,
formerly known as Square, edged down 0.3% to $72.56, while its shares were down 2.7% for the week. Tesla Inc.
TSLA
shares rose 1.5% to $836.90, contributing to a 3% gain over the past five sessions.

PayPal Holdings Inc.
PYPL
declined 2% to $84.68, though the shares went up 2.9% over the five-session stretch. Nvidia Corp.
NVDA
shares lost 0.3% to $177.45, off 1.3% over the past five trading days.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc.
AMD
shares added 1.4% to $90.21 on Thursday, looking at a 0.6% loss from five trading days ago.

Among crypto funds, ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF
BITO
jumped 5% to $14.80 Thursday, while its Short Bitcoin Strategy ETF
BITI
tanked 4.9% to $32.58. Valkyrie Bitcoin Strategy ETF
BTF
advanced 4.9% to $9.21, while VanEck Bitcoin Strategy ETF
XBTF
were up 4.9% to $23.28.

Grayscale Bitcoin Trust
GBTC
increased 3.2% to $14.69.

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