Weekly Recap: Crypto Markets Get a Shake-Up as Litecoin Ascends; Bitcoin ETF Has Another Backer at the SEC

Cryptocurrencies were on the path to recovery Friday, as Litecoin’s sudden ascendancy propelled markets higher. This had a domino effect on the top 10 coins, whose rankings shifted following Litecoin’s explosive move north. The market’s performance on Friday helped offset a lackluster start to the week that saw coin values plunge to new yearly lows.

Proponents of the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust reignited the debate over crypto ETFs last week after they resubmitted their application with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). According to an unpublished interview with the Commission’s lone Democrat, it’s only a matter of time before the regulator approves its first bitcoin exchange-traded fund.

Litecoin Surge

Litecoin caused quite the stir on Friday after prices surged 16% in a matter of hours. This allowed LTC to scale three spots in the crypto rankings, overtaking bitcoin cash, EOS and Tether for fourth spot by market capitalization. At the time of writing, Litecoin is nurturing gains of 13% to trade at $37.74, the highest in nearly a month.

While there was no immediate catalyst for the sudden surge, the market appears to be benefiting from news that the Litecoin Foundation is looking to implement new privacy features through the MimbleWimble protocol. This was confirmed by Charlie Lee, Litecoin’s founder.

Market participants also pointed to an upcoming Litecoin halving event as a potential early catalyst for the rally. If that’s the case, investors can expect interest in LTC to gather pace for months to come. The next halving event is projected to occur around Aug. 5, 2019.

Binance Coin: Biggest Weekly Gainer

Binance Coin (BNB) entered the top-ten crypto index for the first time this week, as traders rallied behind a bevy of fundamental news surrounding the exchange.

BNB has been riding a wave of momentum tied to Binance Launchpad, a new platform for token sales. On Jan. 28, BitTorrent Token (BTT) became the first cryptocurrency to be sold on the platform. In the BNB session, all 23.76 billion BTT were sold to participants in less than 14 minutes. The Tron session sold all of its 35.64 billion BTT in less than 15 minutes.

More on the BTT sale: 100% Completed: The BitTorrent ICO is a 15-Minute Sellout.

The market cap for BNB has surpassed $1.1 billion following a 23% weekly surge. The cryptocurrency has gained 31% since the start of 2019.

Bitcoin ETF: Only a Matter of Time

It’s only a matter of time before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approves the first bitcoin ETF, according to Robert J. Jackson, Jr., the agency’s lone Democratic Commissioner. In a soon to be released interview with Congressional Quarterly, Jackson said it probably won’t be long before someone satisfies the SEC’s standards for a crypto-backed fund.

“Eventually, do I think someone will satisfy the standards that we’ve laid out there? I hope so, yes, and I think so,” he said, according to Drew Hinkes, an Adjunct Professor at New York University.

Jackson added: “Getting the stamp of approval from the deepest and most liquid capital markets in the world is hard, and it should be. Once we make it available to everyday mom and pop investors, we are taking risks that Americans can get hurt.”

The Commissioner didn’t elaborate on when a bitcoin ETF could be approved or whether the recently re-submitted VanEck-SolidX application could satisfy the SEC’s criteria. However, Jackson did dispute the SEC’s decision to turn down the Winklevoss application last year. More on this story: Crypto Markets See Modest Gains as SEC Commissioner Hints at Bitcoin ETF Approval.

The Week Ahead

The crypto rally on Friday has done little to alleviate concerns that a more protracted bear market is looming. That’s because bitcoin is coming dangerously close to its December 2018 low, having given back a majority of its post-crisis recovery. Where bitcoin goes, the broader market will follow. This remains true with very few exceptions.

This alone doesn’t preclude the possibility of range-bound trading continuing next week. However, prolonged periods of lateral moves have been detrimental for bitcoin, as they are almost always followed by deeper moves south (at least, this has been the case during the last half of the bear market). For now, day trading should be relegated to those willing to assume significant risk. The value proposition for long-term holders remains intact.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Chief Editor to Hacked.com and Contributor to CCN.com, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi