What's new in the financial markets?
Ripple, a real-time gross settlement system, currency exchange and remittance network, has secured a partial win in a court battle with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York ruled that selling Ripple's XRP tokens on exchanges and via algorithms did not constitute investment contracts. However, it determined that the sale of these tokens to institutional investors violated federal securities laws. The ruling resulted in a surge in XRP's value and potential listing on Gemini crypto exchange. Despite this victory, legal experts argue that the ruling doesn't definitively clarify the status of digital assets as securities under U.S. law.
The court decision partially approved a summary judgment motion in a crucial SEC lawsuit against Ripple. The regulator accused Ripple and its executives of not registering XRP as a security before selling tokens worth about $1.3 billion. The court found that Ripple's institutional sales of around $728.9 million worth of XRP violated federal securities law as buyers expected to profit from Ripple's work.
However, the "programmatic sales" of XRP through exchanges and algorithms were not deemed as securities sales. This decision applied to Ripple's executives' own sales of XRP and other distributions. The court denied an SEC motion for summary judgment on an "aiding and abetting claim" against the executives, asserting it was unclear whether they knowingly disregarded securities laws.
CPI Data June
In June, inflation hit its lowest annual rate in over two years, with the consumer price index (CPI) rising 3% year-on-year and 0.2% monthly, lower than expected. Core CPI, excluding volatile food and energy, also increased less than anticipated. While this provides the Federal Reserve some flexibility in managing inflation, the core inflation rate is still above its 2% annual target. Despite expectations of further rate hikes, traders predict a pause following a potential quarter percentage point increase at the Federal Reserve meeting on July 25-26. Other factors helping to curb inflation include a modest rise in food prices, a decline in used vehicle prices, and a significant drop in airline fares. These factors contributed to a slight increase in real average hourly earnings.
The impact of inflation rates and Federal Reserve policies on the Bitcoin and wider cryptocurrency markets can be multi-faceted:
Hedge Against Inflation: Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are often seen as a hedge against inflation. If inflation rates decrease, the perceived need for such a hedge may also decrease, potentially leading to lower demand and lower prices for cryptocurrencies.
Interest Rates: Higher interest rates often strengthen the local currency (in this case, the USD), making assets priced in that currency (like Bitcoin) more expensive for foreign investors. This could lead to decreased demand. Conversely, if the Fed decides to pause rate hikes, it might relieve some pressure on cryptocurrencies.
Risk Appetite: Cryptocurrencies are considered high-risk assets. Changes in monetary policy and macroeconomic indicators can impact investors' risk appetite. If the economic outlook is positive (e.g., lower inflation, steady economic growth), investors might feel more comfortable investing in riskier assets like cryptocurrencies.
Market Liquidity: Central bank policies greatly affect market liquidity. If rates remain low, liquidity is high, which can fuel investments in various assets, including cryptocurrencies.
BNB Short Squeeze
Traders of BNB token perpetual futures are adopting a bearish stance, with data indicating short positions, which profit from a price drop, are dominant. These positions have increased due to various challenges, including staff exits at Binance, issues with BCH withdrawals, and a Department of Justice case against Binance's CEO. Binance, the creator of the BNB ecosystem, recently laid off over 1,000 employees due to global regulatory pressures, adding to market unease. Some traders are waiting to see if a recent US court ruling in favour of Ripple might positively impact Binance's legal battle with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Given the high bearish activity, a small price rise could trigger a short squeeze, potentially driving prices up rapidly.