Ether recovery helps crypto revisit US$1 trillion market cap level

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) – Ether and Bitcoin reached their highest levels in 10 days on Sunday (June 26) as the market showed some signs of stabilisation.

Ether, the No. 2 cryptocurrency, advanced as much as 5.8 per cent to US$1,279.06 on Sunday (June 26) before pulling back on Monday.

The rally comes after the token dropped as low as US$880.70 on June 18. It appears to have found support around its 200-week moving average, which currently sits near US$1,200.

No. 1 Bitcoin topped out on Sunday at US$21,860, after having fallen as low as US$17,742.83 on June 19.

It hovered around US$21,000 on Monday, bringing overall crypto market capitalisation just below US$1 trillion, according to CoinMarketCap. Bitcoin represents more than 40 per cent of the crypto market’s value.

Ether “is leading the way following sizeable short liquidations,” Fundstrat said of the crypto rally in a note on Friday. Data from CoinGlass shows there was about US$60 million (US$83 million) of short liquidations in Ether on Friday, the most in five days.

Cryptocurrencies have suffered this year amid Federal Reserve rate hikes and stubbornly high inflation. Ether is still down more than 60 per cent this year, even after rallying from its extreme lows.

A broad-based sell-off in digital assets and the collapse of high-profile tokens TerraUSD and Luna have also caused ripple effects across the crypto industry.

A wave of liquidations triggered fear of contagion risks. Major lenders Celsius Network and Babel Finance have frozen withdrawals this month, and Three Arrows Capital, a major crypto hedge fund, is facing liquidity troubles that rattled investors.

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Over the weekend, crypto brokerage firm Voyager Digital said it is limiting customer withdrawals from its platform to US$10,000 and to 20 transactions during a 24-hour period.

The New York-based firm, which secured US$485 million in loans in the past week from Alameda Research to shore up protection for customer assets, announced the limits on its website. The firm secured the funding after disclosing its exposure to Three Arrows Capital.

Meanwhile, hackers also looted about US$100 million from a so-called cryptocurrency bridge, targeting a key vulnerability in the digital-asset ecosystem. Harmony said in a tweet that the hack of its Horizon bridge, which lets people swop coins between blockchains, took place last Thursday morning.

Horizon, which offers cross-chain transfers between Ethereum and Binance, marks the third major bridge hack this year. In February, hackers stole more than US$300 million from the Wormhole bridge. In late March, Ronin Bridge lost about US$620 million to hackers.