After gaining 11% between March 16 and March 18, the total crypto market capitalization has been battling resistance at the $1.2 trillion level. This same level was reached on August 14, 2022 and was followed by a 19.7% decline to $960 billion over the next two weeks. During the lateralization period between March 20 and March 27, Bitcoin (BTC) gained 0.3% while Ether (ETH) posted modest gains of 1.6%.
Total crypto market cap in USD, 12-hour. Source: TradingView
One source of favorable short-term momentum is a change in the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy. The U.S. Federal Reserve was forced to increase its balance sheet by $393 billion between March 9 and March 23 in order to provide short-term loans to failing banks. The objective of the plan was to reduce inflation, which has significantly impacted the cost of living and ultimately hampered economic expansion in the United States.
The balance sheet reduction runs counter to the central bank’s previous nine-month trend of offloading some of its debt instruments, exchange-traded funds and mortgage-backed securities. The reversion of this strategy is initially bullish for risk assets because the Fed is acting as a lifeline for struggling banks and hedge funds.
On the other hand, the sector’s regulatory risks were exacerbated on March 22 when Coinbase received a Wells notice from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The exchange’s staking program, some of its digital asset listings and its wallet services could all be targeted by the regulator. Again, the uncertainty stems from not knowing which assets qualify as securities.
These competing forces may have been the primary reason for cryptocurrencies’ narrow trading range near $1.18 trillion between March 17 and March 27. However, derivatives data presents compelling arguments for a rally toward $1.35 trillion and a retest of the $1 trillion threshold.
The total crypto market capitalization has remained stable since March 20, with XRP (XRP) rallying 22% and Litecoin (LTC) gaining 17%. XRP’s gains are likely attributable to investors’ expectations that Ripple will prevail in its ongoing legal…