Key Takeaways

  • Gambling on XRP in the midst of the Ripple lawsuit could be the ultimate contrarian bet.
  • Top tokens, Bitcoin and Ethereum soared to new highs amidst “institutional FOMO.”
  • Try these ten DeFi protocols rumored to be launching an airdrop very soon.

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The first edition of Crypto Briefing’s wNews column will unpack the XRP army’s contrarian bet, Bitcoin’s historic rise to $40,000, and why institutional investors may soon be turning to Ethereum.

Plus, Crypto Briefing journalist Chris Williams has hand-picked some DeFi protocols rumored to launch an airdrop.

All that and more below.

XRP as a Contrarian Bet

Ripple has been under continued fire since the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lanced a scathing lawsuit against the company last month. Since then, XRP, the digital asset on the XRP Ledger, a technology created by Ripple, has plummeted. 

Defining the precise relationship between Ripple and the XRP Ledger two has become far more important as of late too. That’s because the SEC is suing Ripple for selling $1.38 billion in XRP, which the Commission has defined as an unregistered security. Much of it boils down to semantics and legal jargon and will be hashed out in court over the weeks to come. 

Still, the market has clearly spoken. 

The token fell from a high of $0.63 down to roughly $0.18 in about 12 days. Source: CoinGecko

Large exchanges and investment firms soon came out to suspend, halt, or delist XRP trading for their users, further accelerating the decline. In response, the XRP army has organized a civil action suit against the SEC for damaging their holdings.

After Coinbase suspended trading, news broke that they too were being sued by the SEC for their role in selling XRP. The verdict has yet to be decided, of course, but none of it looks good. 

The co-founder and COO of CoinGecko, Bobby Ong, told Crypto Briefing:

“Most U.S.-based exchanges such as Bitstamp and Coinbase have stopped XRP trading. Similarly, large crypto trading desks such as Galaxy Digital and Jump Trading have stopped market making for XRP following the lawsuit. The string of negative publicity will result in constant sell pressure for XRP and thus its market capitalization will be expected to continue dropping.” 

The ripple effects from the lawsuit haven’t only been XRP related, either. During the token’s descent, Litecoin (LTC) briefly overtook XRP in market capitalization.

This minor flipping reveals the damage to XRP and a unique reminder about the broader market’s correlation with Bitcoin. Ong said:

“Litecoin’s price is closely tied to Bitcoin’s price albeit in a lagging manner. With the huge run-up in Bitcoin price, Litecoin’s price in USD has also increased and it is thus not surprising that it has overtaken XRP’s market capitalization.” 

CoinGecko’s COO added that he didn’t predict any short-term recovery, but that could change pending the court case’s final result. “The Ripple team has an army of lawyers and is very well funded, so they will be fighting this case. The long-term effect of XRP will be highly dependent on the result of this lawsuit,” he said. 

And herein lies the XRP army’s contrarian bet. 

If Ripple escapes the SEC’s accusations, regardless of whether the crypto community still believes XRP is actually a security, it will see serious price appreciation. 

Whether XRP holders understand this is hard to say. At time of press, XRP is trading hands at $0.31, up 42.5% over the past seven days.

Market Action: Bitcoin (BTC)

Seven-day BTC/USD chart. Source: CoinGecko
Seven-day BTC/USD chart. Source: CoinGecko

The most exciting headline this week has been Bitcoin’s herculean rise across the $40,000 mark. Some experts are thanking institutional FOMO for the rise, while others simply argue that more people are interested in buying the leading cryptocurrency. 

With larger and larger firms turning to the asset class, there is far less “career risk” for buying and selling Bitcoin, Henri Arslanian of PwC told Bloomberg back in December 2020. Perhaps the market is finally seeing this dynamic play out. 

To gather more information, Crypto Briefing spoke with SIMETRI’s lead Bitcoin analyst, Nathan Batchelor. He put the Bitcoin euphoria thusly:

“Finding some type of interim top for Bitcoin’s parabolic run is very difficult right now. I have had $42,000 as a major upside target this week, past this area, I only have $46,880 and $49,000, respectively. BTC bears ideally need to close price under $39,000 level on a multi-day basis to cool this rally off somewhat at the moment.” 

Market Action: Ethereum (ETH)

Seven-day ETH/USD chart. Source: CoinGecko
Seven-day ETH/USD chart. Source: CoinGecko

Ethereum has struggled over the past few weeks to capture the same attention as Bitcoin. That all changed this week, with ETH Soaring past $1,000 per token. It’s now trading hands at $1,232, just 14% below its all-time high. The two leading tokens now account for more than 80% of a $1 trillion-dollar industry. 

After price, Ethereum is gaining steam among artists and musicians. Last month, Beeple raised $3.5 million tokenizing his cult-like artwork, and today legendary house musician Carl Cox announced he would release exclusive new music as a non-fungible token (NFT). 

As for the coming days, Batchelor had this to say:

“I fully expect Ethereum to keep the pace of gains up and test towards $1,400 over the coming days. From $1,400 we either see a big pullback of a full-blown parabolic run towards $2,000.”

Crypto To-Do List

Crypto Briefing journalist Chris Williams released a piece this week about ten potential DeFi protocols that may launch airdrops for early adopters.

For readers interested in giving a few of these protocols a try, Williams advises caution. He said:

“All of these protocols are rumored for a token drop, but it’s hard to tell who will come through first, if at all. With Ethereum gas fees creeping back up again, you’ll want to use the network when it’s less congested if you’re planning on hedging your bets across all of them. Bear in mind: you’re potentially looking at $200+ on gas if you go for all 10.”

This has already happened twice with Uniswap and 1inch Exchange distributing UNI and 1INCH tokens to anyone who had used each service. Wallets that had interacted with either protocol earned roughly $1,200.

Though none of these protocols are confirmed to be launching airdrops, there’s never a downside to learning. To cut down on gas costs, Williams recommends using protocols that offer a simple swapping feature as “it’ll likely cost you less, plus it’s an opportunity to expand your portfolio to include interesting DeFi assets.”  

After that, joining the communities and keeping a close eye on social media pages are also helpful. As mentioned above, however, none of these airdrops are guarantees. 

Still, experimenting responsibly with new DeFi apps will likely keep enthusiasts ahead of the game.

Crypto Briefing has also launched the Crypto Briefing 10 (CB10) Index as an educational tool for enthusiasts looking to create a diverse crypto portfolio. It will be updated weekly and rebalanced monthly so that interested parties can follow along every step of the way.

If anything, users will walk away with a bit of extra cash and a whole lot more mastery of the subject.

After crypto, knowledge is the industry’s most valuable asset.

Disclosure: At the time of press, the author held BTC, ETH, 1INCH, and WBTC.

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