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Crypto: Bitcoin sets another 17-month high; Solana extends recent rally

Bitcoin rose back to a more than 17-month high amid hopes the Federal Reserve is done with interest-rate hikes and expectations that a fresh source of demand is brewing in the exchange-traded fund industry.
The largest digital token added 4% in the past 24 hours and traded at $35,840 as of 10:53 a.m. in Singapore on Thursday. Some smaller coins climbed, including the Solana network’s SOL token, which is up 142% to $42 since mid-September.
Bitcoin has more than doubled this year in part on bets that the Securities and Exchange Commission may approve applications from the likes of BlackRock Inc to start the first US ETFs investing directly in the token.
“Resistance” firmed near $35,000 “but there’s enough sustained momentum around the ETF news to make some runs toward $37,000,” said Michael Safai, a partner of proprietary trading firm Dexterity Capital LLC.
Meanwhile, Fed Chair Jerome Powell hinted the US central bank may be finished with the most aggressive rate-hiking cycle in four decades. That delivered broad gains in global markets Thursday across stocks, bonds and commodities.
The research team at crypto fund manager Grayscale Investments LLC argued Bitcoin is also getting a boost because some people see it as “digital gold.” The team wrote in a note that “Bitcoin’s core use case is as a non-sovereign money system and digital alternative to physical gold.”
SOL has surged as the Solana project tries to move past its link to discredited former crypto mogul Sam Bankman-Fried. Solana is vying with Ethereum, crypto’s key commercial highway, for a bigger share of digital-asset activity.
One driver for SOL could be Solana’s “robust operational performance” with only one network outage in 2023 versus 14 last year, according to Grayscale.
The overall market value of crypto tokens has rallied to $1.36 trillion, still short of the $3 trillion peak hit in 2021, according to CoinGecko data.
Investor demand and liquidity has also diminished from the levels that prevailed back then, when stimulus injections and ultra-low borrowing costs fueled a bubble in digital-asset prices.
“The relative lack of liquidity is the main barrier to strong inflows for now, as it raises the risk of slippage coming in and the ability to exit if necessary,” Noelle Acheson wrote in the Crypto is Macro Now newsletter.
There are incipient signs of increased interest from institutional investors, which would help to tackle the liquidity challenge, she said.

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