Crypto Market Posts Weekly Gains of $300b as Pepecoin Surges

Bitcoin had a hot week, but did meme coins steal the show?

By: André Beganski

March 4, 2024

This week: Coinbase’s app succumbs to a traffic surge, meme coins take flight as Bitcoin tops $66k, BlackRock’s $IBIT breaks a record, and the EIA backs off a controversial energy survey targeting Bitcoin miners.

Coinbase’s App Crashes

As the price of Bitcoin rocketed past $63,000 on Wednesday, America’s leading cryptocurrency exchange experienced some unexpected, technical difficulties. Displaying a user balance of $0 for some customers, Coinbase quickly moved to address the issue that hit some users’ apps.

A surge in user traffic caused the degraded performance, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said in a post on X. “We had modeled a ~10x surge in traffic and load tested it,” he said of Coinbase’s app. “This exceeded that number.”

While the outage was covered by several mainstream publications, such as CBS News, podcaster Tony Edward of Thinking Crypto said the issue gave him flashbacks to 2017. Meanwhile, Coinbase climbed the iOS App Store’s rankings to become the 150th most downloaded app, according to data from SensorTower shared by Steven Zheng of The Block on X.

Pepe’s Rise

Amid the price of Bitcoin’s rise toward record-setting territory last week, several meme coins made dizzying ascents as well — from OGs like Dogecoin, to the Solana-based dogwifhat, and Pepecoin, an Ethereum-based token.

Combined with a resurgence in the popularity of Coinbase’s app, the rise of meme coins could indicate a return for retail traders — as the institutional interest in meme coins is likely timid. A category of canine-themed cryptos tracked by CoinGecko indicated that the market capitalization of such tokens had risen 169% to $54 billion, as of this writing.

Make no mistake about it, however, Pepecoin is in the driver’s seat today. Leading the entire crypto market with its 400% rise over the past seven days, a $1,000 bet at the beginning of the year would be worth more than $5,000 as of this morning.

$IBIT’s Volume

BlackRock’s Bitcoin ETF had a busy week as well — smashing its trading volume record three days in a row as the price of Bitcoin surged. On Wednesday, BlackRock’s Bitcoin ETF saw upward of $3.3 billion in volume — double the record the ETF set on Tuesday of $1.35 billion.

According to a post from Bloomberg ETF Analyst Eric Balchunas on X, “these numbers are absurd,” and Wall Street’s infatuation with spot Bitcoin ETFs has “officially [become] a craze.”

Looking at digital asset product inflows across the board, the activity translated into a significant amount of inflows, Monday data from CoinShares showed. Representing the second-best week on record, the products raked in $1.8 billion in cash with 97% directed toward Bitcoin.

EIA’s About-face

The Energy Information Administration is scrapping its emergency survey of Bitcoin miners after the Texas Blockchain Council and Riot Platforms pushed back against the measure in court. The about-face comes just one month after the agency initiated a survey requiring miners to divulge energy use data, including the efficiency of firms’ mining fleets.

“Being forced to divulge confidential, sensitive and proprietary information to the EIA” would cause immediate and irreparable harm to miners, the Texas Blockchain Council and Riot Platforms argued in a complaint last week — not long before the Western District of Texas granted a Temporary Restraining Order against the EIA's survey.

The sudden change was applauded by some, including Minnesota U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, who said on X that the EIA's survey is “an abuse of power, and it ends here.”

AGs’ Amicus Brief

Filing a joint amicus brief in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s lawsuit against Kraken, several state attorney generals cautioned the agency’s enforcement action against the exchange goes far beyond the SEC’s delegated powers.

While the filing wasn’t made in support of either party, the lawyers took issue with potential risks in the SEC’s strategy for regulating crypto, arguing that it “puts state consumers at risk by preempting state statutes better tailored to the specific risks of non-securities products.”

Kraken faces a similar lawsuit to that of Coinbase and Binance — where the SEC argues all three platforms failed to register with the regulator. However, Kraken argues its legal battle is unique, in some sense, claiming that the firm is a victim of retaliation for speaking out against the SEC overreach before it was hit with a lawsuit.

Other Headlines Around Crypto

  • Blast launch leaves users confused about withdrawals (Blockworks)

  • US Government Now Owns $12 Billion Worth of Bitcoin—Here's Why (Decrypt)

  • DeFi community gets buzzed at ETHDenver on interoperability and Kennedy (DL News)

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