Payments-Focused Cryptocurrencies Rally Despite Market Sell-off

Only payment-focused cryptocurrencies, XRP, the token heavily linked to Ripple Labs, and, MKR, the governance token of the peer-to-peer lending platform Maker, are rallying in the month of ‘Uptober’, a month that is known to be historically bullish for cryptocurrency assets.

The current declining cryptocurrency market trend looks to be a continuation of the sell-off we saw last month when the PCE report was released.  

According to the released data, the Fed’s preferred inflation indicator, the Personal Consumption Expenditures Index, grew 6.2% during the year to August, versus 6.3% in the 12 months to July.

Economists polled by US media had expected the so-called PCE Index to expand by just 6% during the year to August. On a monthly basis, the PCE Index actually grew more in August than in July, rising 0.3% from a previous decline of 0.1%. Economists had expected a monthly growth of just 0.2% in August.  

XRP traded recently at around 50 cents, representing a 5% gain over the last seven days, and MKR changed hands at $960, up 12% in the last seven days, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

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For Market leaders, bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH), little changed trading near $19,000 and $1,280, respectively, both posting negative performance in both daily and weekly timelines. 

XRP is “not a security” 

XRP has been a “court case play” this month, outperforming the broader market in hopes that the long-drawn-out legal tussle between Ripple Labs, a San Francisco-based company with close ties with the cryptocurrency, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, will be resolved soon. 

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  • On the 29th of September 2022, a U.S. District Court Judge ordered the release of documents about a 2018 speech by the then-Director of the SEC’s division of corporation finance, William Hinman, bringing cheer to the XRP community. 
  • In that speech, Himnan said ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency, was not a security – a comment Ripple Labs seeks to use as a defense against the SEC’s charge that Ripple violated securities law by raising $1.3 billion through XRP sales to investors between 2013 to 2020. Ripple plans to argue that if the regulator didn’t consider ether as a security back then, how can it subject XRP to securities law? The SEC filed the suit against Ripple in December 2020. 
  • On top of this, the SEC and Ripple Labs filed for what is known as a “summary judgment.” A summary judgment is a legal process where a court decides based on the facts that have been provided without ordering a trial, raising expectations of a final ruling before the year-end. Traders are bidding positive to this news because if Ripple comes out as the victor, it will eliminate a significant source of uncertainty in the XRP market. 
  • MKR’s move to a four-week high comes a day after Tyler Winklevoss, co-founder of crypto exchange Gemini and a longtime crypto investor, submitted a proposal on the Maker forum to boost the adoption of the Gemini dollar (GUSD) stablecoin in the latter’s ecosystem. Winklevoss proposed a three-month marketing incentive plan, under which Gemini would pay a fixed annual interest of 1.25% on the total GUSD balance in MakerDAO’s vault. 
  • The Core PCE released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis gauges the average amount of money consumers spend on goods and services each month. It excludes volatile components like food and energy and is considered to provide a better understanding of the underlying demand-pull inflation than other figures, like the consumer price index. 
  • Before the report was released, ING’s global head of markets Chris Turner, wrote in a note to clients, stating, “Remember that, according to the Fed’s quarterly economic projections, the central bank expects this inflation measure to drop to 4.5% by the end of this year. Even that drop to 4.5% will require Fed Funds being taken into the 4.25-4.50% range, according to the Fed.” The Fed’s target range is currently 3%-3.25%. 

As the Federal Reserve strives to contain the worst price pressures for Americans in forty years, U.S. inflation is still “extremely high” and may continue to shock, according to Fed Vice Chair Lael Brainard on Friday. For a while, restrictive monetary policy would be required, she continued, “in order to have faith that inflation is returning to target.” 

  • From a base of just 25 points in February, the Fed has increased interest rates by 300 points this year in an effort to combat inflation.
  • Jerome Powell, the head of the central bank, stated last week that there will likely be another 125 basis points added to interest rates before the year is through before the Fed considers pausing or reducing rate increases in the United States.
  • The readings showed the Fed’s battle against inflation had barely eased despite sharp drops in gasoline prices over the past three months.
  • The Fed has warned of late that it will not let up on rate hikes it had embarked on since March to fight inflation.  

While more interest rate hikes are expected, payment-focused token, are likely to lose their current bullish steam as more and more investors are running to hold cash as another increase in interest rates will spell doom for riskier assets.  


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