Cryptocurrencies gained ground early Monday, shrugging off the cautious mood in traditional markets.
Bitcoin jumped above $47,000, triggering over $300 million in short liquidations, according to data provided by Swiss-based crypto derivatives tracking platform Laevitas.
According to observers, continued purchases of bitcoin by the Luna Foundation Guard, a nonprofit organization focused on stablecoin UST, helped the cryptocurrency break out of its two-month triangular consolidation.
"Increased holding by long-term investors backs the recent rise in the cryptocurrency's price. As BTC surpasses $47,000 again, the balance held by hodlers - addresses holding >1year, is currently at ATH [all-time high]," blockchain analytics firm IntoTheBlock tweeted. "Hodlers increased their positions by 17% since late November. These addresses remained unfazed and accumulated throughout Q1 of 2022."
Ether (ETH), the native token of Ethereum's blockchain, tapped two-and-a half-month highs near $3,350. "FOMO (fear of missing out) is kicking for ETH pre-merge," Ilan Solot, a partner at the Tagus Capital Multi-Strategy Fund, said in an email.
Google Trends, a widely used tool to gauge general or retail interest in trending topics, recently showed a peak value of 100 for the worldwide search query "Ethereum Merge" for the past 12 months.
Google Trends provides access to a mostly unfiltered sample of actual search requests made to Google and scales the searches on a range of 0 to 100, according to the company. The search value represents the search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the selected region and time.
"There’s been an increasing amount of mainstream coverage about the Ethereum merge, particularly around how it will lead to ETH’s supply decreasing," Lucas Outumuro, head of research at IntoTheBlock, said in a weekly newsletter published Sunday. "Additionally, the reduced environmental impact coming from the transition to proof of stake has also began making news."
Peak popular interest doesn't necessarily imply an increase in actual buying pressure from retail investors as people often search for information but don't act. That said, investors could step in this time, given that ether is fast gaining ground and analysts are making bullish predictions on the second-largest cryptocurrency.
Tokens associated with smart contract blockchains like Polkadot and Solana registered double-digit gains on a 24-hour basis. Web 3 heavyweights FIL, THETA and GRT rose 27%, 15% and 12%, respectively.
The regulatory risk was back on the table with the European Union likely to vote on stricter rules for private wallets as part of anti-money-laundering checks, including scrapping the €1,000 ($1,100) limit for reporting transfers, Solot said.