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29 May 2020
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Bitcoin, Equities Markets Rally on Signs of Hope

The new – and now often-cited – connection between bitcoin (BTC) and global equities doesn’t just mean they fall together.

Sometimes, it means they rally on potentially good news. And that seems to be the case on Monday, as positive data on the war on the coronavirus offer hope to the markets that better days may come soon.

The price of bitcoin is at $7,145 as of 13:45 UTC (8:45 a.m. Eastern time), a 5 percent gain from the previous 24 hours. The move began during Asian equity market trading hours as Japan’s Nikkei index moved up 4.2 percent. Futures contracts on the Dow Jones Industrial Average also had some sunshine around then, indicating a more than 700-point gain when New York traders heard their opening bell.

Part of that optimism in stock markets and in cryptocurrencies stems from a few glimmers of hope on the coronavirus front.

“Looks like we’re piggybacking on equities with some data possibly indicating virus peaking coming out of a few of the European countries,” said Dave Vizsolyi, head of trading at Chicago-based proprietary crypto trading firm DV Chain.

To be sure, cryptocurrency markets often gyrate with little rhyme or reason, and an original selling point of bitcoin was as a non-correlated asset, indifferent to movements in traditional markets. However, during the recent crisis, the bellwether digital asset has tended to track the incumbents.

Signs of progress

Daily new cases are slowing in places like Italy, where they have stayed in the 4,000 range since March 30; at its peak on March 21, over 6,500 new cases were reported. New York, the hardest-hit state in the U.S., saw a slight drop in coronavirus-related deaths; 4,159 lives were lost in the Empire State so far, but Sunday saw the first daily drop in fatalities since the crisis began.

That’s not to say the week promises to be easy on the United States, where there are more than 300,000 cases, a quarter of the world’s total.

“This is going to be the hardest and saddest week of most Americans’ lives,” U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams said on Fox News over the weekend. “This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it’s not going to be localized. It’s going to be happening all over the country.”

However, his commander-in-chief, President Donald Trump, took a more glass-half-full approach, proclaiming in all-caps “LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL” on his preferred method of communication, Twitter.

Grim picture

Nonetheless, some in the crypto markets aren’t sold on the idea that the worst is behind us.

Paxos exchange CEO Chad Cascarilla warned of a grim picture on Patrick O’Shaughnessy’s podcast, “Invest Like the Best,” if fiscal and monetary stimulus prove too little, too late.

Cascarilla sees about a 25 percent chance the U.S. would need a bank holiday similar to what happened in the Great Depression and even some nationalization in its financial sector.

“It looks likely that we’re in a depression for at least a quarter or two,” Cascarilla said. “If you’re in that for more than two quarters, I think you need to have bank failures. The market would have a really hard time digesting that. If we need to fill a $6 trillion hole, I’m not sure we can do that in time before the feedback loops kick in. And then you can end up with a bank holiday and nationalization.”

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