Bitcoin fell to around $26,000 in Asia on Friday morning, giving up much of the previous day’s gains. Ahead of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s speech in Jackson Hole on Friday, investors are looking for signs of an end to the cycle of rate hikes impacting the crypto market. Ether dipped near the $1,600 support level, while most other top 10 non-stable cryptocurrencies posted losses. Solana led the losers after his own day of wins on Thursday. The Forkast 500 NFT Index edged higher as the Solana blockchain’s new partnership with e-commerce platform Shopify signals better times for NFTs. US stock futures posted modest gains after Wall Street closed lower on Thursday, with all three major US indices posting losses of over 1%.

As caution prevails, Bitcoin gives up gains

According to data from CoinMarketCap, Bitcoin is down 1.40% in the last 24 hours to $26,081.21 in Hong Kong as of 07:20 and has traded 2.90% lower this week. The world’s leading cryptocurrency hit a low of $25,914.93 early Friday, down 2.9% from Thursday’s intraday high of $26,688.48.

According to Samer Hasn, market analyst at Australia-based global multi-asset broker, the current caution in the crypto market is due to increased regulatory scrutiny in the US

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed lawsuits against a number of digital asset companies, including Ripple Labs, Binance.US, and Coinbase. Luxembourg-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp announced on Thursday that it will be ending ether staking services for US clients starting September 25 in light of recent regulatory developments.

Hasn said that “negative sentiment could continue to put pressure on the cryptocurrency market in the coming weeks or months until a regulatory and legislative environment regulating the cryptocurrency market becomes clear.”

He pointed to it Data by blockchain intelligence firm Santiment, showing Bitcoin whales moving large amounts of the token into their wallets, another sign of a drop in market sentiment.

“The relatively large movements in cryptocurrency wallets, led by Bitcoin, could continue to weaken participants’ confidence and cause caution about what might happen in the market in the future, leading to collapses or large swings,” added Hasn.

Greta Yuan, head of research at Hong Kong-based digital asset exchange VDX, said investors need to realize that “the bear market isn’t over yet.” As the trading volume in the market is still weak, the price of Bitcoin could remain in the $25,000-$27,000 range for some time, she added.

Alongside bitcoin’s losses, ether also fell 1.40% to $1,652.77, down 3.27% over the past seven days.

Most other top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies have been trading lower over the past 24 hours. The exception was Binance’s BNB token, which gained 0.58% to $217.48 but still posted a weekly loss of 1.87%.

Mastercard announced that it will end four crypto card programs in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Bahrain by September 22. The global payments giant partnered with Binance on the four programs. No reason was given for the cancellations, as Reuters first reported on Thursday.

Solana’s SOL token led the losers, falling 3.09% to $20.90 for a weekly loss of 4.98%.

SOL hit a four-day high of $21.99 on Thursday announced that Solana Pay – a free payment protocol built on the Solana blockchain – has partnered with Canada-based e-commerce platform Shopify to enable USDC stablecoin payments for online purchases with no intermediary fees.

Total crypto market cap fell 1.23% to $1.05 trillion. Trading volume fell 22.52% to $27.41 billion.

Signs of life for NFTs?

The indices are proxy measures of performance of the global NFT market. They are managed by CryptoSlam, a sister company of Forkast.News under the Forkast.Labs umbrella.

The main Forkast 500 NFT index is up 0.20% over the past 24 hours to 2,274.13 (as of 10am Hong Kong time) but is still down 7.36% for the week. Forkast’s NFT indices Ethereum and Cardano fell, while the Solana and Polygon indices rose.

“Global sales have exceeded $15 million in the last 24 hours and the Forkast 500 has turned green over that period. However, I wouldn’t expect it to stay that way,” said Yehudah Petscher, NFT strategist at Forkast Labs, in a note.

Total NFT trading volume increased by 24.48% to $15.20 million in the last 24 hours. According to data from CryptoSlam, volumes on the blockchains Ethereum, Solana, Polygon and Cardano increased while volumes on the Bitcoin network decreased.

Solana led the increase in NFT trading volume, up over 125% to $2.24 million in the past 24 hours and taking second place in CryptoSlam’s volume ranking.

“A majority of these sales are due to a new Profile Picture Collection (PFP) created by Blocksmith Labs called Meegos. “In just a few hours, the collection has sold 10 times the sales of the second-place Solana collection and today totals over $1 million in sales,” said Petscher.

Meanwhile, Solana recently announced partnership The company has given the NFT market a much-needed boost with its e-commerce platform Shopify.

“Most NFTs have to be paid for in crypto, and we need crypto adoption,” Petscher said in a video posted to YouTube on Thursday.

“This is just an inevitable move to get people hooked on Web3, like we’re seeing with PayPal and the launch of a stablecoin so that mass adoption happens,” he added.

Ethereum-based Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) continued to lead the 24-hour NFT collection sales volume. It is up 6.64% over the past 24 hours to $1.28 million. Solana-based Meegos and Mythos Chain-based DMarket took second and third place in the rankings.

Meanwhile, art NFTs — particularly generative art — remain a big seller despite the bear market.

Momentum, a generative art collection by Dutch artist Rik Oostenbroek, was released Thursday as part of Velocity, an NFT series created by crypto exchange Bybit and Formula 1 racing team Oracle Red Bull Racing. It was sold out within a day.

Elsewhere, Eric Calderon, founder of generative art platform Art Blocks, released his NFT collection “heart + craft” on the Arbitrum blockchain on Friday. Each of the NFTs in the collection contains a generative artwork and a 3D printable model that can be used to create physical replicas of the artwork.

(Updates with NFT range.)

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