Buying Guides

Major Events And Trends To Watch

This week in the Bitcoin and crypto markets is marked by several pivotal events that could significantly influence investor sentiment and market dynamics. Among them, central bank interest rate decisions, the Nvidia GTC conference, and the launch of Etherfi are particularly noteworthy. Below is an in-depth preview of these events and their potential impact on the crypto landscape.

#1 FOMC Meeting Looming: How Will Bitcoin And Crypto React?

Central banks representing nearly half of the global economy are slated to announce key interest rate decisions this week, affecting six of the ten most traded currencies. This series of decisions, the largest so far for 2024, includes announcements from the United States, Switzerland, Australia, the United Kingdom, Japan, among others.

Central bank decisions this week
Central bank decisions this week | Source: X @FurkanCCTV

These moves could indicate how central bankers perceive the current risk of inflation, with significant implications for the US dollar index (DXY) and, inversely, for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The highlight of the week is the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision on Wednesday, March 20. Interest rates are expected to remain at their current level, with a 98% probability, as per the CME Fed Watch tool.

Goldman Sachs noted in a research memo, “Inflation has been firmer in recent months […] We now expect 3 cuts in 2024, mainly because of the slightly higher inflation path […] We suspect that the Fed leadership is also still targeting a first cut in June.” This narrative underscores a cautious approach to rate adjustments, reflecting a nuanced understanding of current economic indicators and their potential impact.

This upcoming FOMC meeting is particularly significant for the crypto market. Recently, the correlation between the Bitcoin and crypto market with the broader macroeconomic factors has strengthened, highlighted by Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies’ price movements in reaction to hotter-than-expected US CPI and PPI data. The anticipation of the “higher for longer” interest rates by the US Fed has led to market volatility, underscoring the importance of this week’s FOMC meeting for digital assets.

#2 Nvidia GTC: NEAR, Render (RNDR) And AI Coins On The Rise

The Nvidia GTC conference, a pivotal event for AI and GPU computing enthusiasts, is poised to elevate the profiles of several AI-focused cryptocurrencies. Notably, RNDR, NEAR, TAO, and FET have seen significant price movements in anticipation of the conference.

NEAR In Focus: NEAR Protocol, a high-performance blockchain designed to provide the infrastructure for decentralized applications, has seen its native token NEAR surge by 125% in the last two weeks.

This uptick is largely attributed to the growing excitement over Nvidia’s annual conference, where Illia Polosukhin, co-founder and CEO of NEAR Protocol, is scheduled to appear on a panel titled “Transforming AI,” hosted by Nvidia’s founder and CEO, Jensen Huang.

Polosukhin’s participation is highly anticipated, as it could signal NEAR’s deeper foray into AI applications and potential collaborations with Nvidia. This has sparked significant interest in the NEAR token as investors and enthusiasts speculate on the future integrations and innovations that may arise from this intersection of blockchain and AI.

The upcoming release of Near Tasks, an AI facet of NEAR’s ecosystem, further fueled speculation about the protocol’s commitment to leveraging AI within its infrastructure. This move could potentially position NEAR as a key player in the emerging field of decentralized AI, offering scalable and efficient solutions for AI applications.

Render Network Spotlight: Jules Urbach, founder of Render Network, is set to deliver a highly anticipated talk at the Nvidia GTC conference. His presentation, titled “The Future of Rendering: Real-Time Ray Tracing, AI, Holographic Displays, and the Blockchain,” promises to offer insights into the future of digital content creation and the role of decentralized networks in supporting these advancements.

Urbach’s history of impactful presentations at GTC, including his collaboration with Nvidia’s Jensen Huang in 2013, suggests that this year’s talk could have significant implications for the Render Network and the broader ecosystem of GPU computing and AI.

“I think it will be one of my most relevant GTC talks, and a reflection of the next paradigm shift we are entering for distributed GPU systems, on par with the first one back in 2013 — when I took the stage with Jensen to announce Render’s centralized precursor (ORC) and then launched with AWS,” Urbach stated looking ahead

#3 Etherfi Launch

Etherfi, a leading liquid restaking protocol, is set to launch its ETHFI token today, March 18, marking a significant development in the DeFi space. The launch on Binance’s Launchpool will enable users to stake BNB or FDUSD tokens to farm ETHFI tokens, offering early access to rewards and project engagement.

Following a successful $23 million Series A funding round, EtherFi’s total value locked (TVL) has surged to $2.9 billion, according to DefiLlama data. The protocol’s innovative approach to liquid restaking, allowing users to access Ethereum staking rewards and additional yields without locking up assets, underscores its potential to reshape the Ethereum and broader crypto ecosystem.

Users can stake their Ethereum directly through Etherfi and receive ETHFI tokens in return. These crypto tokens represent the staked Ethereum and accrue staking rewards over time. However, unlike traditional staking, ETHFI tokens can be used within the DeFi ecosystem, offering users the flexibility to participate in other yield-generating activities without sacrificing their staking rewards.

Etherfi leverages EigenLayer, a layer that builds on top of Ethereum, to enable additional yields on top of Ethereum staking rewards. This integration not only enhances the reward structure for stakers but also contributes to the security and scalability of the Ethereum network by leveraging EigenLayer’s functionalities.

At press time, BTC traded at $68,096.

Bitcoin price
BTC price, 4-hour chart | Source: BTCUSD on TradingView.com

Featured image from iStock, chart from TradingView.com

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