Hello and welcome to today's edition of Overbit News, where we at Overbit.com try to bring you some of the top news stories in digital and traditional markets over the past few days. Starting off this week's edition of Overbit News is a story of governments and cryptocurrency, taking place in Ukraine.
According to reports from Coindesk, the Ukrainian government has picked Stellar Lumen (XLM) and its blockchain network to build a central bank digital currency. The news was announced Monday, 4 January, with the Ministry of Digital Transformation and the Stellar Development Foundation signing a document with an understanding to create a "virtual assets ecosystem and national digital currency of Ukraine.".
Stellar Lumen was launched in 2014 by one of the Ripple co-founders, Jed McCaleb, and had a very similar goal to Ripple: create a blockchain payments system that can be used by the traditional banking system. This isn't the first big institution to back XLM, either; last month the German bank Bankhaus von der Heydt (BVDH) designated Stellar Lumens as the way to deliver a euro stablecoin. Another German name, the financial regulator BaFIN, has also approved bonds' issuance on the XLM network. At the time being, it seems that XLM is in a much better position versus XRP in regards to building an open payments system.
Moving on from Ukraine, we pivot towards the markets, namely the cryptocurrency sector. We've focused a lot on Bitcoin these past few weeks, and rightfully so, but it seems like Ethereum is fighting for its name in the headlines in 2021.
On Sunday, 3 January, Ethereum (ETHUSD) hit $1,000 for the first time since 2018, just a few hours after it crossed the $800 mark. At the time of writing, ETHUSD sits just above $1,000, which puts it right around 25% below its USD all-time high of $1,400. This move by Ethereum coincides with growing institutional interest in the asset, as well as the impending launch of ETH futures this February.
While we are just a few days into the new year, ETH has already risen almost 58%. That is some eye-popping performance for an asset that went up nearly 10x in 2020. Though ETHUSD is nearing in on its all-time high, ETHBTC paints a very different picture, as it sits over 400% away from its all-time high. Though there's been a tremendous rally the last 12 months in the cryptocurrency market, the ETHBTC indicates there could be a lot more room to run going forward.
Closing out today's edition of Overbit News, we take a focused look at the GBPUSD forex pair. After rallying into New Year's Eve, the Pound took a big step back on the first day of the markets on Monday, 4 January, falling just over 1% from 1.37039 to 1.35415. Sterling's price has stabilized since then, sitting at 1.35747 at the time of writing. The lack of a more thorough dip may be surprising given Monday's government leaks that the UK will enter a much stricter lockdown through March.
This relative resilience is encouraging for bulls, but the situation is too early to tell. Judging GBP by its peers, though, it's evident that GBP was the most underperforming G10 currency on the day. Going forward the UK seems to be on shaky ground, as nearly 60,000 new cases were recorded on Monday - a new pandemic record.
According to reports, this new lockdown, announced by PM Johnson in a televised address, will close schools, ban outdoor team sports, and much more, through at least mid-February. This latest lockdown in the UK will undoubtedly play a role in the world's economic stage.
With the latest news on Ukraine, Britain and the Ethereum rally, it appears that common themes from 2020 are carrying over into the new year. It's essential to take a step back and analyse the macro trends that are emerging in the markets, from factors like Central Bank Digital Currencies to ongoing Covid recovery, and rest assured Overbit.com is here to keep you informed.