A rapid rise in the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies saw the market return above $1 trillion.

At the time of writing (7am UK), Bitcoin is trading at $21,150, its highest level since early November and 23% higher than its price a week ago.

And Twitter’s Bitcoin Fear and Greed Index, which produces a score for overall market sentiment by combining data such as volatility, market momentum and volume, social media and Google Trends, moved into the neutral zone – 52 – over the weekend, its highest level since April 2022.

It has since dropped back to 45, just into the ‘fear’ zone, but has been in the 20s for much of recent months.

Nigel Green, CEO and founder of financial advisor deVere Group – which has launched a crypto exchange – says “the signs are the bulls are beginning to take back control”.

Pointing to the latest US inflation data, which revealed that CPI slowed to 6.5% in December from 7.1% the previous month, he said: “As inflation in the world’s largest economy is, it seems, being brought under control thanks to the Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest rate hikes, it makes it more likely that the central bank will begin to take its foot off the brake of the economy by slowing the hikes.

“The Fed will continue hiking rates for a while yet – albeit at a slower pace – as they can’t afford to slide backwards. Officials will continue to sound hawkish too in order to avoid over-excitement in the markets and wider complacency.

“[But] as the central banks begin to stop tightening the screws, and the cyclical upturn gets underway, asset classes [such as crypto] could outperform others. Knowing they are likely to be rewarded for doing so, many crypto investors are positioning themselves now for the pivot.

“Of course, the crypto market will not go in a straight line – no market ever does – but we expect the bears to go into hibernation and bulls are ready to run.”

Sam Bankman-Fried ‘threatened to ruin former FTX US president’

The former president of FTX US has revealed that former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried once threatened to destroy his professional reputation.

Brett Harrison met Bankman-Fried at New York-based trading firm Jane Street and was hired for FTX US “over text” in 2021.

“Six months into my time at the company, pronounced cracks began to form in my own relationship with Sam,” Harrison wrote in a damning 49-part Twitter thread. “Around then I began advocating strongly for establishing separation and independence for the executive, legal, and developer teams of FTX US, and Sam disagreed.

“I saw in that early conflict his total insecurity and intransigence when his decisions were questioned, his spitefulness, and the volatility of his temperament. I realized he wasn’t who I remembered.”

Harrison said he suspected mental health issues may have been a “contributing factor” to the change in Bankman-Fried.

“In early April 2022, my eleventh month, I made one last try. I made a written formal complaint about what I saw to be the largest organizational problems inhibiting FTX’s future success. I wrote that I would resign if the problems weren’t addressed,” Harrison continued.

“In response, I was threatened on Sam’s behalf that I would be fired and that Sam would destroy my professional reputation. I was instructed to formally retract what I’d written and to deliver an apology to Sam that had been drafted for me.”

Harrison resigned from the role on September 27th, five weeks before the spectacular collapse of FTX.

Bankman-Fried was recently granted bail after posting a $250 million bond guarantee, having pleaded not guilty to eight criminal charges including fraud at FTX and its sister trading company Alameda Research.

“I never could have guessed that underlying these kinds of issues — which I’d seen at other more mature firms in my career and believed not to be fatal to business success — was multi-billion-dollar fraud,” insisted Harrison.

“If any one of us had suspected let alone learned the truth, we would have reported them immediately.” 

Harrison’s new venture, as yet unnamed, has won personal financial backing from SkyBridge Capital founder Anthony Scaramucci.

The software company will enable crypto traders to create algorithmic-based strategies to access different markets, both centralised and decentralised.

Cryptocurrency shorts

YouTube influencer Logan Paul has revealed a refund plan for investors in his CryptoZoo NFT project. Those who wish to exit the project – which Paul plans to continue – can burn their base tokens for their mint price in ETH or BNB. Paul said he and manager Jeff Levin would burn their own tokens to eliminate any gains. He has also apologised to Stephen Findeisen – aka Coffeezilla – after dropping his threat of legal action over accusations that the project was a scam. 

Animoca Brands Japan, a blockchain investment subsidiary of Animoca Brands, has invested around $780k in Psychic VR Lab’s recent $7.8 million funding round. STYLY, the company’s mixed-reality creative platform, is used by more than 50,000 artists worldwide while its viewer app has been downloaded more than 5 million times.

Quantum Temple, a Web3 startup creating a blockchain-based platform that will help in the preservation of cultural heritage, has announced a $2m pre-seed round led by Borderless Capital.

Crypto prices

The overall market cap of the 22,200 coins is at $996 billion at the time of writing (7am UK), a 2.4% increase in the last 24 hours.

For round-ups of recent cryptocurrency news developments, click here.

For valuations of the top 100 coins by market cap in US dollars, plus 24-hour price change, see below.