First Mover Asia: Pine Wants to Test the Liquidity of the NFT Market; Cryptos Are Well-Red

Insights: Although interest in the NFT market has dropped in recent months, crypto lending platform Pine sees an opportunity.

Technician's take: BTC is testing an important support zone, although long-term momentum remains weak.

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Red for bitcoin. Red for ether. And even deeper red for major altcoins as investors continued to defy those who say that digital assets do not track stocks.

Bitcoin was recently trading at about $28,900, within its range the past few days following the collapse of the terraUSD (UST) stablecoin and the LUNA token that supports it, but down 5% over the past 24 hours. 

Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, was off more than 8% over the same period after dropping below $2,000. 

Among the rest of the declining and the decrepit, SOL, AVAX, DOT, MATIC, SAND and MANA were all recently down at least 12%.

“The market is continuing its current bearish trajectory," Autonomy CEO James Key wrote to CoinDesk, although he noted that crypto wallet addresses with small amounts of BTC had climbed past 10 million for the first time. 

Still, he noted that "institutions...view crypto as an exotic risky asset, and as we drop into a recession, those assets are the first to be sold by those players - it was always the down side of inviting them into the crypto space.”

Equity markets had a more than forgettable day as all sectors dropped amid escalating investor fears of recession and bad news from the retail sector. 

The tech-focused Nasdaq plummeted 4.7%, while the S&P 500 fell 4%, their worst percentage decreases in two years. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 1,100 points, a 3.6% drop that was its worst closing mark since mid-2021.

The retail sector has played a big role in the most recent U.S. economic recovery, and even last week, the sector seemed buoyant following a strong consumer spending report.

But on Tuesday, retail giant Walmart said that its profit dropped 25% year-on-year. Target followed Wednesday morning with its own disappointing news: sales growing just 3.3% compared to a 22% rise for the same quarter a year ago.

Bitcoin, which has struggled to hold $30,000 following the UST debacle, and the rest of the digital assets industry was swept up in the latest events. 

On Wednesday, London-based miner Argo Blockchain reported first quarter net income of $2.1 million, a 90% falloff from the same period the previous year.

Meanwhile, in a letter posted on the company website, Mike Novogratz, the CEO of crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital (GLXY.TO), said the company had taken profits prior to UST's crash. 

Pantera Capital also sold about 80% of its holdings, according to a New York Times article, citing investor Paul Veradittakit.

While remaining highly bullish on the outlook for crypto, Novogratz said those hoping for a "V" bottom in the market are likely to be disappointed. 

"It will take restructuring, a redemption cycle, consolidation, and renewed confidence in crypto. Crypto moves in cycles, and we just witnessed a big one."

Art that adorns the walls of the global elite isn’t usually just to look at. They use it as a source of liquidity, too.

The team behind the Pine Protocol proposes to do something similar, but for non-fungible tokens (NFT). 

Fresh off closing a $1.5 million funding round led by Sino Global, Amber and Spartan Group, Pine is building a platform that allows NFT holders to access liquidity using their NFT as collateral, and a mortgage-type vehicle it is calling “Pine Now, Pay Later” for those who are looking to purchase an NFT but require financing

“A year ago, I wanted to buy a Meebit but I did not have spare ETH in my wallet. Therefore, I sold my Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) at 7 ETH to execute the trade. I wanted to buy back another BAYC but I never did and I still have my Meebit right now. 

In hindsight I wish I had access to a platform like Pine,” said Alex Ho, Pine’s co-founder, in a release, illustrating a use case for the platform. “I decided to build out Pine so that NFT owners like myself are able to unlock liquidity without having to sell their NFTs.”

The platform has lending pools available with different terms regarding the loan’s interest, the level at which it gets liquidated if the value drops, and the level of collateralization, Ho told CoinDesk in an interview.

One particular factor that differs between the pools is the accepted loan-to-value ratio. Pine uses the floor price (the lowest price offered) of the specific NFT collection from public data published by markets as a reference for valuation. 

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