Glad you’ve stopped by for our digest. Here are a couple of top-notch news pieces you might have missed this week.

First up, Japan’s gaming industry is leveling up with the help of Oasys and SBINFT Market. Meanwhile, over in Australia, retirees are trading in their board for Bitcoin, and Coinbase is there to help them. And let’s not forget about the correlation between Bitcoin and the U.S. Consumer Price Index. How are they connected, you ask? Finally, a major hedge fund’s $2 billion bet on Bitcoin shows that institutional players are all in. 

Read about everything below!

Crypto-Gaming Market in Japan Expands Through SBINFT Partnership

If you thought the NFT market was just chilling out, think again! We are pleased to announce that Oasys, the gaming-focused blockchain network, is teaming up with SBINFT Market to expand the crypto gaming space in Japan.

Oasys, catching the eyes of traditional video game titans such as Ubisoft, Bandai Namco, and Sega, is making a concerted effort to develop the growing blockchain gaming market in Japan. SBINFT Market is an NFT trading platform operated by a subsidiary of SBI Group, a Japanese financial giant based in Tokyo.

SBINFT Market Integration

The SBINFT marketplace now welcomes assets from Oasys Hub-Layer blockchain (level 1) and MCH Verse (level 2), alongside the initial handshake with Oasys’ HOME Verse. This means devs using Oasys can sell their NFT goodies through the market, pending platform approval.

“Our partnership with SBINFT Market for Oasys Hub-Layer and MCH Verse significantly broadens our ecosystem, giving users and developers more ways to cash in and connect within the blockchain gaming realm,” said Oasys director Daiki Moriyama in the release. “We’re thrilled to expand our presence in Japan, bringing our unique gaming-focused blockchain solutions to one of the world’s most innovative markets.

Only NFTs from authorized creators and suppliers affiliated with Oasys get the green light for listing on SBINFT Market. This venture offers unparalleled gaming blockchain solutions to a forward-thinking market.

Coinbase Sets Sights on Growing Demand in Australia’s Pension Sector

Australian (not just kangaroos, surprisingly) retirees are putting their pension savings into cryptocurrency. Talk about very advanced pensioners! Taking advantage of this opportunity, Coinbase Global Inc., the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the U.S., is eyeing potential demand in Australia’s growing pension sector.

Source: GIFDB

The exchange is developing a service tailored to this segment. These portfolios make up about a quarter of Australia’s $2.5 trillion pension system, with $1 billion ($664 million) allocated to cryptocurrency, according to recent data from the Australian Taxation Office.

Australian institutional asset managers mostly steer clear of the digital asset sector, given its scandalous history and occasional volatility. But crypto assets held in self-managed pension funds could break records after a influx of funds and a 55% jump in Bitcoin prices this year.

“Self-managed super funds can simply allocate one appropriation, set it, and forget it,” said John O’Loghlen, managing director of the Asia-Pacific region, in an interview. “We’re working on offering truly quality service to these clients on an ad-hoc basis — to trade with us and stay with us.”

ETF Outlook in Australia

Australia is set to unleash more crypto ETFs by the end of 2024, with players like Van Eck Associates Corp. and BetaShares Holdings Pty lining up their offerings.

We see this not as cannibalization of ETF players, but rather as a growing wave and significant enough interest for someone to enter through their own self-managed portal.

O’Loghlen, who has worked at Ant Group and Goldman Sachs Group Inc

There are still hurdles to overcome, including entrenched concerns about the perils inherent in the speculative world of cryptocurrencies.

With the launch of Australian Bitcoin ETFs planned for later this year, we expect this space to continue its growth.

Jonathon Miller, managing director at Kraken

ASX Ltd., which oversees roughly four-fifths of Australian stock trading, is expected to approve the first spot Bitcoin ETFs for the main board in the coming months.

Bitcoin and U.S. Consumer Price Index Correlation

Under the recent notion that interest rates are likely to stay high for a considerable time, Bitcoin surged over 1%, hitting $63,700 on this news. The price of Bitcoin has come under pressure due to the idea of prolonged high interest rates.

Core CPI Analysis

On an annual basis, the Consumer Price Index rose by 3.4%, slightly below estimates of 3.4% and 3.5% in March. The core Consumer Price Index (excluding food and energy costs) rose by 0.3% in April, in line with estimates of 0.3% and 0.4% in March. On an annual basis, the core Consumer Price Index came in at 3.6%, matching forecasts of 3.6% and March’s 3.8%.

Despite this, the monthly inflation rate in the U.S. dipped in April, according to the government’s Consumer Price Index (CPI), which increased by 0.3% compared to March’s 0.4% and economists’ projections of 0.4%.

Based on the CPI report on Wednesday, the chances of a summer rate cut by the Fed were slim, with traders pricing in just a 50% probability of a change in September, according to CME FedWatch Tool.

Source: CME Group

Amidst the anticipation of a substantial easing of monetary policy throughout the year due to a steady decline in inflation in 2023, most countries, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, entering 2024, were in for a surprise as inflation has risen slightly this year. Along with the economy continuing to grow, this has put an end to the thought of any imminent central bank rate cuts.

Major Hedge Fund Reveals $2 Billion Bitcoin Investment

The recent wave of mandatory 13F filings shed light on who’s buying up spot Bitcoin ETFs. According to a report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, as of March 31st, Millennium Management had a grand total of $1.94 billion invested in five spot Bitcoin ETFs.

Source: Market Watch

Millennium Management is an investment firm offering multi-strategy hedge funds. In 2023, it was one of the world’s largest alternative asset management companies, with assets under management totaling over $61.1 billion as of January 2024.

The hedge fund diversified its investments across spot Bitcoin ETFs through ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF, Bitwise Bitcoin ETF, Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, iShares Bitcoin Trust, and Fidelity Wise Origin Bitcoin ETF.

Related: Millennium Management Reveals $2B Investment in Bitcoin ETFs

What Does This Mean for Bitcoin?

According to Matt Hougan, the Chief Investment Officer of Bitwise, this news has him feeling more bullish about Bitcoin’s future.

In a note to investors on May 13th, Hougan wrote that quarterly 13F reports revealed crucial details about who’s buying funds.

“The headline here is that many professional investors own Bitcoin ETFs,” Hougan wrote, singling out firms like Hightower Advisors, Bracebridge Capital, and Cambridge Investment Research as holders of Bitcoin products. The hefty scale of institutional interest in these products bodes well for Bitcoin’s onward journey.

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And this is it, folks! Whether you’re a retiree in Australia or a hedge fund manager on Wall Street, crypto is here to stay. So keep your eyes on Hodl fm and get ready for the next big thing in crypto!

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