On Friday, April 7, 2023, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Employment Situation report for March 2023 that showed total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 236,000 compared with the average monthly gain of 334,000 over the prior six months, and the unemployment rate little changed at 3.5%.
The price of the major cryptocurrencies remained largely unchanged in the 24 hours preceding the release of the above report with Bitcoin trading up 0.7% at around US$28,000, Ethereum up 0.9%, and XRP up 0.1%, according to data from CoinGecko.
Focus for crypto now shifts to Ethereum’s Shapella Upgrade, scheduled for April 12, 2023, which will enable staking withdrawals on the Ethereum network. In addition, the Shapella Upgrade is expected to reduce gas fees and improve the network’s scalability and speed.
The Federal Reserve (Fed) is scheduled to release the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes of its March 21-22, 2023 meeting on April 12, 2023. The FOMC minutes offer further insights into the committee’s stance on monetary policy and possible clues to future interest rate decisions.
Other key economic releases in April 2023 include the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis’ Q1 2023 Gross Domestic Product (Advance Estimate) scheduled for April 27, 2023, and the March 2023 Personal Income and Outlays data on April 28, 2023.
Investors, policymakers, the business community, and other stakeholders use these economic releases to make decisions about the U.S. economy. However, other events have influenced the direction of crypto and other financial markets.
In March 2023, the crypto industry was hit with a number of lawsuits. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) charged the Binance crypto exchange Binance for allegedly breaking its trading rules. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Justin Sun (the founder of the Tron blockchain ecosystem) and his Companies with Fraud and Other Securities Law Violations. The SEC also charged Beaxy, a crypto asset trading platform, for operating without registering and complying with its rules.
March 2023 was also a historic month for the U.S. financial markets that saw the failure of Silicon Valley Bank, Silvergate, and Signature Bank. Investors were jittery that other banks would follow suit. The Fed, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Treasury Department cooperated to stabilize the financial markets.
The Shapella upgrade, its successful implementation, and the upcoming economic releases in April 2023 are likely to create more volatility within the crypto markets. However, investors need to be wary of other events that may also impact the crypto markets.