5 things to watch in Bitcoin this week

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Bitcoin (BTC) is beginning a new week grinding back to $60,000 as the shock of a weekend price crash settles.

After dropping to as low as $52,000 in a snap sell-off event, Bitcoin has spent the past two days slowly recovering its losses. What’s next?

Cointelegraph presents five factors to consider as a new trading week gets underway and cryptocurrency holders across the board nurse their wounds.

Stocks primed for “up only” short term 

The macro picture is fairly stable in Asia and Europe, with United States markets yet to open.

A mixed picture greeted investors at the open, but volatility has been broadly absent, with only oil showing signs of more pronounced weakness.

As such, little impact on Bitcoin is to be expected from equities moves, these forecast to continue building on record highs in the coming weeks.

Russel Chesler, head of investments and capital markets at the Australian branch of crypto-friendly investment manager VanEck, captured the mood in a note quoted by Bloomberg.

“Our current view is that with short-term interest rates set to remain low for the medium term and our expectation that earnings will continue to increase, it is unlikely that the increase in long-term interest rates will trigger an equity market fall,” he wrote.

Coronavirus concerns still linger despite stocks’ relentless surge higher, with more reported official cases last week than ever before worldwide.

Economic responses continue to vary, with a patchwork of openings and closings characterizing countries’ latest attempts to control the outbreak.

Bitcoin recovers from $52,000 crash

In Bitcoin circles, the main talking point naturally remains the weekend’s events, which saw a sudden cascade of selling send BTC/USD down by $7,000 in a matter of minutes.

Bouncing at just above $52,000, the crash echoed several similar events this year, and Bitcoin managed to regain around 50% of its lost ground within hours.

BTC/USD 1-hour candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: Tradingview

Responses, however, are split between those who consider the volatility “business as usual” and more conservative voices calling time on the latest bull run.

As Cointelegraph reported, suspicions are focusing on a Chinese power blackout hitting hash rate, as well as rumored legal action by U.S. regulators against unnamed financial institutions related to money laundering.

In his own breakdown of what happened, popular statistician Willy Woo highlighted both China and skittish moves by futures investors as contributing to the losses.

“We just saw the single largest 1-day drop in mining hash rate since Nov 2017. The hash rate on the network essentially halved, causing mayhem in BTC price as it crashed,” he told Twitter followers.

In a sign that the future could see fresh sustained upside, Woo reiterated the “reset” in an on-chain metric, the spent transaction output ratio (SOPR), showing that long-term investors will likely soon stop selling altogether.

“The on-chain SOPR metric near a full reset. A classic buy the dip signal,” he added.

“In simple terms, profit taking by longer term investors is completing, very little sell power left unless investors want to sell at a loss from their entry price. Unlikely in a bull market.”

Fundamentals point higher

It’s not just SOPR — a whole range of Bitcoin network indicators and fundamentals are buoying bulls’ cause, even as BTC/USD remains below even February’s high of $58,300.

For Woo and others, particularly important are the transfer of funds to investors who have traditionally hodled, not sold — another classic trait of Bitcoin’s rise in recent months.

Bitcoin liquid supply change chart showing transfers to strong hands. Source: Willy Woo/ Twitter

“Serious strong-handed holders are buying this dip. In the last 24 hours, over 200,000 Bitcoin became illiquid, a 3-year record,” fellow analyst William Clemente added Sunday.

“This illiquid supply increase is not only just dip buyers with no history of selling, but partially accumulation from 5-6 months ago of which those wallets have just crossed the ‘illiquid’ threshold for this metric.”

Lastly, around 13.5% of the total available Bitcoin supply has been active above $53,000, something which Woo says is confirming its status as a trillion-dollar asset. At around $53,800, Bitcoin’s market cap becomes a solid $1 trillion.

“This dip happened while unprecedented numbers of new users are arriving onto the network per day. There’s been a retail influx in the last 2-3 weeks,” Woo additionally noted, with total wallet numbers nearing 10 million.

Difficulty takes care of miner woes

A closer look at hash rate, which at one point dipped by almost half, shows that a recovery in line with price is underway.

According to rough estimates from on-chain monitoring resource Blockchain, Bitcoin network hash rate is already back above 150 exahashes per second (EH/s), having broken through the 200 EH/s barrier for the first time in history last week.

Bitcoin hash rate chart. Source: Blockchain

Miners leaving the network due to power problems leads to Bitcoin’s network difficulty decreasing to incentivize more to come online.

Further confirmation that the weekend’s issue was firmly temporary comes from difficulty forecasts — in two weeks’ time, when it next adjusts, difficulty will only drop by around 4%, a modest move which could yet be cancelled out altogether as miners return.

This balance between hash rate and difficulty is arguably the most important aspect of Bitcoin, one which allows it to govern itself and preserve security and functionality regardless of sudden events impacting network participants.

Chinese central bank praises Bitcoin and stablecoins

In another unanticipated event which is arguably yet to be fully appreciated by the market, China has given an unprecedented stamp of approval to cryptocurrency as an “investment alternative.”

Speaking at a conference organized by CNBC, Li Bo, deputy governor of China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), broke ranks to validate both Bitcoin and stablecoins.

“We regard Bitcoin and stablecoin as crypto assets… These are investment alternatives,” he said.

The comments are surprising as despite being a center for Bitcoin mining activity, China has had a blanket ban in place on trading and transacting in cryptocurrencies since September 2017.

“Every country that bans Bitcoin eventually reverses that ban. You simply cannot be competitive in the 21st century economy without it,” Charles Edwards, founder of investment firm Capriole, responded.

“China is playing 4D chess. The last 3 days have made very clear they still dominate global mining. Slowly, slowly then all at once.”

The market barely reacted to this high-level affirmation of Bitcoin’s long-term potential. At the time of writing, Bitcoin is still hovering at $57,000, as yet failing to see an attack of familiar resistance levels.