Bitcoin is proving once again that its long-touted classification as an uncorrelated asset is more folklore than fact.
The largest cryptocurrency by market value whipsawed holders on Thursday by tracking the swings in the technology-focused Nasdaq 100, which is viewed as a proxy for risk sentiment. After opening the day higher, the Nasdaq 100 lapsed into negative territory and extended losses in the futures market after the close of regular trading when Netflix Inc. released disappointing results.
The 100-day correlation coefficient of the coin and the Nasdaq 100 Index rose above 0.40, among the highest such readings going back to 2011. A coefficient of 1 means the assets are moving in lockstep, while minus-1 would show they’re moving in opposite directions.
“That is a correlation that may be worth highlighting,” said Ben Emons, managing director of macro strategy at Medley Global Advisors. “Sometimes it is just a simple story.”
Bitcoin fell as much as 3.7% on Friday to $39 818, dropping below the key $40 000 level. The risk-off mood also drove the price of Ether, the second-largest token, below $3,000.
The volatility is happening against a backdrop of news out of Russia that the nation’s central bank is proposing a ban on Bitcoin mining and crypto trading activity.
Still, some observers said the crackdown may have little effect on the market and that Bitcoin’s reputation as an uncorrelated asset may be playing out in other ways.
Diana Biggs, chief strategy officer of Canadian-listed digital asset brokerage DeFi Technologies, said to expect more government threats to restrict crypto-related activities.
“As we’ve seen in the past, the effect is negligible and that’s by design. Bitcoin was designed to be an inherently global and censorship-resistant,” Biggs said. “It exists outside of the construct of nation states and personally I think it’s one of the most interesting aspects.”