Crunch time for bitcoin

A drop to $30 000 may be on the cards, but this will bring buyers rushing back.
The market is now in almost unprecedented territory where cryptos are displaying less risk than the tech-heavy Nasdaq. Image: Paul Yeung/Bloomberg

Bitcoin’s underwhelming performance so far this year has silenced those predicting a gilded pathway to the moon.

Make no mistake, one can never rubbish those who forecast a price of $100 000+ for 2022, because if there’s one thing we know about bitcoin (BTC) is that it is always capable of surprising – both to the upside and the down.

Jason Appel at Seeking Alpha is one of those forecasting a BTC price north of $100 000, though he believes a more protracted bear market is still a possibility, “but the technical structure indicates price being much closer to a significant bottom than a lasting top”.

“There’s been no compelling evidence in the action since either of the April or November 2021 highs to indicate Bitcoin is in something worse than a bull market consolidation.”

A look at the weekly chart for BTC tends to confirm Appel’s assertion about a consolidation and a possible market bottom forming.

There was a failed breakout above $64 000 in November last year followed by a sharp pullback.

Bitcoin weekly chart (in USD)

Source: TradingView

Christopher Yates, publisher of AcheronInsights.com, notes there have been multiple rejections at the $45 000 resistance level, but also at the $34 000 support level. A break below $34 000 (BTC was trading at $39 000 at the time of writing) signals $30 000 as the next area of support, at which level Yates recommends buying.

The chart below shows BTC v Nasdaq, with the last three months demonstrating a fairly close correlation. The Nasdaq is down 21% since peaking in November last year, while BTC is down 39% over the same period.

What’s interesting is that the Nasdaq is down 6.3% over the last week, while BTC is up 4%.

Revix investment analyst Brett Hope Robertson notes a potential decoupling of cryptos from risk stocks, as we are now in almost unprecedented territory where cryptos are displaying less risk than the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

The S&P 500 is down 11% since the onset of the war in Ukraine in February. BTC is down 7% over the same time period.

Bitcoin v Nasdaq

Source: TradingView

What makes the $30 000 area even more important from a technical perspective is this level is roughly equal to the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement of the entire bull run off the March 2020 lows, says Yates.

“Should we be unable to hold $30k, the 200-week moving average looks to be the next key area given there is no support between $30k and $20k.

“Though painful, such a move would be consistent with previous bear markets and would again represent an excellent long-term buying opportunity.”

This is crunch time for BTC. We are now two years on from the ‘Covid crash’ of March 2020 that saw BTC prices drop 52% in two days, marking the end of the 2019-20 bear cycle.

Capitulation events like this often signify a complete and total flush out of all remaining sellers, turning the tides in the favour of the bulls, according to Glassnode.

Some 82% of supply held by short-term holders is held at a loss, while the supply held by long-term holders is at an all-time high. Despite the weaker short-term demand, “hodling” remains the preferred strategy, “with the proportion of younger coins now at all-time-lows. This is historically associated with late-stage bear markets,” says Glassnode.

For all the bearishness bleeding into the markets, don’t count out the prospects of seeing BTC north of $100 000 in 2022.

“It’s exactly from these types of conditions in sentiment that we’ve seen previous large rallies take hold,” says Yates.

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