Market Wrap: Bitcoin Flat at $37K as Investors Tangle With Bulls and Bears
Bitcoin has stuck to the $37,000 level over the past 24 hours while ether slid.
- Bitcoin (BTC) trading around $37,275 as of 21:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET). Gaining 2.4% over the previous 24 hours.
- Bitcoin’s 24-hour range: $36,010-$37,536 (CoinDesk 20)
- Ether (ETH) trading around $2,397 as of 21:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET). In the red 1.8% over the previous 24 hours.
- Ether’s 24-hour range: $2,377-$2,492 (CoinDesk 20)
Bitcoin sentiment mixed
Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, was up Friday by 2.3% as of press time. The price was above the 10-hour moving average and the 50-hour, a bullish signal for market technicians.
The price of bitcoin climbed from $36,038 at 01:30 UTC (9:30 p.m. ET Thursday) to $37,536 by 11:45 UTC (7:45 a.m. ET) Friday, a 4.1% gain on some rocky trading patterns, based on CoinDesk 20 data. Bitcoin then lost a bit and is at $37,275 as of press time.
A 4% price ride for bitcoin Friday is actually relatively stable for the asset, which can often see double-digit gyrations on weekdays. Constantin Kogan, a crypto investor and founder of investment community BullPerks, believes the recent mix of news developments is leaving traders without a true market direction.
“Speculators are fighting,” Kogan said. “China pulls the market down but the rest of the world is actually bringing more positive sentiment.” Concerns from China, including Asia-centric Binance losing USD access via Silvergate Bank’s network, are getting offset by El Salvador’s adoption of crypto, described by a Bank of International Settlements official as an “interesting experiment.”
Bitcoin’s volume resurgence
Over the past month, there were 18 days where ether’s daily trading volume surpassed bitcoin’s. However, on Wednesday and Thursday this week, BTC returned to the top. On Thursday, bitcoin’s trading volume was at $43 billion total on spot exchanges, 26% higher than ether’s $33 billion.
David Russell, vice president of market intelligence at brokerage TradeStation Group, says it’s hard for the crypto market to ignore bitcoin as the long-term bellwether.
“Investors putting the marginal dollars to work are favoring bitcoin,” Russell said. “Additionally, altcoins like ether typically perform best after bitcoin has rallied. Strength in crypto often focuses on the biggest name.“
Ether slips as derivatives go quiet
Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, was trading around $2,397 as of 21:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET), losing 1.8% over the prior 24 hours. The asset is below the 10-hour moving average and the 50-hour, a bearish indicator for market technicians.
Ether slipped from $2,492 at 23:00 UTC (7:00 p.m. ET) Thursday to $2,377 by 16:40 UTC (12:40 p.m. ET) Friday, a 4.6% up-and-down pattern, based on CoinDesk 20 data. ETH has trended upward a bit, at $2,397 as of press time.
Greg Magadini, chief executive officer of options data analytics firm Genesis Volatility, has noticed a change in the derivatives market that may mean ether and bitcoin will see downside or sideways conditions in the short term.
“In the past 72 hours we’ve seen huge drops in implied volatility for both BTC and ETH,” Magadini noted.
Indeed, Genesis’s “Shadow Term Structure” chart, which shows the path of implied volatility based on future strikes, is dropping the further away the date. Implied volatility is a market’s forecast of a likely movement in a security’s price.
“It means that the options markets are expecting rangebound crypto prices for a while,” Magadini said. “We can expect this lull in activity to hold until we trade out of $30,000-$40,000 for bitcoin, and $2,000-$3,000 for ether.”
DEX volumes dumping
After exceeding $12 billion in trading volume on decentralized exchanges, or DEXs, May 19, the amount of crypto changing hands on these venues fell to below $2 billion by June 6. DEXs utilize the Ethereum network to conduct transactions.
Ether remains well off the record price of $4,382.73 reached May 11, according to CoinDesk 20 data.
“Bitcoin has had some positive catalysts this week, like the El Salvador decision [to make bitcoin legal tender] and Jack Dorsey suggesting Twitter may support the Lightning Network,” said TradeStation’s Russell. “Nothing as dramatic has materialized for ethereum, which was already trading near long-term highs versus bitcoin.”
Exhaustion for ETH and refocus on BTC may be one symptom for declining DEX volumes because that market is focused on ether and altcoins, noted Elie Le Rest, partner at quant firm ExoAlpha.
“It’s a return to the mean of ETH/BTC after a bullish phase,” Le Rest told CoinDesk. “If BTC resumes its bull run by breaking $40,000 it could also continue to power the growth of ETH and fill up volume to reach new highs.”
Digital assets on the CoinDesk 20 are mostly lower Friday. Notable winners as of 21:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET):
- Gold was down 1.1% at $1,876 as of press time.
- The 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yield climbed Friday to 1.450, up 1.1%.