Market Wrap: Bitcoin Lingers Around $19.4K While ETH/BTC Pairing Hits Bull Mode

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The price of bitcoin is trending up in a low-volume environment. Meanwhile, some rebalancing from bitcoin into ether has been occurring on exchanges since late November.

  • Bitcoin (BTC) trading around $19,363 as of 21:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET). Gaining 1.4% over the previous 24 hours.
  • Bitcoin’s 24-hour range: $18,809-$19,607
  • BTC above its 10-day and 50-day moving averages, a bullish signal for market technicians.

Bitcoin trading on Coinbase since Nov. 30.
Source: TradingView

The bitcoin market is back to trending towards bullish territory after a flat Wednesday made it clear traders were taking a bit of a breather. The price was able to go as high as $19,607 but lost steam at $19,363, as of press time. 

Thursday’s even tighter range than the previous 24 hours is a symptom of lower-than-average volume. According to exchange data from the CoinDesk 20, daily volume was at $990 million as of press time, lower than Wednesday’s $1.3 billion daily volume and the past month’s $1.5 billion average.

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Bitcoin volumes on CoinDesk 20 exchanges the past month.
Source: CoinDesk 20

Optimism abounds that more fundamentally positive news combined with market dynamics will lead the world’s oldest cryptocurrency higher. 

“I was explaining to my non-crypto colleagues today that the supply and demand imbalance is just incredible,” said Chris Thomas, head of digital assets for Swissquote Bank. “We’re seeing some institutional buyers pick up large amounts fairly frequently, so the others will also be seeing that [and asking] where are they getting the coins from?”

The dry powder is out there in the form of miner wallets. Their balances have increased over the course of 2020, with Lubian.com, F2Pool, BinancePool and Poolin collectively holding over 33,000 BTC, according to data aggregator Glassnode.

minerwallets2020

Bitcoin balances in miner wallets for 2020 with price trend superimposed.
Source: Glassnode

“Miners need to cover their operating costs,” Thomas added. “So for me, it’s clear we’re going to continue going higher in a fairly convincing way for quite some time yet.” 

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Bitcoin price performance the past month.
Source: CoinDesk 20

“I am totally convinced we are a couple of weeks into a bull market surge of as big proportions as the last one,” said Henrik Kugelberg, a crypto over-the-counter trader. “Bitcoin will fly past the all-time high very soon and I would be surprised if we don’t see a $30,000 bitcoin before summer.”

That’s a hyperbullish statement from a hardcore bitcoiner, but Kugelberg also cautioned that wild gyrations are likely in the days ahead for the crypto market. “It will be a very bumpy ride with drops of 20% to 30% every now and then,” Kugelberg added. “It’s bitcoin and the [amplifier volume] knob goes to 11. If I had time I’d try to surf the waves as a day trader, but I leave that to others.” 

Bitcoin’s overall volatility has been creeping upward since October and traders will continue to keep an eye on that metric in this overall bull market. 

btcvolatility2020dec3

Bitcoin’s historical volatility in 2020.
Source: Shuai Hao/CoinDesk Research

While attention seems to be on bitcoin in this market atmosphere, it’s not the only story in the crypto markets, noted Denis Vinokourov, head of research at crypto brokerage BeQuant. 

Read More: Ether Eyed as Value Play With Bitcoin Pressing $20K

“The focus may be on bitcoin and its seemingly inevitable run up to $20,000, but ETH looks to be well-positioned for further upside,” Vinokourov told CoinDesk.

ETH/BTC goes bullish

Ether (ETH), the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, was up Wednesday, trading around $611 and climbing 2.3% in 24 hours as of 21:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET).

Read More: Why Ethereum and Bitcoin Are Very Different Investments

The ETH/BTC pair, which is offered on most major cryptocurrency exchanges, has been trending bullish on the daily charts by technical analysis standards. Since late November its price has been above major moving averages. This suggests investors are willing to spend some bitcoin to scoop up ether.

btceth2020chart

Spot daily ETH/BTC trading pair on Coinbase in 2020.
Source: TradingView

Michael Rabkin, head of institutional sales for crypto trading firm DV Chain, says bitcoin is and will remain the crypto bellwether no matter what happens to ether and that this pattern likely reflects bitcoiners will continue to offload profits into ETH during this bull run.

With regards to ETH and BTC, we strongly believe that BTC is the overall market driver,” Rabkin told CoinDesk. “You will have outlier days for sure where BTC is down and ETH is up but mostly BTC drives the price of the overall crypto market, ether included.”

Other markets

Digital assets on the CoinDesk 20 are mixed Thursday, mostly green. Notable winners as of 21:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET):

Read More: Ripple CEO Walks Back Threat to Leave US

  • Oil was up 1.5%. Price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude: $45.63.
  • Gold was in the green 0.62% and at $1,841 as of press time.
  • The 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yield fell Thursday, dipping to 0.911 and in the red 2.8%.
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