On Jan. 21 the cryptocurrency market experienced an increased wave of selling pressure and within the last hour Bitcoin (BTC) price dropped below the $30,000 mark for the first time since Jan. 4.
Now that Bitcoin has lost the $32,000 and $30,000 support, a growing number of analysts are suggesting that the price could retest the $24,000 support. One theory behind the dip suggests that institutional investors viewed Bitcoin as a crowded trade and decided to take profits.
As reported by Cointelegraph, Scott Minerd, the Guggenheim’s chief investment officer, recently suggested that the price of Bitcoin has “likely put in a top” for 2021 and could see a “retracement back toward the 20,000 level.”
JPMorgan strategists John Normand and Federico Manicardi also warned that investors using BTC “as a portfolio diversifier are putting themselves at risk” as Bitcoin is more of a cyclical asset than a hedge.
This note of caution seems to have been well timed given today’s show of volatility. Although sell-offs can be painful for investors who are overleverged, taking a closer look at some of the social activity that occurred during the downside move hints that the current volatility might not be a macro trend change.
In private comments with Cointelegraph, TheTIE analyst Erik Saberski noted that during previous dips in Bitcoin price “its market cap dominance did not really change.”
“This implies that earlier in the month, sell-offs were cashing out entirely, while recent BTC sell-offs are moving more into other cryptos. Looking at daily sentiment, the same recent drops *usually* have corresponding drops in sentiment. We aren’t seeing that right now though.”
Stimulus hopes keep stocks near all-time highs
The traditional markets continue to be boosted by the prospect of a wide-ranging stimulus package from the Biden administration.
The S&P 500 and NASDAQ both etched new all-time highs on Jan. 21 and closed up by 0.03% and 0.82% respectively. The Dow also closed the day with a 0.04% gain.
Out of the top-100 coins, the only project with notable gains was CELO, which gained $48.87% and trades at $3.37. Ether (ETH) corrected by 21.28% and Polkadot lost 8%.
The overall cryptocurrency market cap now stands at $871 billion and Bitcoin’s dominance rate is 64.3%.
Digital asset custodian Komainu is working with authorities in the United Kingdom to store crypto confiscated as part of criminal investigations.
Komainu is a custody venture from Japan-based global investment bank Nomura, digital asset manager CoinShares, and hardware wallet manufacturer Ledger. The firm announced it has made an agreement to “securely store digital assets seized during the investigatory process” for police forces in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland following a commercial tender with the Derbyshire Constabulary in the East Midlands region.
The announcement stated that it has the support of Coinshares as well as Gentium, a consultancy service for law enforcement in the U.K. specializing in financial crime and cyber crime.
“Specialist Cyber Crime Units at local, regional and national level are seizing cryptocurrencies as part of their investigations on a regular basis and desperately needed access to a secure storage solution from a regulated provider,” explained Assistant Commissioner of the City of London Police Angela McLaren.
“[Komainu] will provide teams with the proper technology and security they need to store cryptocurrencies and other digital assets as part of their investigations.“
McLaren added that the agreement between the digital asset custody venture and law enforcement marked progress in “denying criminality the proceeds of crime” and would reduce the financial burden on authorities to find a solution for storing the funds.
There has been an increase worldwide in authorities seizing digital assets connected to illicit activities. In December, Chinese police seized crypto assets worth $4.2 billion from seven people convicted in the PlusToken Ponzi scheme case. In the United States, the Justice Department seized 69,370 Bitcoin from an unnamed individual allegedly connected to the hack of darknet marketplace Silk Road and is reportedly planning to auction the coins.
Capital has flooded into crypto investment products in recent weeks, with the value of assets invested into crypto exchange-traded products, or ETPs, increasing by more than 90% in the last 30 days.
The spike in the assets under management, or AUM, locked in crypto ETPs was noted in the latest report by Crypto Compare, which estimates that almost $36 billion is now invested in crypto ETPs — a 93.7% increase in one month.
Grayscale’s various trusts represent more than 83% of the sector’s total AUM, with the firm’s Bitcoin Trust housing $22.6 billion or 63% of all capital invested in crypto ETPs.
Crypto Compare estimates that ETP volumes tripled during January,with aggregate daily volume pushing above $1.5 billion. Grayscale’s products were found to represent 64% of the sector’s volume, driving $972 million in daily trade.
Despite Grayscale’s dominant share of trade volume, its products were found to have underperformed the spot markets as the historic premium on Grayscale’s shares fell by 8% during January.
The AUM of Grayscale’s Litecoin Trust grew 111% to tag $3.84 billion last month, sitting roughly 10% greater than the $3.47B managed by its Ethereum Trust.
Less well known funds also saw significant growth, including 3iQ’s Bitcoin Fund which saw a 43% jump in AUM to $3.47B.
Trade volume for crypto Exchange-traded notes, or ETNs, nearly tripled over the month. ETC Group’s BTCE product dominated ETN volumes with nearly $50 million in daily trade — representing more than two-thirds of total ETN volume.
WisdomTree’s BTCW/USD was the second-most traded ETN with $7 million in daily volume after its trade activity increased more than 210%, followed by VanEck’s Bitcoin Vectors with $5 million — owing to a nearly 500% jump in volume .
Trading in exchange-traded certificates, or ETCs, more than doubled, with XBT Provider’s Bitcoin Tracker Euro and Bitcoin Tracker One products representing more than half of combined ETC volume — driving $45.6 million and $34.9 million in respective daily trade.
XBT provider’s Ether-derived products are the next-most popular ETCs, with Ether Tracker One and Ether Tracker Euro pushing $18.2 million and $17.8 million respectively.
U.S. President Joe Biden’s pick for Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen may see more benefits to cryptocurrency than her previous testimony indicated.
After a virtual hearing of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee held on Tuesday, Yellen hit the headlines for her answer to Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan’s question about how she would respond to “emerging financial technology” being used to fund criminal organizations and terrorists. Yellen referred to cryptocurrencies as a “growing concern” in the U.S., said they were used “mainly for illicit financing” for the aforementioned groups, and that the U.S. government needed to examine ways to “curtail” the use of crypto as part of their anti-money laundering efforts.
However, her written statement published on the Senate Finance Committee website today suggests that Yellen’s views on crypto may not be as bearish as those remarks suggested. Though Yellen’s written statement reiterates the need to curtail the use of the crypto for “malign and illegal activities,” she also said that she planned to encourage the use of digital assets for “legitimate activities.”
“I think it important we consider the benefits of cryptocurrencies and other digital assets, and the potential they have to improve the efficiency of the financial system.”
The future Treasury Secretary also said she wanted the United States to be a “leader in the digital asset and financial technology areas.” She added that she would help develop a regulatory framework for cryptocurrency “and other fintech innovations” by working with the Federal Reserve Board.
Yellen served as the chair of the Federal Reserve under U.S. President Barack Obama, and has been quiet on her views surrounding the crypto space since calling Bitcoin “anything but useful” in October 2018. She left her position as Fed chair in early 2018 following the 2017 bull run which drove Bitcoin (BTC) to a then all-time high.
The Senate Finance Committee is expected to vote on Yellen’s nomination tomorrow, after which it will go to the Senate chamber where Democrats hold a majority. If approved, Yellen would be the first woman to serve as Treasury Secretary.
In the last 24-hours Bitcoin (BTC) price dropped 14% and tested the $32,000 support for the fifth time this year. Traders probably became even more worried as the price fell to $31,050 but at the time of writing the 4-hour chart suggests that the selling could be slowing down.
Currently the shorter-term charts indicate that Bitcoin is still flirting with bearish territory but a number of derivatives indicators and the top traders flow reflect neutral to bullish levels.
The last three times Bitcoin price fell below $32,000, an extensive rally of up to 30% followed. Data shows that the top traders at OKEx have been heavily buying the dip and the futures premium has held in an optimistic range.
Even though traders are buying this current dip, the sharp $4,200 drop did inflict serious damage on some investors. The move down to $31,270 was followed by $460 million in liquidations at derivatives exchanges. Interestingly, this occurred just as the open interest on BTC futures reached a $13.1 billion all-time high.
Today’s price action might seem worrisome, but it pales in comparison to the Jan.10 24% crash that wiped out $1.5 billion in long contracts.
Veteran traders are more accustomed to Bitcoin’s 120% annualized volatility so a 12% price swing isn’t particularly frightening. In fact, top traders and arbitrage deks remained relatively calm during the dip.
To understand whether or not Bitcoin is flashing bearish signals, traders can analyze top traders’ long-to-short ratio at crypto exchages, the futures premium, and the options skew.
OKEx longs are 2.5 times larger than shorts
Exchange-provided data highlights traders’ long-to-short net positioning. By analyzing every client’s position on the spot, perpetual and futures contracts, one can obtain a clearer view of whether professional traders are leaning bullish or bearish.
With this said, there are occasional discrepancies in the methodologies between different exchanges, so viewers should monitor changes instead of absolute figures.
OKEx top traders have been adding long positions since Jan. 19, driving the indicator from 0.96 (slightly net short) to a 2.49 ratio which favors longs. This is the highest level in 30 days and indicates an unusually extreme imbalance.
On the other hand, top traders at Huobi averaged a 0.91 long-to-short ratio over the last 30 days, favoring net shorts by 9%. On Jan. 20, they added net short positions down to a 0.86 ratio but repurchased them as BTC plunged during the early hours of Jan. 21. Thus, they are back to their monthly average of 0.91 long-to-short.
Lastly, Binance top traders averaged a 21% position that favored longs over the past 30 days. These traders seem to be getting liquidated as their net longs were cut to 1.02 from 1.18 since late Jan. 20. According to data from Coinalyze, 40% of total BTC long liquidations over the past 24 hours took place at Binance.
The futures premium spiked
Professional traders tend to dominate longer-term futures contracts with set expiry dates. By measuring the expense gap between futures and the regular spot market, a trader can gauge the level of bullishness in the market.
The 3-month futures should usually trade with a 6% to 20% annualized premium (basis) versus regular spot exchanges. Whenever this indicator fades or turns negative, this is an alarming red flag. This situation is known as backwardation and indicates that the market is turning bearish.
On the other hand, a sustainable basis above 20% signals excessive leverage from buyers, creating the potential for massive liquidations and eventual market crashes.
The above chart shows that the indicator ranged from 3.5% to 5.5% since Dec. 13, translating to a moderately bullish 19% annualized basis. Meanwhile, the recent 6.5% peak is equal to a 29% annualized premium, indicating excessive buyers leverage.
Although this is not the exact reason for today’s correction, market makers and arbitrage desks know precisely how to play this situation. Pushing the price down would certainly trigger a vast amount of liquidations and it should also be noted that the futures open interest had just reached an all-time high.
Currently, the BTC March contracts premium has stabilized near 2.5%, equivalent to a healthy 14% annualized basis.
20% crashes are the norm rather than the exception
It’s important to consider that Bitcoin holds a 60 day volatility of 4.2%. Therefore, these large corrections should be expected.
The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.
Would Bitcoin and its blockchain be able to handle mainstream adoption as a store of value without requiring second-layer solutions? Genesis Mining’s head of mining operations, Philip Salter, holds a mixed view.
“I think Bitcoin is a good store of value regardless of transaction fees,” Salter told Cointelegraph. “The issue is — the higher the fees are the larger is also the minimum value that can be efficiently transferred.”
Bitcoin (BTC) has stood the test of time up to this point, with BTC maintaining its place as the crypto industry’s highest market cap asset for the past 12 years. Bitcoin is seen as more of a store of value than digital cash these days, however, and Salter thinks complications may still arise from this shift in perceptions:
“Some years ago it was possible to store and transmit $1 efficiently, since tx fees were effectively zero. Currently, sending a transaction can easily cost $15, so it is not sensible to transmit $1 any more. If this trend continues due to more use of BTC and higher BTC prices, it will become prohibitive to transfer value in common amounts and it will be only an effective store of value for very large amounts.”
“That’s why I think that 2nd Layer solutions are a necessity not only for the use of BTC as a currency but also for the long term feasibility of BTC as a store of value,” Salter added. Industry players have worked on layer-two scaling solutions, such as Lightning Network, in an effort to facilitate small transaction capabilities.
Salter himself uses Lightning Network solutions for his own Bitcoin endeavors. “I personally upgraded my personal phone wallet to a lightning-only wallet (Phoenix), so that I can even in these crazy times pay with coins quickly and cheaply,” he said. “To anyone who tried to use lightning two years ago and found it confusing, I strongly suggest that you give it another try now that it’s far more established and user friendly to use.”
Bitcoin’s scaling debate was a focal point of discussion in 2017 and 2018. In September 2020, MicroStrategy said it faced no major issues during one of its BTC accumulations. The firm bought 38,250 BTC using a combination of off-chain and on-chain avenues.
Authorities in Japan are reportedly targeting individuals for their alleged involvement in the January 2018 hack of the Coincheck crypto exchange.
According to a Jan. 22 report from Japanese news outlet Nikkei Asia, police have arrested or referred roughly 30 people in Japan to the local prosecutors’ office for their alleged role in hacking one of the country’s cryptocurrency exchanges. In January 2018, hackers stole roughly $534 million worth of NEM (XEM) from Coincheck in what was — and still is — the largest hack of a crypto exchange.
Nikkei Asia claims that according to an unnamed source, investigators “traced the accounts at conventional cryptocurrency exchanges through which the hacked NEM was converted” to identify the 30 people. The news outlet stated that the NEM tokens in cases involving the individuals may total as much as 20 billion yen — roughly $193 million at the time of publication.
Since the attacks occurred three years ago, investigators have alleged that Russian hackers may have been partially responsible for infecting the personal computers of Coincheck employees with a virus. The virus could have enabled hackers to take over the infected computers and operate them remotely.
Until now, Japanese authorities had made few arrests in connection with the Coincheck hack. In March, local police arrested two men who allegedly purchased some of the stolen NEM on a darknet marketplace shortly after the attack occurred. According to the police, the two knew the origin of the funds but still chose to purchase the tokens at a sizable discount.
Bitcoin (BTC) price tumbled more than 10% today to hit a low near $31,000 and at the time of writing it looks like the sell-off has a bit further to go. In a weekly report from crypto fund provider, CoinShares, some institutional investors seem to be booking profits and the analysts also cited the strengthening (trade-weighted) U.S. dollar.
Another indicator that points to professionals selling Bitcoin is the drop in “Coinbase Premium.” As markets continue lower, an increasing number of investors may dump their positions with the intent to buy again at lower levels.
Guggenheim Partners chief investment officer Scott Minerd has turned bearish on Bitcoin for the year. In an interview with CNBC, Minerd said that Bitcoin may have topped out and could “see a full retracement back toward the 20,000 level.”
If Bitcoin plunges, altcoins are also likely to witness selling pressure. Although this may be the case, during sell-offs, tokens backed by strong fundamentals may outperform.
Let’s have a look at three tokens which have held steady during the current market correction.
Hedera Hashgraph (HBAR), the enterprise-grade distributed ledger, has been entering into various partnerships to leverage blockchain technology in real-world use cases in several sectors. If these initial projects are successful, it will open a plethora of future possibilities around the globe. Some of the recent collaborations are highlighted below.
Hedera and content services provider Hyland recently presented a proof of concept to the Texas Secretary of State to secure and verify government-issued records using electronic Apostilles, which will be recognized universally.
Fighting against money laundering and combating terrorism financing are critical regulatory requirements for every financial institution and these obligations are closely monitored by governments. TRM Labs has integrated with the Hedera public ledger to provide robust compliance and risk management solutions to the developers building on Hedera.
The team also has partnered with Everyware to monitor the cold storage equipment used to store COVID-19 and other vaccines at Stratford Upon Avon and Warwick hospitals.
Along similar lines, AVC Global and its Subsidiary MVC’s Track-and-Trace Platform have chosen to collaborate with Hedera to develop intelligent supply chains to reduce risk and fraud and enable the right product to reach the right place at the right time.
Hedera’s strength can be found in its diversified enterprises and the organizations that are part of the Hedera Governing Council. As the number of use cases for the protocol increase, it’s possible that HBAR will also continue to perform well.
HBAR has risen from an intraday low of $0.04151 on Jan. 12 to an intraday high at $0.12467 today, a 200% rally within a short span. The sharp rally on Jan. 20 cleared the overhead hurdle at $0.083.
However, the sharp rally of the past few days has pushed the relative strength index (RSI) deep into the overbought territory, which may have attracted profit booking from traders. This has resulted in the formation of a Doji candlestick pattern today, suggesting indecision among the bulls and the bears about the next directional move.
The HBAR/USD pair could retest the recent breakout level at $0.083. If the price rebounds off this support, the bulls will again try to resume the uptrend. A breakout and close above $0.12467 could resume the uptrend, with the next target objective at $0.16616.
This bullish view will invalidate if the bears sink the price below the $0.083 support. Such a move could drag the pair to the 20-day exponential moving average ($0.06) as a deep fall tends to delay the resumption of the uptrend.
The growing popularity of the DeFi space shows no signs of slowing down. Several new platforms promising innovative products pop up every other day and this makes it increasingly difficult to keep track of all new developments.
Reef’s (REEF) AI and Machine Learning powered algorithms attempt to address this problem by aggregating liquidity from various sources in order to offer users the most profitable option.
To achieve this objective, Reef has entered several partnerships in the past few weeks. The platform added support to Avalanche, enabling Reef’s clients to directly access the products available on Avalanche without leaving Reef’s platform.
Similarly, a partnership with bZx Protocol offers clients several trading and lending opportunities. The addition of a bZx farming pool to Reef’s AI and Machine Learning powered analytics engine will further widen the options available to Reef’s clients.
Reef’s collaboration with OpenDeFi allows users to invest in synthetic versions of real-world assets that are held by a custodian. Traders can invest in physical assets such as gold, silver, or even real estate and they can stake them to receive loans.
Reef finance was recently listed on Binance Launchpool, increasing its accessibility and a recent code audit by Halborn is likely to increase investors’ confidence in the project.
REEF rallied from an intraday low at $0.006516 on Jan. 13 to an intraday high at $0.023 today, a 252% rally within a short period. Due to the short trading history, a 4-hour chart has been used for the analysis.
The REEF/USD pair is currently trading inside an ascending channel, with both moving averages sloping up and the RSI in the positive territory. This suggests that the bulls have the upper hand.
If the pair rebounds off the 20-EMA, the uptrend could resume its up-move inside the channel. A breakout and close above the channel will suggest a pick up in momentum. The critical level to watch on the upside is $0.031 and then $0.042.
Contrary to this assumption, if the bears sink the price below the support line of the channel, the pair could drop to the 50-simple moving average. A break below this support could signal that bears have taken control.
Perpetual Protocol (PERP) is a relatively new entrant in the DeFi space, listing on the Ethereum mainnet on Dec 14. The recent crypto bull run could have accelerated its adoption as traders have been using perpetual contracts to profit from the speeding market.
Even though the platform supports only three trading pairs, Perpetual said their 7-day volume puts them in the top 10 on the DEX Metrics highlighted by Dune analytics.
After its initial success, Perpetual plans to add a fourth trading pair and then follow it up with more additions in due course. The staking pool may launch in February, which will allow PERP token holders to stake and earn rewards on fees generated by trading on the platform. The team is currently working to integrate limit orders sell options to the platform and the feature is expected to go live before the end of Q1.
PERP rallied from $1.844 on Jan. 12 to an intraday high at $6.055 on Jan. 17, a 228% rally within a week. After a three-day correction, the bulls are currently attempting to resume the uptrend.
The shallow correction of the past three days suggests that the bulls are not closing their positions in a hurry. If the buyers can push the price above $6.055, the next leg of the up-move could begin. The next target objective on the upside is $9.41.
On the contrary, if the price turns down from $6.055, the PERP/USD pair may correct to $4.275 and remain range-bound between these two levels for a few days.
A break below $4.275 may intensify selling with the next support at the 50% Fibonacci retracement level. A breakdown and close below the 20-day EMA ($3.19) will signal a possible trend change.
The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.
Heath Tarbert is no longer the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, but he will remain one of its five commissioner
In a CFTC announcement on Thursday afternoon, Tarbert followed through with his resignation, which he announced at the beginning of December. However, it was not clear at the time whether he would remain on the commission at all.
Today’s announcement confirmed that Tarbert would stay on as a commissioner, with a term that formally expires on April 13, 2024. In listing accomplishments during his 18-month run as chairman of the commission, crypto took on a leading role, with the commissioner flagging his work “Promoting responsible fintech innovation, elevating LabCFTC into an independent operating unit, and beginning to treat Ether as a commodity.”
LabCFTC is the fintech wing of the commission, which has expanded its activities since becoming an independent office at the end of 2019. Tarbert has confirmed his interested in expanding crypto use in the U.S. in many public appearances, including in an October interview with Anthony Pompliano.
Despite rapid advancement of a digital yuan, China’s progress in internationalizing its currency has stalled out in recent months.
Per data from SWIFT’s RMB Tracker released on Jan. 20, the Chinese yuan (CNY), also known as the Renminbi (RMB) had gained only .02% in international usage between December 2018 and last month. Meanwhile, it had fallen from 1.26% to 1.16% between November and December of 2020.
While not a catastrophe, it’s nowhere near the numbers that China has become used to since making the internationalization of the RMB a priority in 2009. An August report on the project from the People’s Bank of China remained optimistic, but a rash of bans on Chinese companies and sanctions on CCP officials near the end of the Trump administration may have spooked outside involvement. Over the past two years, however, the dollar has lost much more ground to the euro.
As a unit of international payment, the Chinese yuan fell between the Swiss Franc and the Hong Kong Dollar. Hong Kong, incidentally, is responsible for three-quarters of CNY settlement abroad. Feuds over Chinese human rights abuses in the special administrative region seem set to expand the trade war.
Per SWIFT’s data, the Chinese yuan actually declined from 2.07% to 1.88% of global payments, which should take into account intra-Chinese use of CNY. Those numbers are, however, based on SWIFT messaging. While SWIFT remains essential to China’s engagement with the outside world, the Bank of China has been pushing local financial institutions to move over to the country’s domestic alternative to SWIFT, the Cross-Border Interbank Payment System (CIPS).
It is no secret that China has been pulling out all the stops to increase Renminbi usage abroad. Claude Barfield, who works on U.S.-China trade issues at AEI, told Cointelegraph:
“The Chinese want to be not just important in terms of their domestic policy, but also in terms of their international policy. They don’t like that the dollar remains dominant in international trade.”
A major part of this battle is the Chinese central bank digital currency. U.S. intelligence has made it clear that it sees the digital yuan as a challenge to the dollar. China has, meanwhile, been accelerating pilot programs, distributing millions of dollars to of the digital yuan citizens via lottery.
While current digital yuan usage does not compare to the value that SWIFT processes, the advent of digital currencies has forced the network to up its game. Last month, SWIFT announced new instant cross-border payments.
Representatives for SWIFT had not responded to Cointelegraph’s request for comment as of the time of publication.