The price of Bitcoin (BTC) recovered in the past two days after dropping to as low as $28,850. Following the swift rebound, however, BTC has been unable to break past heavy resistance at $33,000 on Jan. 23, pulling back below $32,000 at the time of writing.
Coinbase premium returning is bullish, but what now?
Earlier, when the price of Bitcoin started to drop below $32,000, BTC traded much lower on Coinbase than on Binance.
The lack of premium on Coinbase was worrying for two key reasons. First, Bitcoin naturally trades higher on Coinbase due to the minor premium of Tether.
Second, when Coinbase sees a lower price than other exchanges, it shows that there is high selling pressure in the U.S. market.
As the selling pressure on Bitcoin began to increase in the U.S. market, the price of BTC feel steeply in a short period.
But, almost immediately after BTC rebounded from $30,000, the Coinbase premium reappeared. At the time of writing, BTC is around $40 higher on Coinbase than on Binance.
The Coinbase premium re-emerging after nearly 12 hours is a positive sign of a potential trend reversal.
Signs of "institutional exhaustion"
But everyone is far from bullish in the near term, however. Analysts at QCP Capital, a team of traders in Asia, see several signs of “institutional exhaustion.”
Considering that the main narrative around the recent has been the institutional demand for Bitcoin coming from the U.S., the rally may be in danger if the institutional appetite for BTC slows down. They said:
“Signs of institutional exhaustion: We've done a timezone analysis which breaks down BTC moves into Asia hours vs. US hours (12 hours each). Since March last year, the clear pattern has been relentless US buying while Asian whales and miners have been on the offer.”
The traders empahsized that the strength in the U.S. trading session lost momentum for the first time.
In fact, throughout the past week, most of the BTC selling pressure came from Asia. This marks a key shift in market sentiment. They added:
“However after the BTC top 2 weeks ago, the strength in US hours has lost momentum for the first time. This is a clear sign of exhaustion in demand from the US institutions and corporates who have been the primary drivers of this bull run.”
What comes next for Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is at risk of a corrective phase throughout the first quarter of 2021 if institutional demand for BTC subsides.
Various institution-focused platforms and vehicles, like Grayscale, are still seeing large inflows, which is indicative of solid institutional demand. At the same time, MicroStrategy continues its policy of buying Bitcoin on each dip with the latest purchase on Friday totaling $10 million.
"Today, $31,000 was a pocket of strong support, so at least not everyone is selling," said Chad Steinglass, head of trading at Crosstower, a digital assets capital markets firm.
"We’ll have to wait and see if that wall remains, or if institutions continue to accumulate. If they do, it’s likely that the trend will re-establish itself and continue. If they move to the sidelines waiting for more regulatory guidance, then their lack of buy flows will be acutely felt."
At the same time, the likelihood of a wider correction remains if the U.S. market continues to see an overall decline in the appetite to accumulate BTC, particularly if the dollar continues to recover in 2021.