Bitcoin (BTC) starts a new week on a firmly bullish note as stocks tumble and BTC managed to close the week above $50,000.
After a mixed performance last week that saw multiple tests of $46,000, buyer support is entering and BTC/USD is within 15% of all-time highs.
Cointelegraph takes a look at what might lie in store for traders in the coming days with five factors likely to affect Bitcoin price action.
Stocks nosedive as USD gains
The tide is turning on the equities miracle of the past year, with indices falling left and right amid warnings that the rout is far from over.
On the back of significant losses in tech stocks, including crypto industry favorites Tesla and MicroStrategy, Asian stocks shed over 1% on the open on Monday.
Despite a strong close last week, expectations were for a knock-on effect for the U.S. prior to Wall Street returning. According to analysts at Morgan Stanley, the Nasdaq 100 could even touch its 200-day moving average, lying around 800 points below its current level of 12,642.
“You will see a lot of volatility in markets,” Kim Stafford, Asia Pacific head at Pacific Investment Management, told Bloomberg.
“We believe that confidence is improving, especially with vaccines coming online, so we will see an uptick in growth globally. There are a lot of reasons to be confident in the market but a lot of this is also priced in.”
With grim short-term perspectives for equities traders, the U.S. dollar is boosting its existing strong performance.
Extending a run from late February, the U.S. dollar currency index (DXY) touched 92.19 over the weekend and held above the 92 mark on Monday.
Traditionally a problematic phenomenon for Bitcoin price strength, recent moves on the index have been felt less than over the past year with BTC/USD broadly shrugging off sentiment to forge an increasingly asymmetric path.
Coming in tandem with the USD meanwhile was renewed strength in oil prices, which surged on news that Saudi Arabia’s infrastructure had suffered an attack. Output, however, has not reportedly been affected.
Stimulus checks incoming
The main impetus for dollar strength, however counterintuitive, has been news that lawmakers will inflate its supply to the tune of $1.9 trillion as they pass the latest coronavirus stimulus package.
Passed by the Senate on Sunday, President Joe Biden’s sweeping cash injection piles fresh debt on the country’s existing mountain but will supply eligible Americans with $1,400 payouts.
Given Bitcoin’s increased public profile this year compared to the last major stimulus payout of $1,200 in March 2020, expectations are high that at least some of the money will flow into BTC.
The figures, now widely repeated online, speak for themselves. According to online monitoring resource Bitcoin Stimulus, the combined value of the two previous checks — $1,200 and $600 — would be over $10,250 as of March 4 had each recipient immediately purchased Bitcoin.
Put another way, the first $1,200 stimulus bought 0.18 BTC at the time of receipt, while the $600 check bought 0.02 BTC. This time around, despite the USD amount being larger, at the time of writing, it would only be worth 0.028 BTC.
Long term, meanwhile, dollar weakness weighs heavy on the minds of investors given both its supply increase and the other impacts associated with the highly controversial economic response to the virus.
Despite claiming not to be a “Bitcoin maximalist,” veteran trader Peter Brandt said that Bitcoin would only profit from the current policy on longer timeframes.
“The devaluation of the purchasing power of the U.S. Dollar… has only just begun,” he warned on Sunday.
“This is why Bitcoin BTC, real estate, U.S. equities and commodities will continue to trend higher when expressed in USD fiat terms.”
Brandt also revealed that his second-largest investment position after real estate is his BTC allocation.
Bitcoin sees 2nd highest weekly close
Within Bitcoin, bulls were buoyed as the weekend came and went as fresh upside took BTC/USD over $50,000.
Coming in step with the stimulus announcement, local highs totalled $51,177 on Bitstamp. At the same time, positive investment news from China extended the supply shortage narrative, this focusing on institutional buy-ins reducing the already dwindling amount of BTC available for purchase on the market.
Despite failing to hold on Monday, the psychologically significant level did manage to remain for the weekly close, providing Bitcoin’s second-largest weekly close on record.
Analyzing trader behavior, Rafael Schultze-Kraft, co-founder and CTO of on-chain analytics resource Glassnode, forecast that a return below $46,600 is unlikely.
“This support is holding nicely. And it got stronger! We now have a wall of 1.2M $BTC that moved on-chain between $46.6k and $48.6k,” he wrote on Sunday.
“That's 6.5% (!) of the circulating supply. I'd be surprised if we go below anytime soon. I was long at <$50k, and am long now anyways.”
For Cointelegraph Markets analyst Michaël van de Poppe, a conspicuous trend despite the higher price levels was an overall lack of interest among consumers in particular.
“I've noticed the decrease of social media engagement and media attention on Bitcoin recently. While a few weeks ago, everyone and their parents wanted to get Bitcoin out of FOMO,” he tweeted on Monday.
“However, the current period is the time to accumulate your positions. When there's no hype.”
Popular Twitter account Bitcoin Archive agreed, responding that interest “goes up and down” along with price performance.
No one's selling
Additional on-chain indicators confirmed “business as usual” among market participants.
At $50,000, miners are uninterested in selling, while flows to exchanges and exchange reserves continue to decrease, data shows.
For statistician Willy Woo, selling pressure has instead come from institutional players needing to prepare for reporting as Q1 comes to an end — far from a bearish signal.
“Who has been selling? Apart from margin longs liquidating, my guess from the data, it's hedge funds rebalancing for end of Q1 reporting,” he told Twitter followers late last week.
“Many have mandates to rebalance when an allocation gets too big; BTC has outperformed incredibly. (Sell your winners, buy more losers).”
Woo also noted that large whales have been selling while smaller whales, who hold between 10 and 100 BTC, have increased their presence.
“Looking at the age of coins in this sell off, Dormancy being low tells us, so it's young coins. It's new whales who bought in recently selling their positions,” he added alongside charts from Glassnode and his own analytics resource, Woobull.
By contrast, he said, buy support is coming from “strong hodlers.”
Extreme greed is back
After a brisk drop to “fear” territory, the Crypto Fear & Greed Index is back to signalling “extreme greed” among investors.
Providing an indication that further price rises may be short-lived, the Index hit 81/100 on Monday, up from 76 the day before. Just a week ago, it measured 38/100.
Nevertheless, on-chain analysis has a convincing counterargument, with Glassnode’s Network Value to Transactions (NVT) data showing that volume has broadly accompanied recent price rises.
“What defines a healthy rise in Bitcoin's price? ...one that is backed by on-chain volume!” co-founders Yann Allemann and Jan Happel tweeted referencing Woo.
“When the price increases too fast without allowing blockchain activity to catch up, it is often not sustainable.”
NVT has risen in a satisfyingly steady fashion since before the 2017 bull market peak.