The price of Bitcoin (BTC) surpassed $16,000 with relative ease on Nov. 13 and has remained resilient above it. Analysts are divided on the short-term outlook on BTC because the momentum remains strong but there are concerns of an overheated rally. But there are numerous positive developments that could continue to sustain the uptrend of BTC.
Generally, the cryptocurrency market has seen an increase in trading activity across all types of exchanges. Spot, derivatives, and institutional markets have all seen a noticeable spike in demand from investors. Speaking to Cointelegraph, Denis Vinokourov, head of research at crypto exchange and broker Bequant, said the overall uptick in trading volume is positive:
“Looking at the traded volume on retail-focused crypto venues shows there has been a significant pick up in interest among these market participants. At the same time, though, the volumes and the open interest (OI) across the more regulated venues and, in particular the CME, has also been on a steady uptick.”
The substantial increase in the trading volume of the cryptocurrency market has been a critical catalyst for Bitcoin throughout the recent rally. On-chain market analysis platforms, such as CryptoQuant, have reported large deposits by whales. This means that high-net-worth investors have increasingly sold BTC in the past week as its price exceeded $16,000. Still, the dominant cryptocurrency was able to sustain its momentum and rise to as high as $16,480 on Nov. 13.
A large uptick in trading volume and consistent inflow of stablecoins into exchanges typically mean that the demand for Bitcoin is rising. As such, there is a strong possibility that the main impetus for the BTC rally above $16,000 was the high trading activity and newly emerging appetite for BTC from stablecoin inflows. Following the breakout above $16,000, analysts are generally bullish, particularly toward the medium-term trend of BTC. However, some remain cautious around the immediate effects.
The bull scenario for Bitcoin in the short term
The price of Bitcoin has only been above $16,300 for 12 days throughout its history. Looking at on-chain data, analysts at IntoTheBlock noted that there is little resistance between $16,300 and $18,750. If BTC rallies toward $18,750 in the near term, that would leave a minor gap until a new all-time high above $20,000.
In the near term, based on market orders and on-chain levels, the analysts said that the $15,170 area would likely emerge as the new support area. The firm found that 860,000 addresses bought 465,000 BTC near that level, which would mark it as critical support. This means that if BTC remains comfortably above $15,170, it would strengthen the foundation for the next bull run. But if it drops below it, there is a possibility for a deep pullback.
While the on-chain and technical factors favor an overextended Bitcoin rally, traders have also expressed concerns. Above $16,000, the road toward a new record high is considerably straightforward. As such, traders anticipate that sellers will try to suppress the price at around $16,000, causing a consolidation phase to emerge.
But technical analysts state that the momentum of Bitcoin might simply be too strong to see a sharp pullback. Kevin Svenson, a chartist who uses Cryptowatch, said that buyers with FOMO — the fear of missing out — might have taken over the market. The upside momentum of BTC is strengthening, especially as it continues to see a staircase rally.
Svenson noted that BTC could see a rejection in the future. Still, the analyst said that BTC might reach $17,000 to $18,000 before a pullback occurs: “#Bitcoin is just floating upward. FOMO buyers have taken over the market... keep in mind. We may be entering an area of ‘over exuberance’ ... expect a rejection back down to crush FOMO buyers.”
Other traders have similarly said that the dip Bitcoin saw on Nov. 12 to sub-$15,500 might have been “the dip.” After reaching $15,965, BTC suddenly declined by nearly 4% to $15,440. After the pullback, BTC made a run back to $16,000 and then proceeded to cleanly break out of the dreaded resistance level. Based on this price action, a pseudonymous trader known as "Loma" said that a large pullback in the short term is likely. The trader noted: “Guess that was the dip. I don’t think it makes sense to test $15,800 area again.”
The near-term bear case
The short-term bearish scenario for Bitcoin still revolves around a positive market sentiment. Analysts still anticipate BTC to rally toward the end of the year, but in the immediate term, they expect a pullback because historically, BTC has seen corrections throughout prolonged bull cycles. In 2017, as an example, when BTC rallied toward $20,000, it regularly saw rejections of 20% to 30%.
Michaël van de Poppe, a full-time trader at the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, said that Bitcoin is in the “disbelief phase.” Short-sellers and skeptics are increasingly betting against BTC as it reaches toward its record high. Yet, Poppe pinpointed the likelihood of 20%–30% corrections during uptrends. If these pullbacks occur, they could present great opportunities, he explained:
“I do agree with the statement that we're in the disbelief phase. It's also hard to state something else when $BTC is just 20% away from a new all-time high. Regardless of that, a correction of 20–30% that massive opportunity to be buying relatively 'cheap' $BTC. Take it.”
Josh Olszewicz, a Bitcoin technical analyst, referred to the Ichimoku Cloud indicator to point out that BTC is well above the cloud. This indicates that BTC is likely overbought and has rallied far beyond its support levels on higher time frame charts. The analyst said the $13,200 level would remain an area of interest for buyers.
Short contract liquidations not occurring?
A variable for Bitcoin's price trend in the foreseeable future is the unusually low amount of short-contract liquidations. For instance, when BTC surpassed $16,000 on Nov. 13, only around $13 million worth of short liquidations were recorded on Bitfinex and BitMEX. Binance Futures and other exchanges also saw relatively low short liquidations compared with previous cycles.
Vinokourov believes that the lackluster short liquidations could mean that the Bitcoin market is in a healthier position. It signifies that short squeezes are not the main catalyst for the BTC rally. Rather, genuine spot market demand and institutional appetite could be causing the price of Bitcoin to increase. When the market is less dependent on the futures market, which supports high leverage, BTC is less vulnerable to volatility spikes to the downside, as Vinokourov noted:
“Curiously, short liquidations have been absent and there is a sound reason for that — the total OI may be at a record high, but the surge higher is actually being driven by stablecoin margined futures, as opposed to margined Bitcoin. Because of the said stablecoin exposure, there is no exposure to Bitcoin and, as a result, the market is in a much healthier condition than it would have been if the movement into stablecoin margin products did not happen.”
The combination of Bitcoin’s declining dependence on the derivatives market, the clear breach of the $16,000 resistance level, and various on-chain data points that confirm $15,170 as an important support level for BTC raises the probability of a broader rally. At the same time, due to the historical tendencies of BTC to see large pullbacks even amid parabolic rallies, traders are preparing for potential sharp drops to buy the dip. Regardless, the medium-term prospect of BTC remains positive, especially heading into the year-end.