Bitcoin (BTC) prices were testing support at $10,000 on Aug. 22 as the largest cryptocurrency fluctuated between four and five figures.

Market visualization

Market visualization. Source: Coin360

Mining difficulty “needs to bottom out”

Data from Coin360 showed BTC/USD crossing the $10,000 mark multiple times over the past 24 hours. 

Currently, the pair is hovering around the $10,000 mark — having traded between $9,800 and $10,250 overnight. 

Attempting to decide whether $10,000 will now form support or resistance, the latest moves follow on from a bearish trend that saw BTC/USD drop from about $11,000 to current levels.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Rejecting that barrier, the mood turned jittery among traders. As Cointelegraph reported, regular commentator Josh Rager had eyed a daily close above $10,200 as being necessary to preserve upside chances — something Bitcoin ultimately failed to achieve.

Another popular analyst on social media, The Crypto Panda, was more pessimistic still — warning on Wednesday that Bitcoin faced a breakdown similar to November 2018. At that time, a sudden shift saw BTC/USD hit local lows of just $3,100. 

“After each ATH #bitcoin price drops until a lot of miners aren't profitable. Miners switch off hardware (capitulate), hashrate drops, and difficulty adjusts downwards until miners become profitable again and difficulty rises,” the well-known PlanB added.

He noted mining difficulty ⁠— an indicator estimating the amount of computing power required to validate Bitcoin transactions ⁠— must bottom out before price highs appear. That pattern was evident following last year’s price drop.

“Difficulty bottom (100%) starts a new bull market,” he concluded.

Altcoins seize rare chance to consolidate

Thursday marked an interesting day on altcoin markets — becoming one of the few days when the majority of tokens were less volatile than Bitcoin.

In the current market retraction, that meant many traders were spared the losses affecting Bitcoin. Ether (ETH), the largest altcoin by market cap, dropped 1% compared with Bitcoin’s 1.7%.

Ether 7-day price chart

Ether 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Others such as Ripple’s XRP and Litecoin (LTC) also fared better, while Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin SV (BSV) matched Bitcoin’s moves.

The overall cryptocurrency market cap stood at $260 billion, with Bitcoin’s share practically unchanged since Thursday at 68.8%.

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