Bitcoin (BTC) bulls should look for a cover, at least as far as chart technicals are concerned.

The flagship cryptocurrency continued its price declines into the new weekly session, hitting $32,105 ahead of the London opening bell following an approximately 10% intraday drop. In doing so, it raised the prospect of retesting its quarter-to-date low of $30,000 for either a bearish breakdown or a bullish pullback.

Bitcoin consolidates between $30,000 and $42,000. Source: TradingView

But as traders grapple with the ongoing medium-term bias conflict in the Bitcoin market, one classic technical pattern has surfaced to boost a bearish outlook.

The cup has turned

Spotted by Keith Wareing, an independent market analyst, the so-called “Inverse Cup and Handle” structure points to an extended downside price correction ahead in the Bitcoin market. In detail, the pattern develops when an asset forms a large crescent shape as it rallies higher and corrects lower, followed by a less extreme, upward rebound.

Traders look at the Inverse Cup and Handle pattern as their cue to open short positions to target deeper levels. The most extreme bearish target, in such a case, is determined by measuring the distance between the cup’s top and the pattern’s breakout level.

Meanwhile, traders typically spot breakout levels when the price breaks out from the handle pattern to the downside while accompanied by higher volumes.

Bitcoin Inverse Cup and Handle formation hints bearish breakout is ahead. Source: Keith Wareing, TradingView

Based on the chart provided by Wareing, Bitcoin’s recent price action — ranging from its pump to nearly $65,000 followed by a dump to $30,000 and a retracement to $40,000 — almost checks all the boxes that confirm the presence of an Inverse Cup and Handle structure.

Except, the Bitcoin price still awaits a bearish breakout.

The depressive Bitcoin setup appeared as traders assessed the United States Federal Reserve’s hawkish reversal on interest rates and inflation. Last week, the U.S. central bank signaled that it could raise benchmark lending rates by the end of 2023 instead of 2024 to tame the rising inflation.

James Bullard, one of the Fed officials, said separately on Friday that the central bank could raise rates by as early as 2022. 

Fed Chair Jerome Powell also said in a press conference on Wednesday that his office would move to discuss reducing the $120 billion worth of monthly asset purchases it had started in March 2020.

Bitcoin and other pandemic winners, including gold and Wall Street stock indexes, fell in tandem owing to the Fed’s hawkish tones. Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a pool of top foreign currencies, rose to its two-month high, suggesting a renewed appetite for cash among investors.

More bearish outlooks emerge

The latest Bitcoin price plunge also took cues from reports of China’s deepening crackdown on crypto mining farms in the region. The state-backed newspaper Global Times reported that authorities in Sichuan ordered miners to wind down their operations.

Sichuan is home to China’s second-largest crypto mining community. The latest ban means that 90% of China’s mining capacity, which makes 75% of the global computing supply, has probably gone offline, noted Global Times.

Bitcoin’s hash rate dropped to its November 2020 low following the China crackdown story. 

Bitcoin’s hash rate drops to 140.3 EH/s for the first time in six months. Source:

Jeffrey Ross, founder and CEO of Vailshire Capital Management, said that he expects Bitcoin to stay weak for the next one to three weeks, fearing liquidation at the end of Chinese miners.

Nevertheless, he added that the cryptocurrency’s macro outlook remains bullish as long as it holds key technical targets above 12- and 48-month moving averages.

Bitcoin's breakdown below 12-month moving average risks wiping its market valuation by more than 50%. Source: Jeffrey Ross, TradingView

Bitcoin’s 48-month moving average is currently around the $13,000 level.