On-chain transactions on the bitcoin (BTC) network hit fresh highs not seen since 2017 in April, industry newsletter Diar noted on April 30, quoting blockchain data provider TokenAnalyst.

Continuing a trend that had already started at the end of March, on-chain transaction volume hit a 14-month high in April. This, Diar notes, is similar to the figure from June 2018, when the price of bitcoin circled $7,000.

Far from reflecting increased real-world usage, however, the driving cause of the uptick remains trading and speculative moves.

“On-chain value of both Bitcoins and US Dollar value continue to follow price trends indicating the king of cryptocurrencies has yet to find any footing outside of speculative trading almost two years on from entering the financial challenger hall of fame,” researchers warned.

More bearish was data showing quarterly volume, which has also declined steadily since 2017.

The first quarter of 2019 was no exception, with a 35% drop in volume versus the final segment of last year, which included bitcoin’s price drop from $6,500 to a low of $3,100.

“2Q19 has kicked off on a higher note compared to previous years,” Diar added.

The mood among longtime market analysts nonetheless remains buoyant. After a report from digital assets fund Adamant Capital declared that the crypto bear market was winding down, Fundstrat Global Advisors co-founder Tom Lee continued the bullish sentiment on social media on Tuesday.

His reason for optimism revolved around the lack of long-term market suppression in the wake of legal problems at cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex and its sister company, stablecoin tether (USDT).