Bitcoin (BTC) starts a new week still at $13,000 and wholly unfazed by problems in the global economy — what’s in store next?
Cointelegraph takes a look at the potential issues at stake for Bitcoin in the coming days.
Banks to follow PayPal BTC adoption
Last week’s announcement that payment giant PayPal would support Bitcoin and three altcoins from 2021 continues to have an impact on price action.
When the news hit last week, Bitcoin abruptly surged beyond $12,500 to hit highs of $13,200, subsequently reaching $13,370 over the weekend.
Reactions among veteran Bitcoiners were mixed, with some warning consumers not to let PayPal hold their cryptocurrency for them, as restrictions are already known to apply.
Nonetheless, consensus remains that Bitcoin has crossed a major adoption hurdle. Even David Marcus, co-creator of Facebook’s Libra digital currency scheme which PayPal previously abandoned, was bullish.
“Exciting to see more mainstream financial services players getting on the crypto bandwagon,” he tweeted on Oct. 25.
“Many banks now pursuing #BTC and stablecoins support after this week’s announcement by @PayPal . We’re turning a corner.”
His words echo forecasts by Virgin Galactic chairman, Chamath Palihapitiya, who on Thursday likewise said that Bitcoin was now not “optional” for major institutions.
As Cointelegraph reported, multiple corporations have added Bitcoin to their reserves in recent weeks and months in a concerted effort to reduce exposure to fiat currency inflation.
Bitcoin sees 6th best weekly close in history
At $13,070, Bitcoin sealed its second-highest weekly close since January 2018 on Sunday and its sixth-highest ever.
On a technical level, this is no mean feat — BTC/USD has beaten out long-term weekly resistance at $11,900 and also held those higher levels.
Retaking and holding $12,000 has been notably absent even from Bitcoin’s most successful periods since the end of its bull market in late 2017, when it reached $20,000.
In both 2019 and earlier in 2020, brief spurts above $12,000 all ended in rejection and a retreat to lower levels on weekly timeframes.
BTC/USD weekly chart. Source: TradingView
This week’s close thus provides another turning point for Bitcoin, and analysts are hopeful that its significance is genuine.
Others were more conservative prior to the event, with Cointelegraph Markets analyst Michaël van de Poppe eyeing a short-term pullback.
Van de Poppe said that the area just below $11,500 is essential to hold in order to maintain current trajectory.
“I think this is a likely scenario, not expecting a clear breaker above $14,000 yet,” he wrote on Sunday.
“A retest of previous resistance zone to build momentum towards the next rally towards $17,000 beginning next year.”
Central banks expected to expand stimulus worldwide
Across macro markets, meanwhile, the mood is decidedly less buoyant as the week begins.
A combination of tightening coronavirus restrictions, moves to inflate fiat currencies by multiple central banks and U.S. election uncertainty is weighing on sentiment.
Just a week before polling day, a fresh spat over Washington agreeing Coronavirus stimulus has added to market skittishness.
In Europe, eyes are on the European Central Bank for an expansion of its own monetary stimulus program, already worth €1.5 trillion. The central banks of Japan and Canada are also due to announce updates on their virus response this week.
“In terms of actually getting back to pre-Covid or trend growth, it could take more than a year,” Chris Chapman, portfolio manager at Manulife Investment, which has over $660 billion in assets under management, told Bloomberg on Sunday.
“The timing of the recovery will be delayed, but there is still expectation of a vaccine at some point next year.”
The U.S. dollar currency index (DXY), with which Bitcoin has shown considerable inverse correlation, has begun to trend up in recent days, while stocks are starting the week on a downward slope.
U.S. dollar currency index since Coronavirus crash. Source: TradingView
Fundamentals come off record highs
In a further suggestion that Bitcoin may take a breather in the coming weeks, network fundamentals are showing signs of cooling off after recent growth.
Difficulty, an essential measure of miner activity, is set for a 1.6% decline at the next automatic readjustment in six days’ time. Currently, it is at record highs.
Estimated weekly average hash rate, meanwhile, has been sloping downwards from its own highs since Oct. 18.
As of Monday, the average is 133 exahashes per second (EH/s), with the record standing at 146 EH/s.
Bitcoin 7-day average hash rate 1-month chart. Source: Blockchain
For him, price action has even higher to climb to match the hash rate levels seen recently.
“The price lag vs. hash rate is due in part to the existence of shitcoins that muddy the waters,” he said.
“As BTC dominance climbs, this distracting noise will die off and we’ll see price catch up to hash rate.”
PlanB: January 2021 will see “vertical” Bitcoin bull market
For quant analyst PlanB, however, the coming months should provide more of a shock to the system for Bitcoin market participants before a slowdown and consolidation phase begins.
Creator of the stock-to-flow family of Bitcoin price models, PlanB has been wholly satisfied with Bitcoin price performance since the latest block subsidy halving in May. Price has conformed exactly to stock-to-flow’s demands, and the latest jump has proven no exception.
Looking ahead, he argues that the huge supply buy-up seen last week will accelerate to a peak before dying off.
“Supply shortage after the halving eats into the pool of bitcoins available for sale and leads to increasing supply/demand pressure .. until it snaps, a couple of months later,” he wrote during a Twitter conversation over the weekend.
“Actually I calculate the ‘vertical phase’ of the bull market to start Jan/Feb.”
BTC/USD price chart with RSI peaks visible. Source: TradingView
A further tweet ahead of the weekly close reinforced this idea. This time, the focus was Bitcoin’s relative strength index (RSI).
“If you were not here during 2013 or 2017 bull markets: current #bitcoin price rise is just a small taste of what's next (weekly RSI in 70-90 range),” PlanB forecast.
“We haven't even started!”