Bitcoin (BTC) is reporting losses for a second straight month, but there are hints of a bullish breakout ahead in the fourth quarter.
At press time, the leading cryptocurrency is trading at $6,570 – down 6.30 percent from September’s opening price of $7,014. BTC also registered a 10-percent decline in August, according to CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index (BPI).
However, despite the back-to-back monthly losses, the cryptocurrency is flashing a 2 percent gain for the third quarter. Further, the quarterly gain could have been much bigger had the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) not rejected a notable application for a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).
July: BTC trapped bulls on the wrong side of the market
Bitcoin jumped to a two-month high of $8,507 on July 25, confirming an upside break of the four-month-long falling channel.
However, the long-term bearish-to-bullish trend change was short-lived as prices fell back below $8,000 on July 27, courtesy of the SEC’s second rejection of the Winklevoss brothers’ application for a bitcoin ETF.
Nevertheless, the leading cryptocurrency posted a 21 percent gain in July, snapping the longest losing streak in nearly two years.
August: Sellers dominated the first half
BTC was down for the first two weeks the ETF rejection in late July. The cryptocurrency fell to a low of $5,859 on Bitfinex on Aug. 14 before rising back to $7,000 by the month’s end.
Signaling a rotation of money out of high-risk alternative cryptocurrencies and into bitcoin, and possibly into fiat currencies, the BTC dominance rate also rose above 50 percent for the first time since Dec. 19, 2017.
It is worth noting that the SEC disapproved several other ETF proposals in the second half of August month. Yet, BTC remained well bid, possibly because the investor community had priced in the widely expected bad news.
That resilience triggered speculation that better times lie ahead for the cryptocurrency and overshadowed the 10 percent monthly decline in prices.
September: BTC carved out another lower high
BTC’s rise to highs above $7,500 in the first half of the month was supplemented by the bullish turn in the weekly MACD. As a result, the cryptocurrency was looking likely to rise further toward July highs above $8,500.
Instead, prices fell sharply on Sept. 5, leaving another lower high around $7,500 on the daily chart. The rising wedge breakdown on the daily chart signaled a resumption of the sell-off from the July highs. But, once again, the area around $6,000 proved a tough nut to crack for the bears.
Looking ahead: Charts look brighter for the fourth quarter
The cryptocurrency’s persistent defense of $6,000 has convinced many, including the likes of billionaire investor Novogratz and Fundstrat’s Tom Lee, that the BTC market is experiencing seller fatigue and has reached a bottom around $6,000.
However, a bullish reversal would be confirmed only after BTC has found acceptance above the recent lower price high of $7,429.
On the weekly chart, BTC has charted a narrowing price range. Interestingly, the upper edge of the range is located around that $7,429 (August high) price point.
A move above that level would signal a bearish-to-bullish trend change and allow a stronger rally toward key resistances located at $8,507 (July high) and even $9,990 (May high).
Any bullish move post-breakout could be a rapid one as a prolonged period of range-bound trading is often followed by a big spike in volatility, according to technical theory.
The prospects of BTC witnessing bull breakout in the fourth quarter are high as the cryptocurrency tends to perform well in the last three months of the calendar year, seasonality analysis indicates.
As can be seen on the above performance table, the cryptocurrency scored gains in the fourth quarter in six out of the last eight years.
The pattern looks likely to repeat itself, given the cryptocurrency is down 70 percent from the record high of $20,000 clocked in December 2017 and sellers seem to have run dry around $6,000.
Disclosure: The author holds no cryptocurrency assets at the time of writing.