Bitcoin has dipped back below the psychological area of support near the $10,000 level amid a 20-minute sell-off that took the markets by surprise.
At around 21:30 UTC on Feb. 19, the price of bitcoin (BTC) fell more than 4.5 percent from $10,086 to $9,610, according to CoinDesk’s BPI data, despite the technical signs appearing to favor the bulls.
On exchanges like Bitstamp and Coinbase, prices dropped to as low as $9,280 before quickly being snatched up by opportunistic buyers looking to capitalize on the fall. BTC is now changing hands at around $9,719.
“I’m a long holder and even I’m shook,” said BTC investor and podcast host Brad Mills in a recent tweet.
“That usually means too much exposure,” he added.
Indeed, the sell-off caught many traders unawares as the price of BTC shed much of the gains achieved over the last few days, with BTC’s price rising out of a prior area of resistance near $9,483 on Feb. 17 to above $10,000 a day later.
So far sellers are intent on keeping prices below hourly resistances near $9,793. That will be a telling sign should prices remain below that level in the coming days, towards the end of the weekly closing session on Feb. 24.
Yassine Elmandjra, a crypto analyst at Ark Invest, said in a recent tweet that today marks BTC’s fifth-largest hourly price drop in history.
“The only other time we’ve seen a greater dollar price drop is at the December 2017 peak,” Elmandjra said.
Other notable cryptocurrencies are also down, with the likes of XRP (XRP), ether (ETH) and bitcoin cash (BCH) down between 5.5 and 8.1 percent over a 24-hour period. Tezos, on the other hand, is still trending up 5.46 percent on a 24-hour basis and one of the only crypto in the top 20 to still be in the green, Messari data shows.
UPDATE (Feb. 20, 00:25 UTC): Co-founder and managing partner at Kenetic, Jehan Chu, told CoinDesk that “today’s sell-off was nothing more than short-term profit-taking in a market gaining steam. Pullbacks like this are common and we can expect oscillations, but this year’s upward and dominant trajectory for bitcoin is clear.”