As global equity markets continue to get pummeled, bitcoin’s return to the $9,000 level may have been driven by some of the same forces causing a rally in bonds – a desire for respite from a coronavirus-plagued markets.
After sharp gains in price Thursday, bitcoin (BTC) has been trading steadily in a range between $9,000 and $9,200. For the past 24 hours, bitcoin’s price change has been minimal, down half a percent as of 18:00 UTC (1 p.m. ET).
Traders see bitcoin’s jump back into the $9,000 range as another sign bitcoin is trending upward in 2020 while traditional markets stumble. Year to date, bitcoin is up over 26 percent while the S&P 500 stock index is down 9 percent. Cryptocurrency sentiment appears bullish as prices remain above significant moving averages.
Although traders seem to be open to viewing the cryptocurrency markets as a safe haven from stock market turmoil, more volatility is possible ahead of May’s halving, an event that will slash in half the reward bitcoin miners obtain.
“It’s a relief rally. In my opinion, we have a likelihood of sweeping another low before the post-halvening rally,” said Mostafa Al-Mashita of Canadian crypto brokerage firm Secure Digital Markets.
The S&P 500 closed down 3 percent Thursday as coronavirus fears reversed the small post-Super Tuesday rally. Equities traders cheered the results of the U.S. Democratic primary election favoring former Vice President Joe Biden over senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, candidates seen as openly hostile to capital markets. Also, bitcoin prices moved higher on optimistic banking news from India and positive regulatory clarity from South Korea.
“I believe gold and BTC are safe havens,” said Henrik Kugelberg, a Sweden-based crypto OTC trader. “As coronavirus has just started to spread, I believe a strong market will last well until the halving will have effect. To me it seems plausible that we can hit an all-time high this year, perhaps within six months.”
Gains in the cryptocurrency sector Friday include Lisk (LSK) in the green 4 percent, ether (ETH) up 2 percent, and bitcoin cash (BCH) appreciating 1 percent. Losses in crypto include bitcoin SV (BSV), bitcoin gold (BTG) and ethereum classic (ETC) all down 3 percent