The market is clearly choosing other digital assets over bitcoin. Ether hits a fresh record price and BNB dominates.
- Bitcoin (BTC) trading around $52,612 as of 21:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET). Slipping 4.7% over the previous 24 hours.
- Bitcoin’s 24-hour range: $52,889-$55,233 (CoinDesk 20)
- BTC below the 10-hour and 50-hour moving average on the hourly chart, a bearish signal for market technicians.
Bitcoin had its fourth day of weak market action. The world’s oldest cryptocurrency was seeing some selling action as of press time, causing the price to dip to $52,612.
Pankaj Balani, CEO of crypto derivatives venue Delta Exchange, notes that when looking at a larger trading chart time frame the outlook is starting to look bearish for bitcoin. “BTC has slipped below the 50-day moving average support that it held sacrosanct through this rally, and looks like there is more downside here,” Balani told CoinDesk.
As a result of last weekend’s bitcoin dump, BTC’s spot price is now below its 50-day moving average, the first time that has occurred since October 2020, according to the daily charts from TradingView.
“We might see a sharp bounce in bitcoin, but until it moves above $60,000 the possibility of a bull trap cannot be eliminated,” Balani added.
Perhaps one benefit of this drop in price, at least from a store-of-value perspective many bitcoin proponents advocate, is that BTC volatility continues a slow decline. Bitcoin’s 30-day annualized volatility, as measured by CoinDesk Research, was at 48.9% on April 21, a long slow fall from 2021’s high of 112.8% 30-day volatility on Feb. 9.
As a result, traders are clearly focused on other blockchain-based assets in the crypto ecosystem, Delta Exchange’s Balani said. “We are seeing strong signs in [altcoins]; ether is the focus here.”
Ether's melting-hot performance as an alternative crypto asset
Ether (ETH), the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, was up Thursday, trading around $2,515 and climbing 3.7% in 24 hours as of 21:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET).
After last weekend’s crypto crash, when the market experienced a record-high $10 billion in liquidations on the derivatives market – the crypto equivalent of a margin call that pushed the crypto market downward – ether’s price performance has been going like gangbusters. The record high for ether’s price is now $2,645.14, according to CoinDesk 20 data, and that was achieved Thursday.
Since the past weekend’s dump, when ETH was at a low of $2,067, according to CoinDesk 20 data, the price has jumped 21% at press time. Over the same time period bitcoin has fallen 2%.
Joel Kruger, a cryptocurrency strategist at the LMAX Digital exchange, says market actors are likely getting more sophisticated about investing in assets other than bitcoin, leading to strong ETH buying. “As traditional market participants familiarize themselves with the space, they are slowly discovering the value proposition that extends beyond bitcoin,” Kruger told CoinDesk.
Gary Pike, director of sales and trading at crypto liquidity provider B2C2, says attention paid to Coinbase’s direct listing and non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, have many people researching blockchain outside of bitcoin and pouring money into these nascent technologies.
“NFTs and the Coinbase [listing] have brought more people into the ecosystem that previously hadn’t participated, even though they knew about bitcoin,” Pike said.
Bitcoin’s price has remained in stasis this week and its dominance slid below 50% for the first time since 2018. Meanwhile, alternative cryptocurrencies such as crypto exchange Binance’s BNB token are making major market share gains. Crypto dominance is a measure of its market share as a percentage of the larger ecosystem of digital assets.
Since the start of 2021, BNB, which can be used on Binance to pay for trading fees, has appreciated from 0.71% market dominance on Jan. 1, 2021, to 4.1% as of press time, a fivefold increase. Sean Rooney, head of research for Valkyrie Investments, says BNB’s rise in dominance signals further development of decentralized finance, or DeFi. “BNB is able to benefit from an explosive DeFi sector,” he told CoinDesk.
BNB operates on Binance Chain, a blockchain developer platform that is a much smaller rival to Ethereum. Rooney noted that “ETH also benefits from this as well” because the rise in BNB’s dominance brings in new users interested in the programmable money aspects of these platforms.
Digital assets on the CoinDesk 20 are mostly red Thursday. Notable winners as of 21:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET):
- The Nikkei 225 index in Asia ended the day up 2.3%, led by a 6.3% gain in retailer Rakuten and a 5.5% jump in transportation firm Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha.
- Europe’s FTSE 100 closed in the green 0.52% as the European Central Bank kept interest rates unchanged, with traders signaling this as a favorable market condition.
- The United States’ S&P 500 index fell 0.80% as investors hit the sell button on the news U.S. President Joe Biden plans to introduce a higher capital gains tax proposal for some income brackets.
- Oil was up 0.90%. Price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude: $61.61.
- Gold was in the red 0.50% and at $1,784 as of press time.
- Silver is falling, down 1.6% and changing hands at $26.10.
- The 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yield fell Thursday to 1.545 and in the red 0.78%.