Markets Weekly: Bitcoin Price Resilience Crumbles
The bitcoin price has crumbled after a rally early in the month and resilience over the last fortnight.
Bitcoin price resilience finally crumbled this week after two weeks of strength following the so-called 'BearWhale' slaying.
The price opened the week at $386, holding steady until mid-week, when it began a steep decline. It closed at $346, shedding $40 over the last seven days.
The bitcoin price deterioration follows a strong rally from $295 on 6th October to a high of $405 about a week later. Trading held steady until this week's drop, even as the wider financial markets tumbled in mid-October.
Swaps activity spikes
A look at the swaps activity on Bitfinex reveals more bearish indicators. The sum of active BTC swaps began to rise sharply on 25th October suggesting that traders are betting that the bitcoin price will fall further.
A BTC swap takes place when traders borrow bitcoin at one price to trade it for US dollars, hoping the price will fall by the time they purchase bitcoin again to return it to the lender. Total BTC swaps on Bitfinex nearly doubled from 8,799 BTC on 25th October to 16,281 BTC the next day.
Examining the swap data in greater detail also suggests that shorts profited from the mid-week price drop. Bitcoin swaps spiked as the price tumbled on the morning of 23rd October, potentially driving the price down.
As the week ended, total active swaps stood at over 18,000 BTC, the highest level since April 2013, according to Bitfinex data. Swap volume also depends on the amount of customers using a particular exchange, of course, and Bitfinex's trading volume and user base has only become significant since last October, according to Bitcoinity volume data.
Trading volumes shrink
Overall trading volumes on the major exchanges have plummeted this week. About 1.9m coins changed hands on the exchanges this week, compared to 2.5m last week. That's a drop of more than 26% over seven days.
All the big exchanges showed big double-digit drops in trading volume, with ANXBTC leading the way with a 40% decline in traded volume over the week.
News and fundamentals
New York State's 'BitLicense' closed to comments early in the week, with bitcoin economy heavyweights Circle and BitPay submitting their responses to the proposed regulations. Circle took a hardline on the regulations, saying that it would have no choice but to leave New York if the regulations took effect in their current form.
This follows New York financial regulator chief Ben Lawsky's comments two weeks ago that the BitLicense would not apply to software developers and those "innovating and developing" the latest platforms for digital currencies.
In the United Kingdom, a major high-street retailer announced that it would adopt bitcoin in a big way. CeX, which sells technology products, said it would initially accept bitcoin payments in 30 of its 266 UK stores on 22nd October.
The UK-based company also said it would introduce Lamassu ATMs in its stores that would allow customers to buy bitcoin without being charged a fee. CeX already takes bitcoin for sales made through its website. The retailer further said it could introduce bitcoin payments at its international stores across Europe, Australia and in India.
The macro picture has largely kept digital currencies out of the frame this week. European banks have been subjected to "stress tests" to prove their financial health, although Bloomberg View said they are not enough to "dispel the fear" over the region's banking system and wider economy.
Brazil, meanwhile, has re-elected Dilma Rousseff on a platform of reform and rooting out corruption, after a tightly contested election. Bitcoin adoption has huge potential in Brazil, as it does in Latin America in general, although digital currency adoption remains nascent there.
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