Bitcoin (BTC) fell by 50 percent in the first three months of 2018 – a drop that marks the cryptocurrency's worst Q1 performance on record.
A look back at historical Bitcoin Price Index data shows that the halving in value seen this year is the second-worst quarterly performance ever. The cryptocurrency suffered its all-time biggest quarterly drop in the third quarter of 2011, when it fell 68 percent from $16.1 to $5.14.
Interestingly, the table clearly shows that, since 2013, bitcoin has rarely seen gains over the first quarter of the year.
The magnitude of the decline in 2018 should not come as a surprise, given the cryptocurrency witnessed an unprecedented rally to a record high of around $20,000 in late 2017.
January: Healthy pullback takes a turn for the worst
At the start of 2018, BTC had already fallen close to 44 percent from lifetime highs in the previous month, but, by the second week of January, the cryptocurrency had scaled $17,000, reviving hopes of a rally to fresh record highs.
February: V-shaped recovery gathers pace
Once again, the price surge raised hopes of a rally to record highs, but the move ran out of steam around the key descending trendline resistance and established $11,700 as a key resistance on the technical charts.
March: BTC takes a beating, 'death cross' fears grow
Bitcoin fell by more than 30 percent after the bulls failed to beat the trendline resistance in early March. The news flow continued to be anything but positive, as technology giants Google and Twitter also banned cryptocurrency ads. By the end of March, BTC was back down below $7,000.
Chart experts took note of the possible "death cross" (a bearish crossover between the 50-day moving average and 200-day moving average) – an ominous signal that was supposed to yield a drop to levels last seen in August 2017. The death cross was confirmed on March 30, but has not had a negative impact on BTC, possibly due to oversold conditions as represented by the daily relative strength index.
It is worth noting that over the last 10 weeks, the correlation between the stock markets and bitcoin has strengthened, which indicates BTC is still being perceived as a risk asset as opposed to a safe-haven asset like gold.
Furthermore, the "Kimchi premium" – the spread or difference between bitcoin prices on Korean exchanges and prices on western exchanges – fell sharply in the first quarter, signaling that the markets have normalized following regulatory changes in the country.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.