Which Way? Bitcoin's Low Volatility May Force Big Move

Bitcoin could be in for a big move as the daily trading range tightens, but will the bulls or the bears gain the upper hand?

Jun 8, 2018 at 10:41 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 1:53 p.m. UTC

Bitcoin has been squeezed into an increasingly narrow range for more than two weeks and is now experiencing volatility not seen for eight months.

As a result, it's looking likely that bitcoin could soon make a strong move, but the direction it will take when that happens is less than clear. Since May 24, the cryptocurrency has been restricted to a range of $7,000–$7,800 range, which is already very tight, but the price has barely moved in the last 36 hours, likely indicating an indecisive market.

Daily volatility, as indicated by the spread between the daily price high and daily price low, fell to $107.63 on Thursday – the lowest level since Oct. 2, 2017 and down 86 percent from the 2018 average of $793, according to CoinDesk's Bitcoin Price Index (BPI).

As of writing, prices on CoinDesk's Bitcoin Price Index (BPI) are at $7,580, marking around a $100 drop over 24 hours.

While all is calm now it may not continue that way for long, as an extended period of sideways action is often followed by a violent move on either side. As technical theory states, the wider the range and the longer the period of the consolidation, the more violent a breakout tends to be.

So, bitcoin could see a speedy $800 move very soon – in either direction.

Daily chart

CoinDesk - Unknown

Bitcoin had looked set up for a major bullish move earlier this week, following an upside break of the falling channel. Now the bull's failure to cross resistance at $7,780 has left the doors open for the bears to make a comeback.

As a result, the probability of bitcoin ending the period of consolidation with a downside break is the more likely of the two possibilities. Indeed, prices are starting to drop at press time.

View

  • A move above $7,819 (50-week moving average) would signal a bullish breakout and would set the tone for a rally to pennant resistance located at $8,880.
  • On the downside, a break below $7,090 (pennant support) would imply a bearish breakdown. In this case, BTC could potentially drop below $6,000 (Feb low).

Arrows image via Shutterstock

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