- Bitcoin has dropped by $300 in the last 24 hours. Even so, the outlook remains neutral as key Fibonacci retracement support at $7,850 is still intact.
- Bitcoin's volatility gauge has dropped to the lowest level in over six months. The low volatility period will likely end with a big move on the higher side, as a repeated defense of $7,850 is indicating seller exhaustion.
- A UTC close above $8,820 is needed to confirm a bullish reversal.
- A high-volume move below $7,850 would confirm range breakdown. However, an impending death cross, a bearish but contrary indicator, suggests the downside, if any, could be limited around $7,400.
Bitcoin's struggle for clear directional bias looks set to end, with volatility hitting multi-month lows and the charts suggesting a big move could soon occur on the higher side.
The top cryptocurrency by market value has spent a better part of the last four weeks trading the range of $7,800 to $8,400.
A double bottom breakout on Oct. 9 had raised hopes of a move above $9,000. The ascent, however, stalled $8,820 on Oct. 11 following which prices fell back to $7,800.
Further, the cryptocurrency failed to draw bids above $8,300 over the last two days despite the bullish setup on intraday charts and retreated back to $7,920 during the Asian trading hours today.
With the lackluster price action, bitcoin's 60-day daily return volatility, as calculated by Coinmetrics, has dropped to 2.58 percent – the lowest level since April 1.
The volatility gauge topped out above 5.5 percent in July and has been on a steady decline ever since, as seen in the chart below.
An extended period of low volatility often paves the way for a big move on either side.
For instance, the 60-day volatility topped out at 5 percent in early January and fell to 2 percent on April 1 – a day before BTC broke in a bull market with a $1,000 rally to $5,000. Going back further, volatility has bottomed out quite a few times near or below 2 percent.
BTC, therefore, could soon adopt a strong directional bias. The risks are skewed in favor of a bullish move, according to technical charts.
Bitcoin dived out a contracting triangle in the last week of September, signaling a continuation of the pullback from June's high of $13,880.
The ensuing sell-off, however, ran out of steam near $7,850 – the 38.2 percent Fibonacci retracement of the rally from $3,122 to $13,880 – over the last three weeks.
The repeated defense of the Fibonacci support indicates seller exhaustion. The indicators on the three-day chart are also echoing similar sentiments, as discussed on Tuesday.
BTC, therefore, could see a strong bounce, possibly to levels above $8,820 (Oct. 11 high) in the short term. That would invalidate the lower highs setup on the daily chart and open the doors for resistance at $9,320.
As of now, BTC is changing hands at $7,970 on Bitstamp, representing a 2.8 percent loss on a 24-hour basis.
The outlook would turn bearish if prices drop below $7,850 with strong volumes, confirming a range breakdown.
Even so, a big sell-off, similar to the $2,000 drop seen in September, looks unlikely, and the downside could be restricted near $7,430 (multiple daily lows in early June), as a contrary indicator is about to turn bearish, as seen below.
The impending death cross, a bearish crossover of the 50- and 200-day moving averages, has trapped sellers on the wrong side of the market in the past.
For instance, BTC had bottomed out near $220 with the confirmation of the death cross in mid-September 2015. Notably, the bear trap was formed 11 months ahead of the August 2016 mining reward halving – a price-bullish event.
Interestingly, the latest death cross is happening six months ahead of the reward halving and could mark a bottom in BTC.
Disclosure: The author holds no cryptocurrency assets at the time of writing.
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