Market Wrap: Bitcoin Tests $9K as Market Struggles With Uncertainty

After a quick dip in the crypto market, bitcoin is holding steady amid precariousness in the options market and the greater economic picture.

AccessTimeIconJun 25, 2020 at 8:38 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 8:56 a.m. UTC
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Higher-than-normal selling volume pushed bitcoin down in early trading Thursday before managing to recover. 

Bitcoin (BTC) was trading around $9,297 as of 20:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET), slipping just 0.18% over the previous 24 hours. 

At 00:00 UTC on Thursday (8:00 p.m. Wednesday ET), bitcoin was changing hands around $9,270 on spot exchanges such as Coinbase. Three hours later, heavy selling volume sent bitcoin down 3% to as low as $8,980. Bitcoin’s price is below its 50-day moving average, but above the 10-day. Such a combination is a sideways bearish signal for market technicians. 

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Bitcoin trading on Coinbase since June 23

“We're still in a tight trading range; $9,000 is the key to hold,” said Rupert Douglas, heading of institutional sales for crypto asset brokerage Koine. Bitcoin’s dip to below $9,000 is the first time that threshold was crossed since June 15. When it happened 10 days ago, just as on Thursday, the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization was able to bounce right back.

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Bitcoin hourly price action in June

“The market seems to be taking a bit of a breather after testing $9,000 last night and bouncing pretty nicely,” said Dave Vizsolyi, head trader at Chicago-based crypto firm DV Chain. A massive amount of bitcoin options, to the tune of $1 billion, has traders thinking more volatility might be ahead. “I think the options and futures expiry tomorrow will continue to drive flows,” Vizsolyi added. 

George Clayton, managing partner of New York-based Cryptanalysis Capital, says he is concerned with economic data for the balance of 2020. Cryptocurrencies are not immune to traditional market gyrations. 

“Crypto is currently acting like a risk-on asset and the technicals look sketchy,” Clayton said. “I see both of these elements as short-term bearish.” He pointed to the Atlanta Federal Reserve GDPNow forecasting a second-quarter U.S. economic contraction of an astounding 46.6% compared to the previous year. GDPNow's estimate of GDP performance is based on its available data. It’s a significantly more bearish outlook than what most analysts are expecting. 

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Estimated U.S. GDP performance in Q2

“I'm quite bullish on bitcoin by this time next year,” said Neil Van Huis, of crypto liquidity provider Blockfills. “However, there could be a lot of whiplash in between. I guess that is the beauty of the markets.”

Although bitcoin is up over 28% this year, it hasn’t exactly been a smooth ride in 2020. 

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The price of bitcoin overlaid across major dollar-based exchanges

Despite being down as much as 32% on spot exchanges in March during the coronavirus-induced crash, June has had steadier bitcoin price movement. “I think there really is no real directionality in bitcoin at the moment,” said options trader Vishal Shah. “It seems $9,250-$9,300 has been a broader level of support, while $10,000 has been the top, with a few scattered breaches.” Most of crypto is "actually more fascinated with DeFi at the moment,” added Shah.

Other markets

Ether (ETH), the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, was flat Thursday, trading around $233 and slipping 0.11% in 24 hours as of 20:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET). 

The total value locked in decentralized finance, or DeFi, surpassed $1.5 billion on June 21. The total amount of crypto assets in dollar value is now at $1.6 billion, fueled by the speculative interest in lender Compound, which now dominates the DeFi world with a 37% market share, according to data aggregation site DeFi Pulse.

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All-time chart of total value locked in DeFi denoted in USD

Digital assets on CoinDesk’s big board are mostly red Thursday. Big losers on the day include decred (DCR) dumping 2.2%, stellar (XLM) in the red 1.7% and neo (NEO) down 1.6%. One notable winner is zcash (ZEC) in the green 2.1%. All price changes were as of 20:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET).

In commodities, oil is up 2.5% Wednesday. A barrel of crude was priced at $38.98 as of press time. 

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Contracts-for-difference on oil since June 23

Gold is flat; the yellow metal climbed 0.19%, trading around $1,764 for the day. 

The Nikkei 225 index of companies in Japan ended the day 1.22% lower. While tech stocks made some gains, the index was dragged lower on selling in the manufacturing sector.  

Europe’s FTSE 100 index was in the green, climbing 0.63%. Fears of a coronavirus resurgence sent stocks there lower in early trading, but late gains pushed the index higher. 

The U.S. S&P 500 index gained 1%. A slight rally in late-day trading occurred due to optimism on the U.S. Federal Reserve releasing positive banking stress test results.

U.S. Treasury bonds all slipped on Thursday. Yields, which move in the opposite direction as price, were down most on the two-year bond, in the red 11%.


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