Market Wrap: Bitcoin Slumps to $10.7K; Ethereum Fees Rise Again

Bitcoin's price is heading down while DeFi is helping Ethereum fees go up.

AccessTimeIconSep 17, 2020 at 8:30 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 9:57 a.m. UTC

Bitcoin lost momentum Thursday while DeFi delirium pushes fees on Ethereum back up.

  • Bitcoin (BTC) trading around $10,920 as of 20:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET). Slipping 0.73% over the previous 24 hours.
  • Bitcoin’s 24-hour range: $10,735-$11,052
  • BTC above its 10-day and 50-day moving averages, a bullish signal for market technicians.
Bitcoin trading on Coinbase since September 15.
Bitcoin trading on Coinbase since September 15.

Bitcoin headed downward Thursday, going as low as $10,735 on spot exchanges such as Coinbase, but recovering to $10,920 as of press time. 

Andrew Tu, an executive at quant trading firm Efficient Frontier, sees $11,000 as a key bitcoin price point. ”$11,000 has served as both support and resistance over the last two months,” Tu told CoinDesk. “If we properly break $11,000, we may head up towards $12,000 again while if we fail to break through, then we may go back towards $10,700 and then to $10,000.” 

Thus far in September, bitcoin has been over the $11,000 mark twice, most recently on Wednesday prior to the U.S. Federal Reserve announcement of unchanged interest rates and allowing inflation to run over 2% in the near term. 

Katie Stockton, analyst for Fairlead Strategies, sees a lack of momentum in the bitcoin market Thursday. “Today is an ‘inside-day’ for bitcoin, when the day’s high-low range is encompassed by the previous day’s range, so the action is not impacting the chart in a meaningful way.” Indeed, Wednesday’s bitcoin price range was wider, at $10,662-$11,099 per bitcoin. 

Bitcoin trading on Coinbase in September.
Bitcoin trading on Coinbase in September.

In the options market, implied volatility, a measure of bitcoin’s forecasted price movement, is much higher than realized volatility, which is based on historical price changes.

Implied volatility versus realized volatility for BTC/USD.
Implied volatility versus realized volatility for BTC/USD.

This phenomenon has been occurring since July as options traders are increasingly hedging their bitcoin bets, said William Purdy, an options trader and founder of PurdyAlerts, an analysis firm. 

“The historical realized volatility has significantly declined while implied volatility has increased as investors are increasingly willing to pay for more price protection,” said Purdy. 

This is also happening in the ether options market, though not as pronounced as in bitcoin. Investors still expect an additional price boost from May’s halving, which reduced the new supply of bitcoin coming to market, according to Purdy.  

“As we get later and later into the post-halvening cycle, traders are likely increasingly expecting a major price change and therefore expecting their already expensive premiums to still net positive ROI as they expect an even larger change in price,” Purdy told CoinDesk.

Ether fees rise again

The second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, ether (ETH), was up Thursday, trading around $388 and climbing 6.1% in 24 hours as of 20:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET). 

The average transaction fee on the Ethereum network is shooting up once again, at 0.030806 ETH per transaction at press time. According to data aggregator Blockchair, that translates to $11.97 at current ether prices. 

Average Ethereum network fees the past three months.
Average Ethereum network fees the past three months.

Jean-Marc Bonnefous, managing partner of Tellurian Capital, which invests in the decentralized finance, or DeFi, ecosystem, says Uniswap’s surprise token launch is not helping the fee situation. 

“There has been a fair amount of congestion for some time already and we now have the very popular one-off airdrop of the much awaited Uniswap token UNI that is the talk of the town,” said Bonnefous. “More tokens like YAM are going live this week also. DeFi definitely sets the agenda in the digital assets markets this month,” he added. 

Other markets

Digital assets on the CoinDesk 20 are mixed Thursday, mostly in the green. Notable winners as of 20:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET): 

Notable losers as of 20:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET):



  • Oil is up 2.1%. Price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude: $41.01.
  • Gold was in the red 0.56% and at $1,947 as of press time.


  • U.S. Treasury bond yields slipped Thursday. Yields, which move in the opposite direction as price, were down most on the two-year bond, in the red 7%.
The CoinDesk 20: The Assets That Matter Most to the Market
The CoinDesk 20: The Assets That Matter Most to the Market


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