First Mover: As Bitcoin Tops $13K, Analyst Explains How Blockchain Gives Clues on Next Move

Chainalysis Chief Economist Philip Gradwell tips his five favorite blockchain data points for analyzing cryptocurrency markets.

AccessTimeIconOct 23, 2020 at 12:46 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:22 a.m. UTC
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Bitcoin was higher, just above $13,000 and rising for a seventh straight day – the longest winning streak in six months. 

“A continuation would probably require more positive news,” Matt Blom, head of sales and trading for the publicly traded cryptocurrency firm Diginex, wrote Thursday in a note to clients.

In traditional markets, European indexes rose on positive corporate earnings and strong German manufacturing data, and U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher open. Gold strengthened to $1,911 an ounce.  

Market moves

A hallmark of the blockchain analysis is that there's all sorts of data on the distributed computing networks available publicly to anyone with a browser. 

So for crypto traders, why not use the data to get an edge? 

CoinDesk's Omkar Godbole talked to Philip Gradwell, chief economist at blockchain intelligence firm Chainalysis, about the data points he thinks are most important for crypto traders. 

Below is a condensed list, though Godbole's full article includes a link to a video of the original interview. 

1) Exchange inflows. A surge in a rising market might indicate looming selling pressure, a sign of feeble investor confidence. 

2) Trade intensity. The metric, which measures the number of times an inflowing coin is traded, "tells us how many people are willing to buy bitcoins sent to exchanges," according to Gradwell. So an uptick is a sign of trend strength. 

3) Interexchange flows. Net flow from crypto-to-fiat exchanges to crypto-to-crypto exchanges suggests the market is dominated by stablecoin traders. In this scenario, a rise in the stablecoin's issuance could be considered a leading indicator of an impending price rally.

4) Liquidity. A sustained rise in the number of illiquid entities – defined as those that send less than 25% of the assets it receives – is a sign of a strong long-term holding sentiment, and thus a bullish indicator.

5) Value transfers across blockchains. The metric represents usage of the blockchain and is typically accompanied by a rise in the transaction count. "When there's greater usage of a cryptocurrency there's more demand, and that drives the price up," Gradwell said. 

- Omkar Godbole

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Bitcoin's liquidity, as measured by Chainalysis, is as low as it was in mid-2017, just before the cryptocurrency went on a meteoric run from $5,000 to $20,000.

Bitcoin watch

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Bitcoin weekly price chart.

Bitcoin is eyeing its biggest weekly gain in six months. 

The cryptocurrency is currently trading near $13,000, representing a 13% appreciation on a week-to-date basis, the most since April. 

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s share of bitcoin’s futures market has increased alongside the price rally. 

As of Thursday, bitcoin futures contracts worth $790 million were open on the CME, according to data source Skew. That's 15.8% of the global open interest tally of $5 billion – the second highest contribution among major exchanges.

The exchange's contribution to global open positions has jumped from 10% to 15.8% this month alone, indicating increased institutional participation. 

From a technical analysis perspective, the focus is on the weekly close (Sunday, 23:59 UTC). If the cryptocurrency finishes above $12,476 (August high), a bullish breakout would be confirmed on the weekly chart. 

That looks likely, as demand for the cryptocurrency is strong. A breakout would strengthen the case for a rally to $14,000 before the year-end. 

- Omkar Godbole

Token watch

Bitcoin (BTC): Hedge fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones II tells CNBC that bitcoin rally is only in "first inning."

Tether (USDT): Chinese authorities crack down on gambling sites using dollar-linked stablecoin. 

Ripple (XRP): CEO Brad Garlinghouse says blockchain payments company might move to London amid lingering uncertainty over XRP token's legal and regulatory classification. 

What's hot

PayPal (ticker: PYPL) is exploring purchases of cryptocurrency companies including bitcoin custodian BitGo (CoinDesk

BitMEX, under scrutiny from U.S. officials, proceeds to list new futures contract on Yearn.Finance's YFI token, says contracts for polkadot (DOT) and Binance coin (BNB) are on the way. (CoinDesk

Bitstamp, European cryptocurrency exchange, names Gemini alum Julian Sawyer as CEO (CoinDesk)

Spanish national police arrest operator of cryptocurrency arbitrage firm that some investors alleged to be a Ponzi scheme (CoinDesk)  

PayPal's push into digital currencies could benefit mass crypto adoption, Morgan Stanley says (CoinDesk)


The latest on the economy and traditional finance

Turkish lira weakens toward eight per dollar after central bank declines to raise interest rates to tamp down inflation expectations (FT

Goldman Sachs agrees to pay $2.9 billion to resolve probes into 1MDB debacle involving Malaysian financier (CNBC

The number of employees globally that permanently work from home is set to double by 2021 (Reuters)

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is seeking to change rules governing the access and use of consumer financial data (Reuters)

Singapore and Germany are setting up a "green lane" enabling travel for business or official reasons amid coronavirus restrictions (Bloomberg)

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