Market Wrap: Bitcoin Reverses Wednesday’s Losses, Ether Climbs

Few are attributing the cryptocurrency's rise to market fundamentals after the GameStop roller coaster.

Jan 28, 2021 at 9:43 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 11:03 a.m. UTC

Bitcoin’s price reversed Wednesday’s losses on Thursday. Traders and analysts, however, have largely kept a short-term bearish view because some are attributing gains in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to GameStop’s stock drama.

  • Bitcoin (BTC) trading around $32,607.78 as of 21:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET). Gaining 3.17% over the previous 24 hours.
  • Bitcoin’s 24-hour range: $29,921.96-$32,934.56 (CoinDesk 20).
  • BTC above its 10-hour and 50-hour averages on the hourly chart, a bullish signal for market technicians.

Bitcoin trading on Bitstamp since Jan. 26.

GameStop’s stock drama seems to be galvanizing not just stock markets but bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, many of which reversed their losses of just a day ago, similar to what happened in the U.S. equities market. The most notable winner was dogecoin (DOGE), which hit a new all-time high earlier Thursday.

Bitcoin volumes on major crypto exchanges in January.

Few attribute bitcoin’s price gains Thursday to market fundamentals. That’s because the crypto community still looks to be distracted by the GameStop (NYSE: GME) situation. A group of Redditors on a board called WallStreetBets (WSB) sent the video game retailer’s shares skyrocketing in order to squeeze hedge funds that were betting the stock's price would go down.

“We are still on a downward chart from the $40,000 highs,” John Willock, chief executive at digital asset exchange Blocktane, told CoinDesk. “So the short-term volatility of up to 10% can be attributed to the market still finding its footing and consolidating to a more firm, sustained price level for the near future.”

On the technical side, bitcoin is near short-term oversold levels, yet momentum is still on the downside, according to Katie Stockton, managing partner at Fairlead Strategies.

“After a period of stabilization, the 50-day moving average (MA) looks in store for a test, and currently resides near $26,460,” said Stockton. “Bitcoin has characteristics of a risk asset, and therein could remain under pressure until the equity market works off its own excesses.”

Retailer traders’ fear of missing out (FOMO) may be the big driver of both equity and crypto markets at the moment, but it isn't clear if new institutional investors are buying more bitcoin, which could affect its price.

As CoinDesk reported previously, many institutions may be pausing bitcoin purchases until they have further clarification on how the new Biden Administration views bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

While some negative comments were made by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen last week, there hasn’t been any big statement from anyone else in the administration regarding bitcoin. To some, that is a positive sign.

“The Biden administration has paused processing the much-discussed and disliked proposed rule for U.S.-based crypto service providers that would stifle trading and asset transfers, which is improving sentiment and prospects for a market lift,” Blocktane’s Willock said.

Willock also noted on Friday the CME’s January bitcoin futures contracts expire. That exchange caters primarily to institutional investors, so many of its clients will likely be adjusting their positions after a “very volatile” first month of 2021 and will decide whether they need to take profits or reduce exposure.

Ether follows positive trends from bitcoin, DeFi

The second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, ether (ETH), was up Thursday, trading around $1,332.19 and climbing 3.37% in 24 hours as of 21:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET).

Like most of the other cryptocurrencies, ether’s price has followed bitcoin’s recovery, according to Vishal Shah, an option trader and founder of derivatives exchange Alpha5. Another main driver is the growth of decentralized finance (DeFi).

“Blue-chip DeFi names have been performing quite well,” Shah said. “Ether still remains a proxy for that world.”

At press time, most DeFi tokens on Messari’s DeFi Asset tracker are higher. At the same time, the total value locked (TVL), as provided by analytics website DeFi Pulse, was at $26.4 billion for the past 90 days. On Wednesday TVL was at a high of $29 billion for the past 12 months, again according to DeFi Pulse data.

Other markets

Digital assets on the CoinDesk 20 are mostly higher Thursday. Notable winners as of 21:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET): 

  • 0x (ZRX) + 17.49%
  • Cosmos (ATOM) + 14.38%
  • Stellar (XLM) + 13.15%

Notable losers:

  • Tether (USDT) - 0.09%
  • USD coin (USDC) - 0.08%

Equities:

Commodities:

  • Oil was down 1.1%. Price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude: $52.27. 
  • Gold was in the green 0.03% and at $1842.15 as of press time.

Treasurys:

  • The 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yield climbed Thursday to 1.053.

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