Market Wrap: Bitcoin Returns to Above $46K Even as Indicator Shows Crypto Fear

Bitcoin is in recovery mode as the Fear & Greed Index enters the fear zone; analysts eye regulatory developments.

AccessTimeIconSep 14, 2021 at 9:05 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 4:33 p.m. UTC
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Cryptocurrencies were mostly higher Tuesday as U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Gary Gensler broadened his pitch for greater regulatory oversight of crypto markets. Bitcoin displayed little reaction to Gensler’s testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, and was up about 5% over the past 24 hours.

Gensler also warned that crypto exchanges like Coinbase should register with the SEC. “They haven’t yet registered with us, even though they have dozens of tokens that may be securities,” Gensler said.

As the SEC pushes Congress for more resources to regulate different crypto projects, large institutional investors are taking note.

“The institutionalization of digital assets means that cryptocurrencies will become more ingrained within the U.S. financial landscape,” Fitch Ratings wrote in a Tuesday report.

“The degree of clarity of regulatory guidance and oversight for digital assets is an important consideration when assessing credit implications for banks entering the space,” Fitch wrote.

Traditional banks are indirectly involved in the crypto industry by providing deposit and lending products to digital asset market participants, which could raise several compliance risks, according to Fitch. There are also client suitability, money laundering and cybersecurity concerns that need to be addressed for institutional investors to embrace cryptocurrencies at scale.

Latest Prices

  • Bitcoin (BTC), $46,475, +3.8%
  • Ether (ETH), $3,351, +3.0%
  • S&P 500: -0.6%
  • Gold: $1,805, +0.7%
  • 10-year Treasury yield: 1.277%, -0.047 percentage point

Indicator shows crypto market in fear mode

Bitcoin’s Fear & Greed Index moved sharply into “fear” territory after the crypto sell-off last week.

“For much of August, the market was in a state of extreme greed as prices rose across the board,” Joo Kian, a research analyst at Delphi Digital, wrote in a blog post. “September tends to be a negative month for crypto as a whole. While the month kicked off strong, sentiment has deteriorated rather quickly.”

Previous episodes of negative sentiment preceded price rises similar to last September and this July, as shown in the chart below.

Bitcoin Fear & Greed Index (Delphi Digital)

Bitcoin futures volume rises relative to spot market

“The importance of the bitcoin futures market is growing,” Arcane Research wrote in a Tuesday report. The daily trading volume in the bitcoin futures market has accounted for a growing share of total bitcoin trading volume, especially over the past few months.

BTC spot trading volume accounted for 20% of total trading volume at the beginning of the year, and now sits well below 10%.

“January until May saw a huge spot volume, with a slight drop in April,” Arcane Research wrote. “During this time, the institutional narrative was strong.”

Spot trading volume rose over the past few weeks as volatility increased, but it remains well below the levels seen in May.

Bitcoin spot relative to futures volume (Arcane Research)

Trend improvement for altcoins relative to bitcoin

The uptrend in alternative cryptocurrencies has improved relative to bitcoin over the past few months as some traders diversify their crypto holdings.

“Smaller cryptocurrencies have fallen out of favor over the past week, but we think only temporarily, noting the trajectory of the weekly RRG (relative rotation graph, seen below) is likely to continue turning in favor of the likes of Polkadot (DOT) and Chainlink (LINK),” said Katie Stockton, managing partner of Fairlead Strategies, a technical research firm.

The 12-week RRG chart (click here for animation) shows the intermediate-term cyclicality of altcoins relative to bitcoin. The graph’s clockwise rotation holds promise for altcoins in the intermediate term, although BTC could retain leadership over the short term, according to Stockton.

12-week relative rotation (Fairlead Strategies)

Altcoin roundup

  • Solana Validators Ready ‘Potential Restart’ Amid Blockchain Outage. Engineers were racing Tuesday morning to patch the shaky network as an outage stretched to hour three. A source familiar with the matter told CoinDesk that the outage “impacts everything built on Solana, but the issue is the underlying [layer 1].” Solana’s SOL token is down about 9% over the past 24 hours.
  • Layer-2 Network Arbitrum Experiences Hourlong Network Outage. Ethereum scaling product Arbitrum also experienced an outage of roughly an hour, leading to widespread commiseration between traders and decentralized finance (DeFi) yield farmers across various ecosystems. The team acknowledged the outage in a tweet.

Relevant News

Other markets

Most digital assets in the CoinDesk 20 ended the day --

Notable winners of 21:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET):

Aave (AAVE): +19%

Uniswap (UNI): +10%

Notable losers:

Algorand (ALGO): -9.7%

Cardano (ADA): 2.8%


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Damanick Dantes

Damanick was a crypto market analyst at CoinDesk where he wrote the daily Market Wrap and provided technical analysis. He is a Chartered Market Technician designation holder and member of the CMT Association. Damanick is also a portfolio strategist and does not invest in digital assets.

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