Market Wrap: Bitcoin Rallies as Altcoins Take the Lead

Bitcoin rose 11% in the past 24 hours, less than the 13% jump in ETH and 20% rise in NEAR.

Feb 4, 2022 at 9:20 p.m. UTC
Updated Feb 4, 2022 at 9:57 p.m. UTC

Damanick is a crypto market analyst at CoinDesk where he writes the daily Market Wrap and provides technical analysis. He is a Chartered Market Technician designation holder and member of the CMT Association. Damanick is also an equity/fixed income portfolio manager and does not invest in digital assets.

Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies rallied on Friday, reversing losses from a few days ago. Alternative cryptocurrencies (altcoins) outperformed as ether (ETH), the world's second-largest cryptocurrency, gained 13% over the past 24 hours compared with an 11% rise in BTC.

NEAR, the token associated with Near Protocol, a layer one blockchain that aims to overcome the limitations of its competitors including slow transaction rates, surged as much as 20% in the past 24 hours. The rise in altcoins relative to bitcoin could reflect a greater appetite for risk among crypto investors.

"Since late last year, there has been a continuing trend that even bitcoin's calming is enough for altcoins to return to growth and outperform the first cryptocurrency," Alex Kuptsikevich, an analyst at FxPro, wrote in an email to CoinDesk.

Technical indicators point to additional price gains for bitcoin if buyers are able to maintain support above $37,000 over the weekend. Further, a decisive move above $40,000 could signal the start of a recovery phase.

Over the past few weeks, several indicators such as the bitcoin Fear & Greed Index, relative strength index (RSI) and a six-month high in the bitcoin options put/call ratio signaled bearish extremes in the crypto market. Some analysts expect crypto buyers to return, similar to what occurred after the July 2020 price bottom at $28,000 BTC.

Latest prices

Bitcoin (BTC): $40569, +11.34%

Ether (ETH): $2955, +14.17%

S&P 500 daily close: $4501, +0.52%

Gold: $1808 per troy ounce, +0.12%

Ten-year Treasury yield daily close: 1.93%


Bitcoin, ether and gold prices are taken at approximately 4pm New York time. Bitcoin is the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index (XBX); Ether is the CoinDesk Ether Price Index (ETX); Gold is the COMEX spot price. Information about CoinDesk Indices can be found at coindesk.com/indices.

Short liquidations rise

Friday's crypto rally forced many short sellers to liquidate positions.

Liquidations occur when an exchange forcefully closes a trader’s leveraged position as a safety mechanism due to a partial or total loss of the trader’s initial margin. That happens primarily in futures trading.

Ether traders, who reacted to a larger price jump, exited short positions in greater numbers than bitcoin traders over the past 24 hours. While the chart below does not indicate an extreme short squeeze, the steady decline in long liquidations since Jan. 20 crash could mean that selling pressure is starting to fade.

"Much of the momentum is likely due to $160 million of combined short liquidations for BTC and ETH over the past 24 hours," FundStrat wrote in a Friday note. That means large liquidations are partly responsible for accelerated price movements in the crypto spot market.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Ether total liquidations (Coinglass)

Entering the value zone

For now, traders are keeping a close eye on nearby resistance levels in BTC and ETH. A sustained rise in trading volume over the weekend could encourage more buying activity.

"An essential boundary for ether will be the $3K mark. A return in the price above this level could further encourage buyers and reject the idea of a crypto winter following the example of 2018," Kuptsikevich wrote.

And for bitcoin, some analysts are monitoring the cryptocurrency's market-value-to-realized-value ratio (MVRV), which compares the aggregate cost basis of BTC holders relative to the current market value. It is essentially a "fair value" metric.

The "MVRV ratio is currently hovering around 1.5, which does leave some room for it to fall further. Historical lows around ~0.75-1.0 have typically served as solid long-term entry points, though MVRV has fallen to the same level we saw last summer before BTC reversed course and broke to new [all-time highs]," Delphi Digital wrote in a blog post.

Still, like many indicators, MVRV is not a precise buy/sell signal. Some analysts prefer to see MVRV rise above deep value levels to confirm a price recovery.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Bitcoin MVRV Ratio (Delphi Digital)

Altcoin roundup

  • Choppy trading in metaverse tokens: Metaverse-related tokens took a hit in the past two days as Meta, formerly known as Facebook, reported a $10 billion loss on its augmented and virtual reality division in an earnings release earlier this week. That setback will directly impact the market perception of other metaverses, a developer said. Tokens of blockchain-based games Axie Infinity (AXS), The Sandbox (SAND) and Gala (GALA) fell as much as 12% in the past 24 hours, although losses were quickly retraced as the crypto market rallied later in the North American trading day.
  • DeFi skepticism: “From what we can tell, most DeFi lending is simply over-collateralized crypto loans to other holders of crypto so that the latter can either (a) buy more crypto or (b) obtain liquidity against appreciated crypto holdings without incurring capital gains taxes. Either way, it does not appear to be the kind of lending activity that could survive a large sustained decline in crypto prices themselves,” Michael Cembalest, JPMorgan Asset and Wealth Management’s chairman of market and investment strategy, wrote in a report. Read more here.
  • Day traders unhappy with India crypto tax: Aditya Singh, a co-founder of Crypto India, said 1% TDS is too much, and with enough trades, an entity's initial account capital would be significantly depleted. However, Rajat Lalwani, a SHIB holder and moderator at Shiba Inu India Official, a Telegram group with more than 2,000 India-based retail investors, said the new tax structure is less of a concern for long-term holders. Read more from CoinDesk's Omkar Godbole here.

Relevant news

Other markets

Digital assets in the CoinDesk 20 ended the day higher.

Largest gainers:

Asset Ticker Returns Sector
Ethereum ETH +14.2% Smart Contract Platform
Solana SOL +14.0% Smart Contract Platform
Bitcoin BTC +11.3% Currency

There were no losers in the CoinDesk 20 on Friday.

Sector classifications are provided via the Digital Asset Classification Standard (DACS), developed by CoinDesk Indices to provide a reliable, comprehensive, and standardized classification system for digital assets. The CoinDesk 20 is a ranking of the largest digital assets by volume on trusted exchanges.

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Damanick is a crypto market analyst at CoinDesk where he writes the daily Market Wrap and provides technical analysis. He is a Chartered Market Technician designation holder and member of the CMT Association. Damanick is also an equity/fixed income portfolio manager and does not invest in digital assets.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Damanick is a crypto market analyst at CoinDesk where he writes the daily Market Wrap and provides technical analysis. He is a Chartered Market Technician designation holder and member of the CMT Association. Damanick is also an equity/fixed income portfolio manager and does not invest in digital assets.

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