SAND, the native token of the Ethereum-based virtual-reality platform The Sandbox, has caught up with the rest of the crypto market after weeks of resisting the downward pull.
The cryptocurrency dipped below the widely tracked 200-day moving average (MA) early Tuesday, joining peers from other crypto sub-sectors in signaling a gloomy market mood. The coin slipped under the critical $2.93 level during the Asian trading hours, dropping to its lowest price since Jan. 25, according to Binance data tracked by charting platform TradingView. It last traded under its 200-day MA in July.
The Sandbox introduced a staking mechanism on scaling tool Polygon earlier this month, allowing users to stake SAND without having to worry about gas fees (transaction costs). The move, however, failed to arrest the decline toward the 200-day MA. Staking refers to the process of locking up coins in a blockchain for a specific period of time to contribute to the security of a network in return for rewards.
The 200-day MA, which represents the average UTC closing price for the last 200 days, is a technical indicator used to identify long-term trends. In traditional finance, a general rule is that if a stock is trading below its 200-DMA, the trend is essentially downward.
SAND, which surged over 750% in the final three months of 2021, is perhaps last of the major coins to enter the so-called bearish territory under the 200-day MA.
Bitcoin, the top cryptocurrency by market value, dropped under the average in late December. A week later, ether, the second largest, and play-to-earn game Axie Infinity's AXS coin followed suit. Heavyweights from other sub-sectors like UNI, LINK, XMR, AAVE, PERP and YFI also fell below their 200-day MAs early this year.
The total market cap of cryptocurrencies, excluding bitcoin – the altcoin market cap – stood at $936 billion at press time, well under the 200-day MA at $1.29 trillion. That level was breached in mid-January.
"Majorly professional traders track the high-level indices like total alternative cryptocurrencies' market capitalization and total crypto market value," said Jeetesh Tipe, founder and chief investment officer of Mumbai-based crypto asset management firm MintingM. "Both metrics are now trading under the 200-day MA, hinting at prolonged consolidation.
"Historically, crypto markets' dip under the 200-day MA has been followed by a couple of quarters of consolidation and a renewed move higher. Holding BTC in such situations has proved to be good to protect the downside and reduce the volatility on the overall portfolio," Tipe added.
Independent market strategist and crypto enthusiast Ravi Jain suggests otherwise. "Major coins trading below 200-day MA perhaps signals more pain ahead for the market," Jain told CoinDesk in a WhatsApp chat. "We got a perfect bull market top signal three months ago when bitcoin did not sustain its all-time high on Fed rate hike fears. Since then, bitcoin has cratered with other coins following suit.
"Alternative cryptocurrencies might bleed more as the bitcoin market is showing no signs of panic selling or capitulation by long-term holders and bottom may be far away," Jain added.
Should the SAND bears establish a foothold under the average, more losses may follow. The chart below shows the broader market ran into more substantial selling pressure following the total altcoin market cap's move under the 200-day MA in mid-January.
Still, the 200-day MA is not always reliable as a standalone indicator.
"I use the long moving averages quite a lot ... as do many others. However, please note that it is a lagging indicator. Consequently, it should be used in conjunction with others, never on its own," said Eddie Tofpik, head of technical analysis and senior markets analyst at London-based ADM Investor Services International.
Macro factors appear have aligned bearishly. "Tensions in Europe could be an essential factor in the short term," said Griffin Ardern, a volatility trader from crypto-asset management company Blofin. "In a tense situation, investors will prioritize commodities such as gold and crude oil rather than riskier stocks and cryptos."
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops to invade Eastern Ukraine early today, sending gold higher and stock markets lower. So far bitcoin has remained largely directionless.
"If bitcoin and ether cannot recover, most investors will not pay more attention to other altcoins," Ardern said, adding there is no particular reason to push crypto higher at the moment and the decline will probably continue with the Federal Reserve likely to announce a rate hike in March.
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