Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies ended February with a sharp rebound, which extended into March, albeit at a slower pace.
It appears that bearish sentiment is starting to fade despite ongoing geopolitical risk. For example, the bitcoin Fear & Greed Index, which measures the mood among crypto traders, rose from "extreme fear" territory and is back around neutral levels.
Meanwhile, bitcoin's average trading volume across spot exchanges reached the highest level since December on Tuesday, which could be an early sign of capitulation among sellers. The ratio of buy volume relative to sell volume also ticked higher over the past week, suggesting renewed bullish activity.
Still, other market indicators are neutral as some buyers remain on the sidelines.
Traders in bitcoin's perpetual swaps market are "not convinced by the recent rally," according to a report by Arcane Research. "Despite yesterday’s liquidation uptick, the perpetual swap open interest remained fairly stable, falling from 223,000 BTC to 219,000 BTC, suggesting that traders are actively re-adjusting risk," the firm wrote.
Historically, March tends to be a difficult month for bitcoin and equities. Analysts expect macroeconomic and geopolitical risks to linger, which could cause short-term volatility. At a later point, price action could stabilize as the probability of positive BTC returns increases over the next few months.
●Bitcoin (BTC): $44035, +5.83%
●Ether (ETH): $2968, +5.36%
●S&P 500 daily close: $4306, −1.55%
●Gold: $1949 per troy ounce, +2.59%
●Ten-year Treasury yield daily close: 1.71%
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.
Mixed returns in February
February was a volatile month in crypto markets, triggered by macroeconomic and geopolitical risks. Still, there were some clear winners such as XRP, which outperformed the CoinDesk 20 crypto list with a 29% return. The CoinDesk 20 filters thousands of cryptocurrencies by market capitalization and trading volume across exchanges.
Bitcoin also outperformed traditional markets in February, albeit with greater volatility.
The chart below shows bitcoin's leap toward the end of the month, which was well ahead of gold's 5% gain and the S&P 500's 3% loss.
Seasonally weak March
On average, over the past nine years, bitcoin has produced negative returns in March, according to data from StockCharts. While past returns are no guarantee of future returns, investors are still bracing themselves for economic and political uncertainty next month.
"This is a very difficult environment for risky assets," Edward Moya, an analyst at Oanda, wrote in an email to CoinDesk. Inflation will likely become the focal point among investors next month, which could pressure central banks to be more aggressive with tightening monetary policy, according to Moya.
"If financial markets grow nervous that the [U.S.] Federal Reserve will become more aggressive in removing accommodation, bitcoin could settle back to the lower boundaries of its widening trading range just below the $40,000 level," Moya wrote.
Still, Moya expects downside could be limited given the recent stabilization in crypto prices.
- One THETA trader lost $11M to liquidations as prices jumped 18%: A lone trader lost more than $11 million on a single futures trade involving Theta Networks’ THETA token as the price jumped 18% in 24 hours. The trade, among the largest for mid-cap cryptos in recent months, occurred on crypto exchange Binance and formed the largest part of the $11.67 million in liquidations on THETA futures. Usually, the largest liquidations occur on futures tracking bitcoin (BTC) or ether (ETH), the two most-traded cryptocurrencies, according to CoinDesk’s Shaurya Malwa. Read more here.
- Terra’s LUNA jumps 25%: Terra’s LUNA token has jumped as much as 25% since Feb. 28, leading gains among major cryptocurrencies in a broader market recovery. LUNA reached weekly highs of $95.36 before traders took profits and sent prices lower. Read more here.
- SOL, ETH, AVAX, ADA, ATOM rose with bitcoin: Solana (SOL) was up as much as 11% since early Monday, while ether (ETH) was up as much as 11% over the same period. Ether’s open interest was up 6%. Avalanche (AVAX) was up as much as 9%, while Cardano's ADA token was up as much as 5%. Read more here.
Digital assets in the CoinDesk 20 ended the day higher.
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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