BofA: Crypto Buying Momentum Fades as Investors Weigh Bear Market Bounce, Recession Risk

The chance of a more hawkish Federal Reserve and the likelihood of interest rates staying higher for longer hasn't been fully priced into risky assets, the bank said.

AccessTimeIconSep 1, 2022 at 11:12 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 1, 2022 at 8:16 p.m. UTC

Will Canny is CoinDesk's finance reporter.

Crypto investors are switching into stablecoins, a type of cryptocurrency whose value is pegged to another asset like the U.S. dollar or gold, and out of more volatile assets because of uncertainty about the sustainability of the “bear market bounce” and the potential for a hard recession in the U.S., Bank of America (BAC) said in a research podcast Wednesday.

While most risky assets, including digital ones, have rallied strongly from June lows, the chance of a more hawkish stance from the U.S. Federal Reserve and the likelihood that higher interest rates will persist for longer haven't been fully priced in, Alkesh Shah, head of digital asset research, said in the podcast.

“Risk assets, including crypto and digital assets, are likely experiencing a classic bear market rebound after a significant sell-off,” Shah said.

The bank’s token flow analysis shows that crypto buying momentum is fading and investors are defensively rotating into stablecoins. That is because of the uncertainty about whether broader financial markets are in a “bear market rally” – a short-term rebound during a more pervasive decline – and whether slower-than-expected growth, especially next year, could lead to more weakness for risky assets, including cryptocurrencies.

The Merge, the first of five planned software upgrades for the Ethereum blockchain, planned for later this month, will be a major milestone for the digital assets sector, Shah said, because it will remove one of the “major adoption barriers” for applications built on the network, such as non-fungible-tokens (NFTs) and stablecoins, by reducing energy usage by over 99%.

NFTs are digital assets on a blockchain that represent ownership of virtual or physical items and can be sold or traded.

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Will Canny is CoinDesk's finance reporter.

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Will Canny is CoinDesk's finance reporter.