Crypto Markets Analysis: Fear Abates as Bitcoin Enters New Level of Support

Whale investors do not appear to be selling into the bitcoin rally, a sign of increasing confidence.

AccessTimeIconJan 17, 2023 at 8:48 p.m. UTC
Updated Jan 17, 2023 at 11:40 p.m. UTC

Bitcoin (BTC) and most other major cryptos have been soaring, but the upswing may only be part of the reason for investors to be optimistic.

Several key trading trends are pointing upward for the first time in months, suggesting the current rally will be more than just a temporary improvement. They reflect surging investor confidence that has also carried stock markets higher, albeit to a lesser degree than cryptocurrencies, and offer a welcome pause from months-long negativity that sent riskier assets dramatically lower throughout 2023.

"Whale" investors are not moving BTC onto exchanges as they often do during dramatic price surges, over-the-counter (OTC) desks have sharply increased their holdings and the Crypto Fear & Greed Index, a widely watched measure of investor sentiment, has entered neutral territory for the first time in 10 months.

Bitcoin was recently snugly perched above $21,000, which may become its new support threshold. Ether (ETH) was holding steady above $1,500 after weeks of hobbling below $1,200. Equity markets have risen more moderately, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq and S&P 500, which has a hefty technology component, climbing 5.8% and 2.8%, respectively. How long these trends continue is uncertain of course. The ensuing weeks will be interesting.

Whale investor activity

Given their size, whales – investors holding at least 1,000 bitcoin – can significantly affect markets through their buying and selling.

Whale Net Volume to Exchanges (Glassnode)
Whale Net Volume to Exchanges (Glassnode)

Whales' recent lack of movement indicates they do not view the recent rally as a selling opportunity. This trend still bears monitoring but appears to be positive for long investors.

Increased over-the-counter bitcoin holdings.

As referenced in Tuesday’s First Mover Americas, the amount of BTC that investors are holding on OTC desks has risen 70% since Jan. 11.

The increased OTC holdings often signal increased institutional demand. Investors can also use OTC desks to source more capital than they can on a singular exchange, which also implies an uptick in investor demand.

The most sophisticated investors use OTC desks to acquire an asset quietly and more efficiently than they could in open markets..

The Fear & Greed Index turns 'neutral'

The Fear & Greed index ranges from 0 to 100. Lower numbers reflect negative sentiment (fear) and buying opportunities, while higher numbers indicate that markets are overheated and that investors might consider selling their bitcoin.

The current 51 reading is the first time in 10 months that the indicator has broken from the “Fear” range. The Fear & Greed Index stood below 10 just seven months ago and hovered in the mid 20s for much of the fall and early winter weeks.

Fear and Greed Index (
Fear and Greed Index (


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Glenn Williams

Glenn C Williams Jr, CMT is a Crypto Markets Analyst with an initial background in traditional finance. His experience includes research and analysis of individual cryptocurrencies, defi protocols, and crypto-based funds. He owns BTC, ETH, UNI, DOT, MATIC, and AVAX

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.