Bitcoin Plunged 11% in Worst Week Since FTX’s Collapse. What’s Next for BTC’s Price?

BTC slipped below $26,000 amid the crypto market mayhem.

AccessTimeIconAug 18, 2023 at 6:50 p.m. UTC
Updated Aug 19, 2023 at 9:44 a.m. UTC
  • BTC’s fall below $26,000 is poised to be the worst weekly decline since the collapse of FTX.
  • Absence of a decision in the closely followed Grayscale vs. SEC lawsuit didn’t support the recovery.
  • Market observers are divided on whether the correction is over.

Bitcoin (BTC) is poised to endure its worst weekly decline since the FTX crash last November following the crypto market mayhem seen Thursday, and optimistics’ hopes were dashed when a pivotal decision in the court battled between Grayscale and U.S. regulators – which could support BTC’s price – failed to materialize Friday.

BTC’s price slipped below $26,000 Friday afternoon after a rally toward $27,000 – which erased some of Thursday’s sharp decline – fizzled. The largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization had plummeted to $25,392 Thursday afternoon, hitting its lowest price since mid-June, amid cascading liquidations of leveraged trading positions.

The price action puts the flagship crypto’s decline at roughly 11% this week, on track for the worst weekly return since November’s market crash to $15,000 that was induced by the failure of Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX.

Ether (ETH), XRP, MATIC, DOGE and SHIB’s prices sink, too

Ether (ETH) dropped some 10% during the week, holding up slightly better than BTC due to news that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is willing to approve exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, that hold ETH futures. The second-largest crypto, however, entered into “significant downtrend” for the first time in two months, according to CoinDesk’s trend indicator, suggesting strong momentum to the downside.

Ripple’s XRP, Polygon’s MATIC and popular dog-themed memecoins DOGE and SHIB suffered 15% to 20% losses this week.

The CoinDesk Market Index, proxy for the broader crypto market performance, fell more than 12% during the week.

No decision yet on Grayscale’s bitcoin trust

Market observers had been focused on 11 a.m. ET (15:00 UTC) Friday, when there was reason to believe there could be a court decision in the legal feud between investment manager Grayscale and the SEC. But the time came and went with nothing announced.

Grayscale – a subsidiary of DCG, which also owns CoinDesk – wants to convert its $12 billion GBTC bitcoin trust into an ETF – which could dramatically improve its appeal to investors – but the regulator rejected it. Grayscale sued to overturn the decision.

The verdict “looms large” over the market, Rachel Lin, CEO and co-founder of derivatives decentralized exchange SynFutures, said in an email.

“A favorable outcome might provide a substantial tailwind for BTC,” she explained. “Although an adverse ruling wouldn't inherently spell doom for BTC, it might accentuate prevailing bearish sentiments.”

In the absence of any decision, bitcoin’s price dipped below $26,000 after trading above that price for most of the day.

Short squeeze or another leg down?

Some observers tied Thursday's decline to news events such as macroeconomic gloom, but the drop can be explained by excessive leverage, crypto market analytics firm K33 Research wrote in a report.

“The sudden drop in crypto prices was driven by market structure rather than news,” K33 said. “While many have tried to hang the sharp drop on different news, ranging from news of SpaceX (Tesla) selling BTC or increased expectations of interest rate hikes in the U.S., none of these can explain the timing or the sharpness of the drop.”

“However, the build-up of leverage – open interest in the derivatives market – created the perfect conditions for rapid feedback loops, as evidenced by the sizable amount of liquidations and subsequent drop in open interest,” K33 added.

The flush out might actually be positive for BTC’s prospects, the report argued. “There is no reason this drop should lead to a continued negative trend. If anything, the wipeout of longs and increased shorting may lay the foundations for an upcoming short squeeze.”

QCP Capital differs, expecting another leg down to near $24,000 around the end of September.

“We believe that a lot now rests on [U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome] Powell's speech at Jackson Hole next week, but having held the very key 24-25k zone on this move, our wave count calls for an end to the corrective Wave A here, a bounce in Wave B to retest the bottom of the wedge,” the firm explained in a market update sent via Telegram. “This ends off with the final Wave to end the quarter.”

(QCP Capital)
(QCP Capital)

Michael Silberberg, head of investor relations at AltTab Capital, said in an email that the recent dip offers investors a chance to add to their stash if they have a longer time horizon.

“Despite this drop, we still saw new inflows over the past week as long-term investors, like ourselves, saw discounted prices as an opportunity to accumulate more bitcoin,” he said.

Edited by Nick Baker.


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Krisztian  Sandor

Krisztian Sandor is a reporter on the U.S. markets team focusing on stablecoins and institutional investment. He holds BTC and ETH.