Bitcoin Below $60K Could Trigger 'Panic' Selling, Crypto Analyst Says

One trader said recent declines are likely related to miners' asset sell-offs and fears of tighter regulation of cryptocurrencies.

AccessTimeIconMay 13, 2024 at 10:52 a.m. UTC
  • Since March, the market has been range-bound between $60,000 and $70,000, with the halving event in April not providing the expected boost due to a general lack of market catalysts, a trader said.
  • One firm said short-term bitcoin holders, who have historically influenced market trends, might play a significant role in the coming months.
  • After periods when 94% of both long—and short-term holders were in profit, there has been a shift towards selling, leading to significant drawdowns in the following four to six months. The current cycle could follow a similar pattern if institutional demand and macroeconomic conditions weaken.

Bitcoin (BTC) could see a panic sell-off if it closes under the $60,000 level in the coming days, according to FxPro trader Alex Kuptsikevich. Crypto traders are targeting a break above $65,000 before sentiment can be deemed bullish.

BTC briefly jumped to over $63,000 in European morning hours on Monday, jolting alternative and major tokens. Ether (ETH), Solana’s SOL and dogecoin (DOGE) 3% in the past 24 hours, with most gains coming after BTC’s rise.

TON, the token of the Tonchain blockchain closely related to the messaging service Telegram, rose 7%, leading the jump among majors.

The CoinDesk 20 (CD20), a broad-based liquid index of the biggest tokens minus stablecoins, was up 2.24%.

BTC has largely remained range-bound between $60,000 and $70,000 since March, with the highly-anticipated halving event in April turning out to be a sell-the-news play amid a general lack of market catalysts. Inflows from exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have waned in the past few weeks, as reported, adding to a bearish sentiment.

Alex Kuptsikevich said in a Monday note to CoinDesk that price action has been characterized by a sequence of lower lows and lower highs, marking a sign of investors selling into strength on price rallies.

“There is pressure likely related to asset sell-offs by miners and fears of tighter regulation of cryptocurrencies,” Kuptsikevich said, referring to the drop in mining difficulty after April’s halving.

“A failure below $60K could trigger something of a panic sell-off. The positive scenario, in our opinion, will become the main one with a rise above $65K, fixing the price at the 50-day moving average and the reversal area in early May,” he added.

Mining difficulty measures how difficult it is for miners to solve mathematical puzzles that accept and confirm transactions on a proof-of-work blockchain. The increase in resources required to solve these puzzles strains miners' businesses, making them unprofitable and resulting in fewer miners.

Short-term holders may influence drawdowns

Elsewhere, analysts at crypto investment firm Ryze Labs said in a weekly note that the behavior of short-term bitcoin holders—or those who hold the tokens for less than 155 days—could largely influence markets in the coming months.

Ryze Labs said there have been three instances in which 94% of both long—and short-term Bitcoin holders were in profit: from mid-November 2017 to mid-April 2017, mid-February to mid-April 2021, and most recently, from the end of February 2024 to the beginning of April.

Short-term and long-term investor behaviour has historically preceded market movements. (Ryze Labs)
Short-term and long-term investor behaviour has historically preceded market movements. (Ryze Labs)

The peak values of Bitcoin held by short-term investors were $117.8 billion in 2017 and $289.9 billion in 2021. During these times, long-term holders and miners sold Bitcoin to short-term holders, who held it for less than 155 days.

However, following these peaks, short-term holder losses increased rapidly, leading to a cycle inversion in which short-term sellers sold to long-term holders. The team observed that this shift has historically resulted in significant bitcoin price drawdowns in the following four to six months.

“In the most recent cycle, short-term holders had Bitcoin valued at $218.9 billion. While most were initially in profit, they started to sell actively. About one month after this period, the maximum price drawdown from the period's high is approximately -6%,” the analysts said.

“The current cycle may differ from previous ones due to institutional demand supported by improving macroeconomic conditions. However, if these supportive factors weaken, a Bitcoin price drawdown similar to past cycles could occur,” they added.

Edited by Parikshit Mishra.


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Shaurya Malwa

Shaurya is the Deputy Managing Editor for the Data & Tokens team, focusing on decentralized finance, markets, on-chain data, and governance across all major and minor blockchains.

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