Market Signs Look Healthy as Bitcoin Sell-Off Subsides


Bitcoin (BTC) was down for a fourth straight day, though changing hands well above Monday’s low around $30,000. After soaring to a new all-time high around $40,000 last week, prices have tumbled about 13% since Saturday, the most for a three-day stretch since March 2020, according to TradingView. 

“Volatility is the price you pay for performance,” as the investing-legend-turned-bitcoin-bull Bill Miller put it last week to CNBC.

In traditional markets, Asian shares rose on Tuesday and European indexes were little changed. U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher open. The possibility of further economic stimulus and turbulent U.S. politics helped push yields on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes to 1.16%, the highest since March,  according to CNBC

Related: As Bitcoin Regains Lost Ground, Options Traders Bet on $52K Move by Late January

According to Bloomberg News, that political situation could entail the U.S. House of Representatives impeaching President Donald Trump with fewer than 10 days to go in his presidency because Vice President Mike Pence appears unlikely to invoke constitutional authority to remove the president from office.  

Gold strengthened 0.9% to $1,861 an ounce. 

Market moves

A high price does not a market make. But guess what does? High trading volume. 

One of the important things to note about the bitcoin market during this year’s rally is the record amount of cryptocurrency changing hands. That was true of the rapid ascent to new all-time highs above $40,000, and it’s also been true on the way down

Related: Bitcoin Whales Kept Accumulating During Monday’s Crash

What it means is the market is staying liquid, seen as a healthy attribute especially when prices are on the move. You might be a buyer at what might seem like nosebleed levels, but you’re not the only one.

As reported Monday by CoinDesk’s Muyao Shen, trading volumes and active addresses for bitcoin have now surpassed their previous all-time highs during the last crypto bull run of 2017.  

“This is first and foremost a sign of how much bigger and mature the industry is, with a lot more money flowing on these exchanges,” Bendik Norheim Schei, head of research at the Norwegian cryptocurrency analysis firm Arcane Research, told CoinDesk. “It is great to see higher volumes, making the market more liquid and efficient.”

The surging volume due to Monday’s sell-off came in part from newcomers to the market, according to Schei.

“Some of this volume is definitely from new and unexperienced investors entering the market for the first time and panicking when the price starts falling,” he told Shen. “These corrections are necessary and healthy, even in a bull market.”

And those newcomers aren’t necessarily rubes. They might even be sophisticated Wall Street players who have only recently dipped their toes into crypto – a sign of bitcoin’s increasing adoption by big institutional investors as a way of betting on the currency debasement amid trillions of dollars of central bank money printing. 

“The retail-driven spot market, which was pretty much the entire market three years ago, is now part of a much more mature and diverse marketplace that includes derivatives, investment funds and other institutional involvement.” Sui Chung, chief executive of CF Benchmarks, told CoinDesk. 

(For what it’s worth, healthy liquidity is considered such a crucial component of any market that last year the Federal Reserve cited “smooth” functioning of Wall Street’s plumbing as a rationale for continuing its $120 billion monthly bond purchases, a form of monetary stimulus that was previously considered an emergency measure but is increasingly seen as normal.) 

Alongside the flurry of activity on cryptocurrency exchanges, there has also been robust traffic in bitcoin derivatives – financial contracts such as futures, options and “perpetual swaps” traders can use to bet on the cryptocurrency’s…

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