Prices of blockchain-based assets are climbing amid a fresh bout of uncertainty regarding cryptocurrency regulation and enforcement in China,
- Bitcoin (BTC) was trading at $36,278 as of 21:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET), jumping 10.2% over the previous 24 hours.
- Bitcoin’s 24-hour range: $32,557-$36,890 (CoinDesk 20)
- Ether (ETH) trading at $2,561 as of 21:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET). In the green 2.3% over the previous 24 hours.
- Ether’s 24-hour range: $2,418-$2,613 (CoinDesk 20)
Bitcoin price popping
Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, was in the green Wednesday by 10.2% as of press time. The price was above the 10-hour moving average and the 50-hour moving average, a bullish signal for market technicians.
The price of bitcoin jumped from $32,557 at 02:00 UTC (10 p.m. ET Tuesday) to $36,890 by 17:20 UTC (1:20 p.m. ET) Wednesday, a 13.3% gain based on CoinDesk 20 data. Bitcoin then lost a bit of steam, dropping to $36,278 as of press time.
Bitcoin traders appear to be ignoring potentially dismal news for crypto in China. That includes a shutdown order for miners in Qinghai province, the ban of some blockchain keywords across the country and arrests of more than 1,000 people for potential crypto money laundering.
In fact, on-chain data suggests that there is much less bitcoin dry powder on exchanges the past few weeks, as some crypto investors are clearly buying and scooping BTC into off-trading venue wallets.
“One signal in favor of continuation for the current bullish reversal is the amount of BTC seen leaving exchanges from an on-chain perspective,” said Sean Rooney, head of research for digital asset manager Valkyrie Investments. Exchange outflow throughout this recovery was the highest experienced so far in 2021, he said.
Bitcoin reserves dropping
According to data aggregator CryptoQuant, exchange holdings across major venues is down to $2.46 million, the lowest since May 17.
Rooney believes the pattern will need to persist for bitcoin to pop back above $40,000.
“This trend will need to continue to break through heavy resistance around $42,000,” Rooney added. “This bounce from oversold conditions was potentially aided by a much needed positive sentiment with growing hopes of adoption in El Salvador.”
Dull bitcoin futures market
Since May 19, when futures open interest (OI) on the BTC market was at $12.1 billion, a bearish-to-sideways condition has developed in derivatives.
As of press time, bitcoin futures OI is at $11.1 billion, an 8% drop and a reversal from ever-climbing futures OI seen earlier this year. The figure reached an all-time high of $27.4 billion in OI on April 13, according to data aggregator Skew.
Smart money that usually places derivatives positions are sitting out now, noted Elie Le Rest, partner at quantitative fund ExoAlpha.
“Traders still have some doubts on where the market is heading, so leverage has remained relatively low,” Le Rest said. “Bitcoin breaking $40,000 could give the boost in traders’ confidence to leverage again to power new highs in the crypto market.”
Ether fees at three-month low
The second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, ether, was trading at $2,561 as of 21:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET), a 2.3% gain in the prior 24 hours. The asset is above the 10-hour moving average and the 50-hour moving average, a bull indicator for market technicians.
The price of using the Ethereum network, known as gas, has fallen to a three-month low, at 16 gwei median or middle price as of press time, according to data analysis portal Dune Analytics. Gwei is the smallest unit of account for ether, representing an increment of one billionth.
Peter Chan, lead trader at OneBit Quant, attributed the high gas fees to a war between competing automated trading systems for arbitrage opportunities in Ethereum’s decentralized finance, or DeFi, ecosystem. For example, on May 11, the median gas price was at 311 gwei, almost 20 times the level witnessed on Wednesday.
“There are no more gas wars between arbitrage bots now,” Chan said. “So even when the market is volatile, arb bots will not push up the gas price.”
In the alternative cryptocurrency market, ExoAlpha’s Le Rest is keeping an eye on tokens associated with Ethereum competitors.
“Alternative chains are putting a lot of efforts to take DeFi market share,” Le Rest told CoinDesk. Those could include Binance Smart Chain, Solana and Avalanche, he said.
Digital assets on the CoinDesk 20 are all higher Wednesday. Notable winners as of 21:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET):
- The S&P 500 in the United States fell 0.10% as the index's industrial and financial sectors took some losses Wednesday.
- Gold was down 0.13% at $1,889 per ounce as of press time.
- The 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yield fell 3% Wednesday to 1.489%.