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Is crypto crash over? Market debates direction as BTC nears $36k

By Daniela Ešnerová


Updated

Coin with bitcoin (BTC) logo with charts superimposed on it
Market may be reaching some form of price and momentum equilibrium, say analysts – Photo: Shutterstock

Bitcoin (BTC) showed signs of stabilising after a five-day sell-off that wiped out almost a quarter of its value.

The original cryptocurrency was trading above $36,000 (£26,700) in European morning trade on Tuesday, up a six-month low near $33,000 reached on Monday. Overall cryptocurrency market capitalisation held near $1.63tn, having declined by more than half a trillion dollars in 2022 so far.

The worst performer of the past seven-day period among the biggest virtual currencies – those with $10bn or more in value – was solana (SOL) with a 32.3% loss, followed by polygon (MATIC) with a 32.1% decline and cardano (ADA) with 30.6%.

The crypto slump came against the backdrop of a broader financial-market sell-off fuelled by fears of faster inflation.

What’s been driving the crypto slump?

Bitcoin has now lost 50% of its value since reaching an all-time high above $69,000 in November.

According to Adrian Kolody, co-founder of Domination Finance, a decentralised exchange for trading dominance pairs, the cryptocurrency sell-off reflected the following factors:

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  • Fear of higher interest rates. At its meeting this week, the US Federal Reserve is expected to signal higher interest rates
  • Sharp declines in other asset classes such as equities. The S&P 500 has lost almost 9% so far in January
  • Panic selling by new crypto investors who aren’t used to the characteristic high volatility of the asset class
  • Leverage trading

‘Retail fear index’

“Plenty of new people have entered the crypto space,” Kolody said in emailed comments. “They aren’t as attached to cryptocurrencies as a veteran crypto investor would be. The sell-off continues and crypto traders expect a rebound of some kind and open up large leverage positions long and when the first support breaks.”

“This compounding market effects only drive up the retail fear index,” he added. “Some newer retail investors who might still be in profit end up selling off so they don’t end up with unrealised gains, and this sometimes catches bullish leverage traders off guard. Once this happens and the market consolidates, investors alike feel comfortable rolling the dice again.”

‘Bears have the upper hand’

Noud Bouwhuis, a business analyst at Blockchain Investments, points out some data, signalling some bullish trends in the market, such as illiquid supply is at its all-time high but warns of more choppy waters ahead. 

“As it seems, the bears have the upper hand. An important reason for recovery would be a new injection of institutional money, which currently appears to be tenuous. As the futures market shows potential for more liquidation of longs, the short-term outlook may further motivate underwater sellers to capitulate,” Bouwhuis says.

XRP/USD

0.63 Price
+4.640% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0753%
Short position overnight fee 0.0069%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.01168

SOL/USD

180.71 Price
+3.320% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0753%
Short position overnight fee 0.0069%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 2.2652

ETH/USD

3,374.84 Price
-3.210% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0616%
Short position overnight fee 0.0137%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 6.00

BTC/USD

65,984.05 Price
+0.120% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0616%
Short position overnight fee 0.0137%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 106.00

“Considering on-chain data, there is evidence that the market is reaching some form of price and momentum equilibrium within the bearish market structure. All in all, with the equity markets at unrest, the crypto market follows suit. However, modest bullish divergences across a number of on-chain metrics do give some hope.”

Chart of the day:

McDonald’s-themed posts flooded crypto twitter during the market crash.

First, the president of El Salvador, the first country which adopted bitcoin as legal tender, and cryptocurrency advocate, Nayib Bukele, opened a poll on his Twitter account asking: “Should I quit my job at McDonald’s and open a Bitcoin Burger”. He also changed his profile picture to one with a photoshopped McDonald’s cap.

The fast-food chain then asked restless crypto enthusiasts: “How are you doing people who run crypto twitter accounts.” 

Michael Saylor, founder-CEO of software company MicroStrategy, the biggest corporate owner of bitcoin, and crypto enthusiast replied with his photoshopped image with a McDonald’s cap: “Doin’ whatever it takes to acquire more bitcoin...”

Dutch pseudonymous economist and author of bitcoin price prediction model, PlanB, joined in the theme with a chart in the shape of McDonald’s logo.

Social media sentiment:

Two cryptocurrency-themed Twitter accounts posed two very different questions as BTC was crashing

Top coins by market capitalisation

As of 09:30 GMT

Winners and losers

  • Alcoins cosmos (ATOM), fantom (FTM) and elrond (EGLD) jumped 15.42%, 14.03% and 11.65% in just 24 hours
  • Solana (SOL), polygon (MATIC) and cardano (ADA) plummeted 32.3%, 32.1% and 30.6% over the last week

Read more: El Salvador bitcoin math does not add up: Analyst

Markets in this article

BNB/USD
Binance Coin / USD
586.65 USD
-1.91 -0.330%
BNB/USD
Binance Coin / USD
586.65 USD
-1.91 -0.330%
BNB/USD
Binance Coin / USD
586.65 USD
-1.91 -0.330%
BTC/USD
Bitcoin / USD
65984.05 USD
81.5 +0.120%
ETH/USD
Ethereum / USD
3374.84 USD
-111.79 -3.210%

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The difference between trading assets and CFDs
The main difference between CFD trading and trading assets, such as commodities and stocks, is that you don’t own the underlying asset when you trade on a CFD.
You can still benefit if the market moves in your favour, or make a loss if it moves against you. However, with traditional trading you enter a contract to exchange the legal ownership of the individual shares or the commodities for money, and you own this until you sell it again.
CFDs are leveraged products, which means that you only need to deposit a percentage of the full value of the CFD trade in order to open a position. But with traditional trading, you buy the assets for the full amount. In the UK, there is no stamp duty on CFD trading, but there is when you buy stocks, for example.
CFDs attract overnight costs to hold the trades (unless you use 1-1 leverage), which makes them more suited to short-term trading opportunities. Stocks and commodities are more normally bought and held for longer. You might also pay a broker commission or fees when buying and selling assets direct and you’d need somewhere to store them safely.
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