Bitcoin is hitting fresh highs during a surge past $15,000 while investors may be overlooking the upside of ether in 2020.
- Bitcoin (BTC) trading around $15,087 as of 21:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET). Gaining 7.7% over the previous 24 hours.
- Bitcoin’s 24-hour range: $14,005-$15,306
- BTC above its 10-day and 50-day moving averages, a bullish signal for market technicians.
The price of bitcoin jumped Thursday, going up to $15,306 around 15:50 UTC (10:50 a.m. ET), according to CoinDesk 20 data, taking it to its highest price point since Jan. 8, 2018, when bitcoin’s high was $15,360. It has dipped since, settling at $15,087 as of press time.
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“Bitcoin is above the psychological threshold of $15,000 today on strongly positive momentum, having cleared resistance from 2019,” said Katie Stockton, a technical analyst for Fairlead Strategies.
Momentum, in the form of volume, was strong Thursday on leading USD/BTC spot exchanges. It was $1,233,248,261 as of press time, the highest since Oct. 21 when volume hit $1,273,812,127.
Stockton suspects momentum may subside, which may cause a price pullback. “There are some signs of short-term upside exhaustion from an overbought/oversold perspective supporting a few weeks of consolidation, but we would see this as healthy from a technical perspective.”
Analysts still see bitcoin as an asset to bet on in uncertain times over the long term.
“The U.S. is going to push the spending button again no matter who wins the White House,” noted Henrik Kugelberg. Next year “will probably see more individual support payments all over the world, and some of that money is inevitably gonna be placed in bitcoin.”
“The macroeconomic situation in the U.S. and elsewhere is far more uncertain, and concerns about COVID-19’s resurgence sending the economy back into a tailspin are not entirely unfounded,” noted Guy Hirsch, U.S. managing director at multi-asset brokerage eToro. “All in all, it feels like a perfect storm for retail [bitcoin] adoption that’s coming right at the beginning of an expected wave of institutional capital,” he added. While most markets are up Thursday along with crypto, the U.S. Dollar Index, a measure of the greenback versus a basket of other fiat currencies, is in the red 0.88% Thursday as of press time, down 1.6% since the start of November.
In the futures market, open interest for bitcoin contracts was back at $5.4 billion, with CME’s $804 million taking third place of all venues as institutional investors poured money in. The CME is a U.S.-regulated exchange for larger investors and brokerages, therefore its open interest growth is a signal large players are placing hedges and directional positions as part of some sort of bitcoin strategy.
“Interestingly, while aggregate futures open interest (OI) has risen back to $5.4 billion (late October highs), the increments were very steady and managed,” noted Denis Vinokourov, head of research at digital asset prime broker Bequant. “This suggests that the more regulated entities that operate in the current ecosystem are taking a more pragmatic approach to the current FOMO.“
Ether outperforming bitcoin
The second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, ether (ETH), was up Thursday, trading around $414 and climbing 3.4% in 24 hours as of 21:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET).
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Bitcoin boosters like to talk about its 2020 price gains as a hedge against an uncertain global economy. However, ether has done even better than bitcoin so far this year, up 210% versus bitcoin’s 95% gains.
John Willock, chief executive officer of crypto liquidity provider Tritum, said investors like ether’s potential as both a hedge and a bet on the possible future of finance.
“Ether holds similar qualities to bitcoin as a general economic uncertainty hedge but also has the added value of utility with the network it powers,” Willock said. “With the long-anticipated forthcoming ETH 2.0 proof-of-stake upgrade, it will, from an investment perspective, become a yield-bearing instrument which has much broader appeal.”
Digital assets on the CoinDesk 20 are all green Thursday. Notable winners as of 21:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET):
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- Oil was down 1.5%. Price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude: $38.52.
- Gold was in the green 2.5% and at $1,950 as of press time.
- U.S. Treasury bond yields were mixed Thursday. Yields, which move in the opposite direction as price, were up most on the two-year bond, climbing to 0.149 and in the green 1.3%.