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Bitcoin Breakout Ahead? Crypto Traders May Want That TradFi Connection


Bitcoin, S&P 500 and CPI Talking Points:

  • The Market Perspective: Bitcoin Bullish Above 17,750 and Bearish Below 16,500
  • Debate continues around what role Bitcoin and the broader digital currency space plays in the grander financial system
  • Investors’ speculative appetite still represents a significant influence in the benchmark crypto, but is the feedback loop strong enough for top event risk ahead to break BTC from its range?

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The crypto market has been extremely quiet as of late. While there has been some activity in areas like Litecoin or Dogecoin – and generally further out from the core players – at the market’s center is Bitcoin’s incredibly restrictive range. Much of the last phase of volatility that we experienced last from this market was the response to the FTX collapse. The crypto broker and hedge fund’s rapid progression to bankruptcy began on November 2nd when a report from CoinDesk highlighted that significant holdings from its hedge fund connection, Alameda Research, were concentrated in FTT which is a token created by FTX. The real market movement began on November 6th however when the CEO of rival Binance stated he would sell all of the company’s FTT (an estimated $580 million) which triggered what participants in normal financial markets would have described as a ‘bank run’. Peak selloff occurred over November 8th and 9th when Binance said it would buy FTX and then withdrew its offer after due diligence. Since that seismic shock to the crypto exchange space, we have swung from extreme activity to extreme inactivity. In fact, over the past 10 trading days (equivalent of two weeks), BTCUSD has seen its historical range plunge to 4 percent of spot while its ATR (average true range, as a measure of volatility) dropped to 1.8 percent. These are the restrictive measures from this market since July of 2020.

Chart of Bitcoin with 10-Day Historical Range and ATR (Daily)

For the true diehards of the crypto space (Bitcoin, digital assets and blockchain in general), they should want to seek out a permanent reduction in volatility for the space. If decentralized finance is to become the plumbing of the system so frequently discussed in the more philosophical channels, stability is a key aspect of such a foundation. Such ‘utilities’ generally experience very little price fluctuation as part of their connection to the overall system. Anything of this type that suffers high levels of volatility leads to economic issues such as the hyperinflation that has been experienced by the world over the past year. However, despite the near 75 percent drop from its just over a year ago and the significant moderation in day-to-day and week-to-week volatility, there remains a speculative interest. Without that connection, the skepticism from traditionalist monetary policy and financial players along with the regulatory pressure could dramatically curb the industry. Looking at the statistical connections between Bitcoin and speculative favorite S&P 500, the 20-day and 60-day (1 and 3 month) rolling correlations are have been strong through last month. Of late though, the 20-day correlation is essentially zero (no discernable relationship) and 60-day is strongly inverted. However, with such heavy event risk this week for the traditional trader to consider, it is possible that the pinch on liquidity everywhere can effect the portfolio exposure in this space – just as it does equities, Treasuries and other assets.

Chart of Bitcoin Overlaid with S&P 500 with 20 and 60-Day Correlations (Daily)

While the FTX debacle was unfolding in early November, it is worth nothing that despite the uncertainty of the broker’s situation after the Binance deal fell through on the 9th, Bitcoin still managed to rally smartly on the 10th of the month. That may because traders in the crypto market realized at that point that the collapse of the once-key player was not a systemic threat to the market overall. Then again, the speculative charge related to the slower than expected October CPI print that led the S&P 500 to rally sharply was a similar salve to this asset. Its worth noting on a shorter time frame chart, the runs between the two assets seems to align neatly. If the volatility in the tradfi market needs to hit a certain peak to feedback into crypto, we have the potential ahead. In Tuesday’s trading session, we have the newest reading from last month’s fundamental dynamite (November CPI) while Wednesday offers up the FOMC rate decision.

Calendar of Major Macro Event Risks for Next 24 Hours

Calendar Created by John Kicklighter


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