100 days to the halving — 5 things to know in Bitcoin this week

    2024.01.08 | exchangesranking | 86onlookers

    Bitcoin (BTC) starts the second week of 2024 at a key moment in its history — one which may shape BTC price action for a long time to come.

    The United States is due to decide on — and should reportedly allow — its first spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).

    With a decision due by Jan. 10, the event comes after months of buzz, uncertainty and years of failed launch attempts.

    This time should be different, crypto industry sources believe, and as Wall Street prepares to open the week’s trading, a clear sense of anticipation pervades Bitcoin circles.

    What will happen in the coming days?

    Bitcoin traders have plenty to contend with — and not just the ETF. U.S. macro data is due, offering an update on the fight against inflation and potential volatility for risk assets.

    However, with on-chain indicators pointing higher, confidence in upside continuation for BTC/USD is building in step.

    Cointelegraph takes a closer look into the current state of the market as Bitcoin prepares for a crunch test of its mettle at the hands of regulators.

    Bitcoin ETF showdown enters its final days

    Like it or loathe it, this week is all about the spot Bitcoin ETF.

    What has been years in the making is about to potentially see the light of day in what constitutes a make-or-break moment for institutional Bitcoin adoption.

    The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has divided the industry with its reluctant approach to certifying spot ETF applications. This is tipped to have changed, but at the time of writing on Jan. 8, no firm confirmation that the ETFs can trade has been received.

    The U.S. is already a lone holdout when it comes to the products — spot Bitcoin ETFs already form part of the landscape in Europe and elsewhere, with only the United Kingdom forbidding them.

    Uncertainty over the U.S. pivot has come in many forms, the latest among which was a rumor of political sabotage just days before the Jan. 10 final deadline.

    This was subsequently dealt with by Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Eric Balchunas and James Seyffart, who together provide some of the most thorough coverage of the ETFs’ road to approval.

    Laying out his own roadmap for the week, Nate Geraci, a dedicated ETF consultant, supported the odds of the SEC waving applications through.

    “Key is 19b-4 approval orders, which I expect,” part of a thread on X (formerly Twitter) stated, forecasting a decision right at the deadline.

    Geraci added that seeing the kind of capital available on launch day would be fascinating.

    “Should be another wild week… Can’t wait to see how this all turns out!” he concluded.

    Traders remain cool over what might happen to BTC price action, even in the event of an SEC greenlight. A popular theory calls for snap losses followed by a slower recovery — a so-called “sell the news” phenomenon.

    However, the longer-term implications are clear for Michaël van de Poppe, founder and CEO of trading firm MN Trading.

    “The Bitcoin ETF is going to have a massive impact to the crypto markets,” he told X subscribers on Jan. 7.

    “Approx. $30-60 billion in liquidity flowing into the markets, through which Bitcoin will face a bull cycle comparable to the http://Dot.com bubble or Gold in 2004-2011.”

    “Gradually then suddenly” for BTC price?

    Short timeframes meanwhile reveal a “calm before the storm” on Bitcoin.

    BTC/USD 1-hour chart. Source: TradingView

    The weekly close came in at around $44,000, with BTC/USD continuing to act within a narrow trading range present since early December, per data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView.

    The start of Asia trading saw a reversal from closer to $43,000, but no firm trend had been established at the time of writing.

    Analyzing the situation, popular trader Skew noted the need to preserve the 200-period simple (MA) and exponential (EMA) moving averages on hourly timeframes.

    “Impulse swept previous high before sell off & also weekly open. Key is to reclaim weekly open & hold 1H 200EMA & MA as support, initial triggers for being long imo,” he explained.

    “Not chasing market for longs yet till triggers & till orderbooks support with better bid depth.”

    Skew also touched on the status quo regarding funding rates. These had been overly positive prior to last week’s liquidation flush, but have now reset to sustainable levels.

    “Spot decides price direction next but in terms of net positioning there’s probably a ton of longs in the market now so those longs will require spot bid from here,” a further post continued.

    CPI week overshadowed

    If the ETFs were not enough, Bitcoin traders must also contend with U.S. macro data prints this week.

    These are key to the overall narrative surrounding inflation and Federal Reserve policy, with crypto markets looking for signs of unwinding interest rate hikes.

    Jan. 11 and 12, respectively, will see the December prints of both the Consumer Price Index and Producer Price Index. Both are known to spark short-term volatility across risk assets.

    “Volatility is already back to kick off the New Year. Currently, we are 3 weeks out from the next Fed meeting,” trading resource The Kobeissi Letter wrote in part of commentary on an overview of macro diary dates.

    Kobeissi referred to the upcoming meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, or FOMC, where any changes to rates will be decided.

    According to data from CME Group’s FedWatch Tool, however, markets remain convinced that no significant shift in stance is to be expected this month.

    Fed target rate probabilities chart. Source: CME Group

    Indicators fuel Bitcoin bull case

    When it comes to classic bull signals, Bitcoin on-chain indicators are providing optimism.

    Continuing from last month, the relative strength index (RSI) is acting within neutral territory after diverging from rising spot prices on daily timeframes.

    “Bitcoin Daily RSI slowly resetting during this consolidation inside of a pennant,” analyst Matthew Hyland summarized in a dedicated X post on Jan. 1.

    “The RSI also reached its lowest level not seen since $27k during this consolidation. The trend is in an uptrend, which favors upside if in a continuation pattern which BTC currently is in.”
    Bitcoin daily RSI data. Source: Matthew Hyland/X

    Equally buoyant was popular commentator Trader Tardigrade, who looked to weekly RSI cues for bullish signals.

    Others are eyeing a breakout from rangebound BTC price action. The Bollinger Bands volatility indicator, still constricting, is suggesting that spot price will soon be acting in a much wider environment.

    Bitcoin halving in 100 days and counting

    In the background, another Bitcoin countdown is entering its final stages.

    Related: March banking crisis rerun risks 40% Bitcoin price crash — Arthur Hayes

    This is the path to the next block subsidy halving, and estimates see it hitting in exactly 100 days.

    The event will reduce the block subsidy, or block reward, earned by miners per block by 50% to 3.125 BTC.

    “Even though bitcoin’s anticipated spot ETF has captured most of the industry’s airspace, another value driver might actually occur before the spot ETF launch itself. That driver obviously is April’s halving,” Timo Oinonen, a contributor to on-chain analytics platform CryptoQuant, wrote in one of its Quicktake posts on Jan. 7.

    Miners face implications when it comes to profitability as a result of the halving, but so far, data shows ongoing reductions in their BTC balances.

    According to on-chain analytics firm Glassnode, Bitcoin held in miner wallets currently amounts to 1.819 million BTC, down from 1.827 million BTC at the start of December.

    Bitcoin miner BTC balance chart. Source: Glassnode

    Oinonen noted that technology firm MicroStrategy, which already has the largest corporate BTC treasury of any public company, tends to increase purchases in the run-up to halving events.

    This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.

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