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Bitcoin Price Breaks Two-Day Slide; Mining Difficulty Plummets

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Bitcoin’s price bounced back on Tuesday, regaining a crucial support level following a two-day slide that was driven by technical repositioning. The leading digital currency is caught in a cycle of dumps and consolidation, signaling continued uncertainty over the short term.

BTC/USD Update

The bitcoin price notched a session high of 4,075.90 on Bitfinex, recovering from a two-day slide that drove values back down to the $3,700 region. At the time of writing, BTC/USD was valued at $4,068, having gained 4.3% over the previous day.

Aggregate data courtesy of CoinMarketCap show an average bitcoin price of $4,032 at the time of writing. Trade volumes in the last 24 hours reached $5.4 billion, with derivatives platform BitMEX processing a growing share of the transactions. This suggests short selling was a major factor in the recent downtrend.

Bitcoin’s trajectory can be summed up accurately by a recent Twitter post courtesy of Hsaka, a popular digital currency analyst:

“Dump, consolidation, dump. One of the most frequently occurring patterns on the corn, generally has three legs to it. Targeting the next blue level on a clean break of the swing low.”

For the latest reversal to be legitimate, bitcoin must continue to hold above $4,000 and generate enough momentum to test last week’s highs of around $4,500. The amount of volume in the market suggests this is possible, though the overarching presence of short-sellers is an indication that traders are keen on dumping short-term rallies for quick profits.

Mining Difficulty Adjusts for Price Drop

Bitcoin’s year-long bear market has put considerable pressure on miners, whose profit margins have been eroded by perpetually lower prices. According to recent data, hundreds of thousands of miners were put out of commission temporarily by the recent price collapse. However, their fortunes may be changing now that declining hash rates have triggered an automatic drop in bitcoin mining difficulty.

According to new data by Blockchain.com, bitcoin’s mining difficulty has adjusted lower amid the downtrend. In less than two months, mining difficulty has declined by nearly 16%. Looking back over the years, there doesn’t seem to be many comparable drops in mining difficulty, based on the following chart:

The recent drop in mining difficulty is the second largest in bitcoin’s history, according to Fernando Ulrich, chief analyst at XDEX. For the biggest drop, we have to go all the way back to Nov. 1, 2011 when bitcoin mining difficulty fell 18%.

It is generally believed that $6,000 is the minimum price threshold bitcoin must achieve for miners to maintain their profitability. Bitcoin spent the majority of the year well north of that level, including an extended period of relative price stability during the third quarter.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.7 stars on average, based on 772 rated postsChief Editor to Hacked.com and Contributor to CCN.com, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi




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Altcoins

Crypto Markets are Up $16 Billion Since Sunday; What’s Behind the Rally?

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Cryptocurrency prices are flashing green on Tuesday, as bitcoin and the major altcoins extended an early-week rally that was brought on by a sudden surge in trade volumes. The market’s performance over the past two days suggests that the big buyers are absorbing selling pressure following weeks of mostly lateral moves for the majors.

Market Update

The combined value of all coins reached $135.8 billion on Tuesday, the highest since early January, according to CoinMarketCap. The total market capitalization has increased by nearly $16 billion since Sunday.

At the time of writing, the top 30 coins were all reporting gains. Double-digit gainers included EOS (+15.3%), bitcoin cash (+10.6%) and Stellar (+11.6). Each of these top cryptocurrencies were considered severely oversold during the latest bout of selling pressure that extended into February.

EOS is tracking weekly gains of 30% and has moved well north of $3.60. The cryptocurrency had been firmly capped below $3.00 since November amid the wider market downturn and fallout from the ICO bust. EOS currently has a market capitalization of more than $3.3 billion, inching closer to its ICO value of $4 billion.

Oversized gains for EOS pushed Litecoin back down to the no. 5 spot in the crypto market cap index. Litecoin is currently trading below $49.00, having gained 5.3%.

Bitcoin, the market’s primary bellwether, reached an average aggregate price of $4,010.15, according to CoinMarketCap. That represents a gain of 5% over the past 24 hours. The bitcoin price traded as high as $4.083 on Bitfinex. More on this story: Bitcoin Blows Past $4,000 as Volume Surges to 10-Month High.

Volumes Tell a Story

An eye-popping surge in trade volume across all exchanges and cryptocurrencies was the primary catalyst behind the rally. But what’s driving volume, and why was the burst so sudden? A closer look at exchange-based volumes reveals that market activity has been rising steadily since at least October. In fact, data from Flipside Crypto reveals that the volume pump may have originated last summer when long-dormant bitcoin accounts began transferring funds onto exchanges.

Bitcoin’s circulating supply has been rising since last July, with the most dramatic surge occurring over a 30-day stretch between December and January. As Hacked reported at the time, “It’s clear that many of these dormant account holders are preparing to become active traders once again.”

Volumes have been consistently higher throughout the year. Ethereum, the market’s no. 2 cryptocurrency by total capitalization, recently printed its largest-ever volume on Bitfinex. Over a three-week period ending Feb. 15, so-called “smart money” absorbed selling pressure to the tune of 13.627 million ETH. That was equivalent to $1.8 billion at the time. As Hacked analyst Kiril Nikolaev noted, “Whales had to commit such an amount to keep prices from falling further. Even for rich people, this is a huge investment.”

Related: Ethereum Price Analysis: Volume Spike Pushes ETH/USD to Monthly Highs.

Trade volumes across all exchanges and cryptocurrencies topped $36 billion on Tuesday. During long stretches of ‘crypto winter,’ daily trade volumes were in the $10-$12 billion range. Since the new year, daily turnover has averaged more than $15 billion.

Disclaimer: The author owns Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.7 stars on average, based on 772 rated postsChief Editor to Hacked.com and Contributor to CCN.com, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi




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Bitcoin

Bitcoin Blows Past $4,000 as Volume Surges to 10-Month High

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Bitcoin’s bulls maintained full control of the market on Tuesday, as the BTC/USD exchange rate crossed $4,000 for the first time since early January. In the process, exchange-based volumes surged to their highest levels in ten months.

BTC/USD: Breakout Eyed

The bitcoin price crossed $4,000 on Bitfinex and reached a session high of $4,048, the highest since Jan. 8. At the time of writing, BTC/USD printed $4,006.30 on Bitfinex, having gained 0.7%. The leading digital currency has maintained strong momentum amid the latest rally, according to the hourly relative strength index (RSI).

Aggregate data provided by CoinMarketCap show an average bitcoin price of $3,921.67 as of Tuesday morning. That’s a gain of 4.2% over 24-hour cycle.

Read more: Bitcoin Surges to Five-Week High; Crypto Bulls Reignite?

In terms of technical indicators, bitcoin must return above $4,200 to negate the long-term down trend This represents the high from late December and was also the 15-week moving average prior to the last breakout attempt. Beyond that, the bulls must return above $5,500 and eventually break the 50-week moving average near $6,800 to convince traders that a full-blown recovery was afoot.

Has Bitcoin Bottomed? A Closer Look at the Bullish and Bearish Cases

Trade Volumes Surge

The rally on Tuesday is a continuation of a sudden breakout that began more than 24 hours ago. On Monday, bitcoin and the broader cryptocurrency market rose to five-week highs thanks to a confluence of technical and fundamental forces.

A significant rise in trade volumes has underpinned the market’s push north. More than $10 billion worth of bitcoin traded hands on virtual exchanges in the last 24 hours. According to CoinMarketCap data, that the highest since April 2018. Virtual currency exchanges processed nearly $36 billion worth of cryptocurrency transactions over the same period.

The following chart highlights the extent of the volume surge on individual exchanges. Three exchanges processed more than $1 billion in adjusted volume; 12 more reported adjusted volumes of $500 million or greater. The billion-dollar exchanges are Binance, Bit-Z and OKEx.

The volume surge has contributed to higher volatility over the past two days. As of Monday, bitcoin’s 30-day volatility index rose to 2.24%, according to bitvol.info. That’s a gain of 32 basis points from Sunday, when volatility fell to three-month lows.

For crypto traders, volatility is a double-edged sword. Dramatic swings in prices make it more difficult to time their market entry or to rely on technical analysis to determine future positions. High volatility can also lead to rapid declines in prices. At the same time, the 2017 bull market showed that volatility can lead to parabolic gains for bitcoin and its altcoin peers.

Disclaimer: The author owns Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.7 stars on average, based on 772 rated postsChief Editor to Hacked.com and Contributor to CCN.com, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi




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Analysis

Crypto Update: Ethereum Leads Second Phase of Rally

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The major cryptocurrencies are all significantly higher today amid the US market holiday, with most of the top digital currencies also hitting their highest levels in a month. Today’s leaders also took out the highs set during the Litecoin-led spike 10 days ago, and the new swing highs mean that the counter-trend move continues. The negative long-term forces a

Our trend model is still on short-term buy signals in most cases, with the relatively weak Ripple still being the most important exception, but for now, the bearish long-term picture is unchanged, and traders should still use strict risk management strategies, as, despite the rally, bear market rules still apply. That said, investors could hold on to their smaller speculative positions, since the short-term break-out patterns in the segment remain intact, despite the still dominant negative long-term forces.

ETH/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ethereum built upon its recent short-term relative strength, surging past the $120 and $130 resistance levels, outperforming its closest peers and leading the way higher for the whole segment. With the new swing high, a new short-term uptrend is established, and our trend model remains on a short-term buy signal, but the long-term trend remains bearish.

The long-term outlook is still negative for ETH, but the coin could test the $160 resistance level, which marked the top of the previous counter-trend move in the coming days. The coin is currently trading near the $145 resistance level, and although it’s slightly overbought from a short-term perspective, the next resistance level could be reached in the coming days.

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

While Bitcoin has been slightly lagging behind Ethereum during the current rally, it not just recaptured the $3600 support/resistance level, but also managed to rally up to the next key zone near $3850. BTC remains on a short-term buy signal in our trend model despite its relative weakness, but from a long-term perspective, it’s still in a clearly bearish setup.

With that in mind, investors should still expect a move towards the $3250 and $3000 support levels following the current counter-trend move, but traders could still hold smaller, speculative positions in the coin. Further strong resistance is ahead between $4000 and $4050, while below $3600, support is found just above $3450.

XRP/USDT, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ripple continues to be relatively weak compared to the broader market, and although it topped the $0.32 level amid today’s broad rally, it’s still only neutral in our trend model even from a short-term perspective. Also, the long-term setup is still hostile for bulls, and the test of the $0.28 and $0.26 levels still seems likely in the coming weeks, with strong resistance levels also ahead neat $0.3550, and $$0.3750.

Litecoin Hits Marginal New High as EOS Soars

LTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

LTC haven’t been able to retain its leadership during today’s move, and although it scored a new marginal swing high, ending the short-term correction, the momentum of the current upswing is not convincing. Should LTC form a failed break-out pattern, our trend model will switch to neutral, but for now, the currency remains on a buy signal.

From a long-term perspective, Litecoin is still clearly in a bearish trend, so traders and investors should only consider short-term positions, but for now the break-out remains intact. The next level of resistance is ahead near $51, while is now found near $44, $38, and $34.50.

EOS/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

EOS was also among the relatively stronger coins during the recent week, and after a failed move, today it surged to a significant new swing high, hitting the $3.50 resistance in the process. Our trend model remained on a short-term buy signal, during the recent consolidation, and although traders could take some chips off the table near the $3.50 level, the short-term trend is now bullish.

That said, the bearish long-term forces are still dominant in the market of EOS, and although the coin might test the $4.50-$5 zone, odds still the retest of the bear market low near $1.55 in the coming months. That said, traders could still to their short-term positions, following strict risk management rules, with support now found near $3, $2,80, and $2.55.

Featured image from Shutterstock

Disclaimer:  The analyst owns cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but doesn’t engage in short-term or day-trading, nor does he hold short positions on any of the coins.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.7 stars on average, based on 466 rated postsTrader and financial analyst, with 10 years of experience in the field. An expert in technical analysis and risk management, but also an avid practitioner of value investment and passive strategies, with a passion towards anything that is connected to the market.




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