Bitcoin Price: Bulls Wait in the Wings as Low Volumes Persist

Bitcoin continued to trade in a tight range on Friday, with prices seemingly unaffected by the latest turbulence in global stock markets.

BTC/USD Update

The bitcoin price clocked highs of $6,597.40 on Bitfinex Friday. At the time of writing, BTC/USD was trading hands at  $6,552 for a gain of 0.4%. The leading digital currency has traded within an $82 range over the past 24 hours. Tepid trading volumes are further reflected by a sharp drop in volumes over the past week. As of Friday, bitcoin’s 24-hour volumes amounted to just $3.3 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.

Bitcoin dipped below $6,500 earlier this week but has shown little signs of extending its downtrend. A brief fall below $6,400 was quickly snatched up by short-sellers.

Despite the narrow moves, bitcoin still holds nearly 54% of the cryptocurrency market capitalization. With few exceptions, tokens and altcoins have made very little moves in either direction this week.

Renewed Stability

Bitcoin’s stable trading ranges are an encouraging sign for long-term holders who are relying on the digital asset’s store of value characteristics. Volatility in the bitcoin price has been declining all year long thanks in part to gradual adoption at the institutional level. As Hacked previously reported, the launch of bitcoin futures in December seems to have influenced the sharp drop in volatility. This suggests that wider adoption could make bitcoin a more predictable asset from the perspective of valuation.

It is generally believed that a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) will unleash pent-up demand among institutional investors eager to diversify into crypto without having to deposit money on virtual currency exchanges. While the debate over crypto ETFs continues to swirl, the next major breakthrough could be months away as Intercontinental Exchange prepares to launch its new cryptocurrency trading platform.

The owner of the New York Stock Exchange will officially launch the Bakkt trading platform on Dec. 12, giving investors access to physically settled bitcoin futures contracts. Investors who purchase a contract will have physical bitcoin deposited into their account on settlement.

Bitcoin continues to trade independently of the broader financial markets, an encouraging sign for investors looking to diversify away from political risks, economic instability and rising interest rates. U.S. stocks rebounded sharply on Thursday following one of the biggest selloffs in recent memory. Volatile trading is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. The CBOE Volatility Index, also known as the VIX, points to further pain ahead for U.S. stocks.

Wall Street is heading for another volatile open on Friday, based on futures prices. Dow Jones mini futures are down 236 points as of 6:45 a.m. ET. The S&P 500 futures contract is off 33 points. The Nasdaq 100 has plunged 163.50 points.

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.

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, 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