Bitcoin Price Showing Little Upside as Trade Volumes Approach Yearly Lows

Bitcoin resumed its sideways action on Saturday, as declining trade volumes kept price action subdued following a minor dip during the previous session. The leading digital currency is showing little signs of recovery after bouncing off a psychological support on Friday.

BTC/USD Update

Bitcoin is currently changing hands at $6,483, according to CoinMarketCap. Prices were little changed compared with the previous session. BTC fluctuated within a $50 range on most exchanges, though Bitfinex was reporting a $100 range from peak-to-trough. The digital currency continues to trade at a $100+ premium on Bitfinex.

The bitcoin price briefly fell below $6,400 on Friday before rebounding later in the session. It has held above that psychological threshold for the past 24 hours.

Trade volumes are down another 5% on Saturday, a continuation of a pattern first observed on Tuesday. Bitcoin’s price and trade volume skyrocketed on Monday as traders liquidated their holdings of USDT, a controversial stablecoin used to buy digital assets. BTC trade volumes averaged $3.5 billion on Saturday, according to latest available data.

Bitcoin and Stocks

Widely regarded as an emerging haven asset, bitcoin has been unable to capitalize on the recent collapse in global stock prices. This has led many in the investment community to temper their expectations that BTC offers a risk-off alternative to equities. Although bitcoin and U.S. stocks have shown some signs of correlation recently, this isn’t enough to justify the claim that investors are hedging their bets with cryptocurrency. At the same time, gold prices have risen sharply amid the selloff, with the December futures contract hitting fresh three-month highs.

Investors often mistaken bitcoin’s status as non-correlated asset with inverse correlation – meaning, they expect BTC to rise when stocks fall and vice versa. This isn’t generally what we mean by “non-correlated asset.”

When we say bitcoin is non-correlated, we mean its price does not move in lockstep with the broader market nor is it influenced by the same technical and fundamental factors that drive stocks, bonds, currencies and so on. This lack of correlation has been promoted as a safe haven for investors looking to diversify away from traditional market risks, but that doesn’t mean they’ve taken up the offer.

This also doesn’t mean that cryptos like bitcoin aren’t influenced by investor sentiment or fundamental drivers – they most certainly are. However, bitcoin’s fundamental drivers have proven to be different from those that drive equities. For example, BTC does not react to economic data or central bank decisions, whereas stocks and currencies certainly do.

Understanding the difference between non-correlation and inverse correlation becomes more important as stock markets enter a more volatile stage in their development. While U.S. stocks have managed to bounce back after multiple selloffs this year, China remains a major source of risk. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index is down 12% this month and 23% since Jan. 1.

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