Bitcoin’s Stalled Recovery Keeps the Bulls in Check

The bitcoin recovery engine stalled on Monday, setting the stage for a possible price reversal that mirrors last week’s 70-day low. With the total market cap so low, a decline in bitcoin would almost assuredly lead to a similar correction for other cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin Price Levels

Bitcoin prices reached a low of $6,335.77 on Monday, as bearish pressure continued to undermine last week’s modest recovery. Bitcoin rallied to a high around $6,700 last Thursday shortly after bottoming near $6,100.

The cryptocurrency later recovered around $6,660A7 but remains in a bearish pattern going all the way back to June 9. BTC/USD is down roughly $1,000 over that stretch. Price action over the past 24 hours suggests that a further breakdown is probable.

The cryptocurrency market cap reached a high of $284 billion on Monday. Bitcoin and altcoins exhibited price stability over the weekend as trading volumes continued to plummet.

Depressed Market

As we reported this weekend, cryptocurrencies have witnessed a steady decline in trading volume that could make the market more prone to volatility. Daily trade volumes bottomed near $9.5 billion Sunday, the lowest in over two months. Volumes are down a staggering 80% since the market peaked in early January.

The absence of new money paints the picture of a depressed market in need of direction. With organic searches for “bitcoin” and “cryptocurrency” the lowest in around nine months, a large influx of new retail traders is highly unlikely.

Exchanges such as Coinbase are betting big that the next major catalyst will come not from retail traders, but large institutions. To help make that a reality, Coinbase has launched a new crypto-custody service targeting bitcoin whales. According to crypto hedge fund manager Kyle Samani, regulated custody services are the game changer that will attract institutional-scale capital.

“There are a lot of investors where custodianship was the final barrier,” Samani told Bloomberg in a phone interview. “Over the next year, the market will come to recognize that custodianship is a solved problem. This will unlock a big wave of capital.”

Coinbase isn’t the only organization vying to become a qualified custodian. Goldman-backed Circle and BitGo have also been in negotiation with regulators on the matter. Earlier this year, investment bank Nomura Holdings joined forces with two cryptocurrency firms to create a custody consortium. Bloomberg reports that at least three Wall Street custodians – Bank of New York Mellon Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Northern Trust Corp. – are exploring cryptocurrency custody services.

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