Bitcoin’s Year of Accumulation

Although bitcoin looks poised to extend its January losing streak to five consecutive years, 2019 will be a year of slow accumulation for the virtual currency, according to Eric Thies, a well-known technical analyst. In the meantime, traders can expect the bear market to reach its climax once a new yearly bottom is breached.

Accumulation Year

In promoting the view that 2019 will be an accumulation year for bitcoin, Thies directed our attention to the major bear trend that emerged in 2015. That was the year bitcoin exhibited significant volatility, albeit in a lower range. Following the latest breakdown in price, bitcoin could be in for a similar trading pattern this year.

“Similar to 2015, 2019 may be the year of accumulation,” Thies said, according to CCN. This means bitcoin is likely to be an attractive investment in $2,000-$4,000 range – even with wild swings priced in.

Bitcoin’s volatility regime has changed dramatically in the last two months. Following a period of unprecedented calm, volatility surged to nine-month highs in the back end of December. Volatility will likely remain a factor for the foreseeable future as the technical tug-of-war continues. More on this: Bitcoin Maintains Narrow Trading Range as Recovery Faces More Resistance.

Circulation Grows

That bitcoin will remain highly volatile is supported by the recent influx of digital currency into circulation. Anonymous owners of dormant bitcoin wallets have been trading with greater frequency since October, which means their activity may have predated the November price collapse.

Data from Flipside Crypto recently showed that long-dormant bitcoin wallets have accounted for about 60% of the market’s circulating supply in the last 30 days alone. What’s more, active bitcoin supply has increased by a whopping 40% since the summer. This, of course, feeds into higher expected volatility.

If that’s not enough, consider that 1,000 addresses hold 85% of available bitcoin. As Bloomberg recently noted, many of these holders remained on the sidelines during the 2017 bull run and its subsequent collapse. If dormant accounts are becoming active again, there’s good reason to suggest that the whales are looking to re-enter the market.

Not Overnight

It’s reasonable to expect that bitcoin will become more attractive at lower prices, especially as more institutional investors access the crypto market in the coming year. But that doesn’t mean the accumulation will happen overnight. Previous bear cycles have taught us that downtrends can stretch for 1-2 years before any noticeable accumulation takes place. The only difference this time is there are more people involved, and more eyeballs on the price.

Additional reading: Crypto Winter and the Fed?

To demonstrate bitcoin’s potential at current levels, and why 2019 will be an attractive year to boost one’s holdings, it’s worthwhile to reflect on the cryptocurrency’s yearly lows rather than its highs. Below is a quick snapshot of bitcoin’s yearly bottoms stretching all the way back to 2012:

  • 2012: $4
  • 2013: $65
  • 2014: $200
  • 2015: $185
  • 2016: $365
  • 2017: $780
  • 2018: $3,200

Traders tend to focus on bitcoin’s lack of new all-time highs as evidence that the market is going nowhere, but these figures clearly show that BTC is a solid investment at almost any period in the last seven years (of course, this isn’t the case if you bought during the peak of 2018).

Make no mistake: technical analysis and market sentiment clearly show there is more pain ahead for bitcoin and the broader cryptocurrency market. But as the long-term value proposition continues to hold, there’s strong reason to believe we haven’t seen the last bull market. In the meantime, 2019 prices could represent a unique buying opportunity for those who missed the boat two years ago.

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