Week in Review: As Cryptos Sell-Off, Bitcoin Approaches Major Inflection point

A decision by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to delay a ruling on a keenly awaited bitcoin ETF triggered a fresh selling wave across all major cryptocurrencies on Tuesday. Three days later, the market has yet to engineer a meaningful recovery, with bitcoin eyeing a major inflection point that could dictate its short-term future.

Cryptos See Red

The cryptocurrency market bottomed near $219 billion on Tuesday, the lowest in a year, according to CoinMarketCap. The ensuing recovery only managed to tack on $13 billion in market capitalization as the bears maintained their control of the market. By Friday, the market was worth roughly $226.6 billion, down $37 billion from last week.

With the exception of Tether, the so-called dollar-backed stablecoin, all major cryptocurrencies in the top-ten reported heavy losses over the past seven days. In fact, Cardano’s ADA was the only major not to report double-digit percentage losses.

IOTA declined by a staggering 35% amid fresh controversy at the Berlin-based Foundation. Ripple XRP plunged more than 23% while EOS fell 22%.

Increasingly, the fate of these and other currencies is being dictated by bitcoin, whose share of the overall market swelled to 49.2% on Friday, the highest since December.

Bitcoin: Where Next?

As the market’s most important bellwether, bitcoin’s precipitous decline over the past three weeks has been especially painful. On Tuesday, BTC completed a 28% reversal from the July 24 swing high, pushing prices into oversold territory.

The leading digital currency rallied to a high near $6,630 on Bitfinex Thursday but has since backed off those levels. What’s more, a shaky defense of the most recent swing low ($6,126.50) has raised the specter of a more protracted breakdown below $6,000 – a move that would expose the June low of $5,755.

Based on the above scenario, a return to the previous day’s high is likely needed to engineer a sustainable short-term recovery. Short-term momentum is on the side of the bears, according to the relative strength index (RSI). That being said, daily trading volume of $4.6 billion remains well above the minimum threshold typically reuired for a corrective rally.

U.S. Dollar Hits One-Year High

In traditional markets, the U.S. dollar surged to one-year highs Friday after the collapse of the Turkish lira fueled fresh demand for the greenback. At its lowest point, the lira was down almost 16% against the dollar and 47% in the past 52 weeks, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. dollar index (DXY), which tracks the performance of the greenback against six currencies not including the lira, piked 0.7% to 96.20. The world’s leading currency has returned more than 4.4% in 2018 despite one of the worst starts to a year on record.

Meanwhile, the months-long devaluation of the yuan renminbi continued Friday, as the Chinese currency headed for its ninth consecutive weekly losing streak. The decline comes even after the People’s Bank of China made it costlier to short the yuan.

The Week Ahead

The digital currency market is entering a period of heightened uncertainty as bitcoin eyes a major technical inflection point. As the BTC dominance index clearly demonstrates, wherever bitcoin goes the market will follow.

The market’s 12-month low suggests that crypto psychology is damaged, with investors discounting the wave of positive fundamental developments concerning bitcoin custody. Intercontinental Exchange and Boerse Stuttgart, two of the world’s largest stock exchange operators, have recently announced big plans to bring crypto trading mainstream investors.

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 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