Bitcoin and Ethereum: Have the crypto markets peaked?

By March 29, 2023DeFi
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Though bitcoin (BTC) initially slumped to the mid-26k range on Tuesday in the wake of a regulatory fright for the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance, the benchmark cryptocurrency saw a bullish groundswell as the trading session progressed.

BTC/USDT actually ended up in the green by session end, indicating that bitcoin’s remarkable resilience recently in the face of a barrage of external pressures could remain for a while to come.

Driving that fact home is today’s ongoing bullishness, with the BTC/USDT pair adding nearly 3% at the time of writing, successfully breaking above the 28k resistance point once again.

Bitcoin looks determined to eke out a stable pricing range somewhere between 27k and 29k, leaving the door open for a bullish push to the psychological 30k barrier.

It could be a tough battle, particularly since Binance’s order book shows overwhelming selling pressure along the way.

Bitcoin (BTC) stays strong, for now – Source:
Bitcoin (BTC) stays strong, for now – Source:

One thing seems apparent: The amount of available liquidity in the market is rapidly declining.

Market maker Keyrock explained to Reuters that slippage – the price spread between buying and executing a trade – on Coinbase’s BTC/USD pair is 2.5-times higher than it was at the start of the month.

Daily bitcoin trading volumes per CoinMarketCap data have stuck below US$20bn for the past four days, down from over US$50bn at the height of bitcoin’s mid-March super rally.

One of the driving factors is intense regulatory pressure being applied to prominent fiat on-ramps including Coinbase and Binance, with spooked traders being wary about using the platforms for fears of another FTX-sized disaster.

Reduced trading volumes and available liquidity tend to favour volatility, which is great if you’re savvy enough to play the market right, but they present genuine headwinds to bitcoin’s currently elevated price.

Ethereum (ETH) closed yesterday’s session 3.7% higher at US$1,770 before managing to shoot above US$1,800 this morning.

Similar to bitcoin, ETH’s order book shows an overwhelming bearish threat to any plays above the current price point, particularly around US$1,850.

Has the rally peaked? There is an argument to suggest it has, particularly with the safe-haven gold rush starting to cool down.

A pragmatic view would have the top-two cryptocurrencies flattening out for a while, if not receding back from their overbought positions.

Ripple will not calm down

Speaking of overbought, payment token Ripple (XRP) is still managing to post huge daily gains, with another 7% added yesterday and once again today. Week-on-week gains have exceeded 20%.

At US$0.551, XRP is close to testing the August 2022 high of US$0.559. Breaking above this price point would bring XRP to price points not seen since May 2022.

XRP’s insane rally is off the back of speculation about a legal win against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), but it risks toppling over if investors decide to sell the news after buying the rumour for so long.

The long-running SEC dispute centred around a purported US$1.3bn unregistered securities offering is apparently poised to wrap up, with consensus among spectators weighing on a Ripple Labs victory.

However, there is no certainty of a victory until a declaration is made.

Global cryptocurrency market capitalisation added 3.8% to US$1.18tn overnight, while total value locked in the decentralised finance (DeFi) space added 2.4% to US$49.7bn.

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