Here’s something for recently emboldened crypto enthusiasts to mull: Bitcoin is now at its most expensive level since just before the spectacular crash of the most widely owned digital currency.
As the coin’s price broke above $5,000 for the first time since November this week, the GTI Global Strength Indicator, a technical analysis tool, showed it’s the most overbought since its run-up to nearly $20,000 in December 2017. Similar patterns have in the past presaged multi-week downturns. Bitcoin climbed another 3 percent on Friday.
“The market got so compressed, volatility was so low, it just went poof! It broke out. It was released from the cage,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Mike McGlone. “Now it’s a question of duration and I suspect when you have such a massive bubble, you’ll always have an overhang of people who need to sell.”
The signal comes amid a sudden and mysterious surge in the price of Bitcoin this week that pushed it to 2019 highs -- even as many market participants struggled to explain what was behind the move. While differing theories played out in the crypto universe, diehards used the opportunity to argue that Bitcoin has bottomed out, an argument that was strengthened as the rally stretched out through the week.
Bitcoin bears countered that the coin’s underlying fundamentals have not changed to make it more attractive. The market’s extremely volatile and investors are still waiting for the wider adoption of cryptocurrencies.
Though Bitcoin’s rallied around 70 percent from its 2018 lows, gaining nearly $2,000 per coin since then, it painfully lurched lower during 2018 and the memory still stings for many investors.
“We continue to expect another leg downward,” said David Tawil, president of crypto hedge fund ProChain Capital. “It’s nice to see a positive move as opposed to a negative move, certainly. But at the same time, for investor purposes, it’s not a particularly comforting move. Certainly, an investor would much rather see a gradual rise with constant floors in terms of downside being established, as opposed to a very, very quick run-up. It could easily be easy come, easy go.”