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ETC Group Crypto Minutes Week #4
Bitcoin dips to $40k and conviction holders dollar-cost average in; TP ICAP enters crypto with
ETC Group trades; Goldman sees Bitcoin stealing ‘store of value' market from gold; Polkadot and
Tezos outperform; and NFTs shine as corporates race in.
Head of Research
Markets shed $500bn: institutions return to buy the dip
It’s been something of a white-knuckle ride for cryptoasset holders in the past two weeks. The
market shed $500bn and dipped to its lowest level since August 2021 — $1.5trn — with assets
falls across the board.
Inflows of $14m" into institutional investment products, such as ETC Group’s physically-backed
centrally-cleared Bitcoin ETC (BTCE),
(PLKA) and Cardano ETC (RDAN), indicate that investors are
beyond the recent short-term pain and taking advantage of price dips where they can.
2021 was a
record year for
institutional inflows to investment products with $9bn in total flooding into cryptoasset
products trading on regulated exchanges. The turning point was mid-December last year, where
recorded for the first time after 17 consecutive weeks of net inflows to ETCs and ETPs. Data via
now suggests the worst of the fall may be over as institutions turn inflows positive, after five
of outflows totalling $532m".
RSI flashes oversold
We don’t tend to set a huge amount of store in technical analysis indicators, as a rule. Anyone
lines on a chart to ‘prove’ a particular thesis.
However, there is one traditional momentum" metric that remains exceedingly popular just because
it’s easy to
understand: Relative Strength Index or RSI. This shows whether markets are overbought — that
euphoria is at
its peak — or on the opposite side, they are oversold. Presently, crypto markets are flashing
oversold indicators, suggesting that selling exuberance is overdone.
Anything at 70 or above (the green line) on the RSI indicator is considered overbought and a
indicator. Anything 30 or below (the red line) is considered oversold and hence a ‘buy’
indicator. By these
readings Bitcoin is at historically oversold levels and in fact RSI at its lowest point since
around ‘Black Thursday’ in March 2020.
On the second Thursday in March 2020, Bitcoin holders experienced some tense moments when the
price of the
world’s first cryptocurrency crashed 40%, dropping from" $8k to $4.7k overnight.
Leveraged long/short liquidations hit $880m". Critics emerged from all sides to declare the
over. Six weeks later, Bitcoin had regained all of its losses, and in the year that followed ran
up gains of
over 1,000% more. With 20/20 hindsight, it was a great time to buy. As always. those that could
volatility came out on top.
There is now markedly more capital involved in day-trading cryptomarkets than there was in 2020.
On 5 January
where the Bitcoin price dipped from" $45.8k to $43.4k there were $637.68m of long/short trading
liquidated across the top 10 cryptoassets. Leveraged liquidations then hit nearly $1bn overnight
January as Bitcoin blew through support and fell from $40.6k to $36.4k.
Our point being: investors who are in for the long haul need to have (or develop) tolerance for
pain, and screen out the retail noise as far as they possibly can.
By all our best technical indicators, the sun will rise tomorrow. Institutional investors
certainly seem" to
think that the worst may be over.
South America doubles down on crypto as inflation hits double digits
Rio de Janeiro is the second-largest city in Brazil, and the third-largest in South America. As
such it has
quite considerable purchasing power and political influence in the region. With a GDP of $169.1bn it is
fourth-richest city in Latin America, behind Mexico City, Sao Paolo and Buenos Aires.
So it was no surprise to see headlines globally when mayor Eduardo Paes announced
on 14 January 2022 that the city’s municipal treasury would move 1% of its assets into Bitcoin
According to the country’s central bank, the total amount of cryptoassets held by Brazilians reached
$50bn in 2021, compared to $16bn held in US stocks and shares.
Ray Dalio, a billionaire crypto early adopter, said
that a 1% to 2% allocation to the asset class is ‘reasonable’, and the message appears to be
Bridgewater Associates founder is famous for his global macro style and his firm — with $150bn
AUM — manages
assets for the most conservative of conservative investors: central banks, foreign governments
As Bloomberg writes,
Paes’ move is part of a wider scheme to locate Rio de Janeiro as Brazil’s ‘crypto capital’,
wealthy businesses to its shores. Recent reports quoting insiders suggest that Brazil’s only
exchange B3 is planning
enter crypto markets in 2022, potentially launching a crypto ETF.
Embracing crypto in every country
South America as a whole is embracing cryptoassets like never before. In the last few months
national stock exchange said it was considering
listing Bitcoin futures, Paraguay’s Senate approved
legislation to take advantage of the country’s energy surplus and to regulate crypto
trading, Argentina has said it will levy
a 0.6% tax on
cryptoexchange operations and Hong Kong’s institutionally-focused exchange OSL announced
in October it was expanding into Latin America.
On the retail side, just this week we saw Binance ink a five-year deal to sponsor the Argentinian
football team" and professional football league.
More of Paes’ initiatives under ‘Cripto Rio’ include tax breaks for bitcoin-based businesses
operating in the
city, and a promise that any regulation will not impede the growth of the industry. As recently
2021, the Brazilian Congress was considering
legislation to regulate cryptoexchanges, enacting industry-standard KYC procedures and
local powers to prosecute crypto-related crimes.
At the same time, Brazil — like most economic powerhouses worldwide — is struggling to keep
check. Recent data via the government statistics authority IBRE pegs 2021 annual inflation at 10.06%,
double its 2020 figure of 4.5% and the highest the country has seen in six years.
Bitcoin’s investment status as an inflation hedge has come under question as, since the back end
of 2021 and
turn of 2022, it has appeared to move more in tune with equities and behave more like a risk-on
there is no doubt that inflation-hit countries see the thesis playing out long-term".
Google follows Twitter, Microsoft, Meta and Reddit into blockchains
One of the earlier criticisms industry insiders faced was that Big Tech appeared to be ignoring
If this was such a disruptive, world-changing technology, why was Silicon Valley swerving it?
IBM" was one of the first to cross the Rubicon as a founding member of the Hyperledger consortium
in 2015, developing private and permissioned
blockchains and notably working with the Bank of Thailand to issue bonds in two
days rather than the 15-day industry standard.
Big Tech has been remarkably slow to enter the space, but this is changing. Meta (Facebook) is
comparator, but has struggled to make regulators see the benefits of its Diem" (formerly Libra)
cryptocurrency. Both Twitter
and Reddit are experimenting with the largely Ethereum-based NFT markets, but the biggest
in years is the 18 January announcement that Microsoft was to purchase Call of Duty, World of
Overwatch publisher Activision Blizzard in a $68.7bn
deal. That makes Microsoft the world’s third-largest gaming studio after Sony and
Satya Nadella, CEO and chairman made explicit mention of the metaverse not
once but twice in the short release, fuelling speculation that the company would follow
the likes of
Ubisoft to release primary and secondary markets for in-game
NFT assets -- with the French gaming studio’s innovation based on Tezos blockchain
So — to Google. Reports via Bloomberg and ArsTechnica now suggest
that the web giant has switched focus to run headlong into blockchain, starting up a new
division headed by
long-time advertising chief Shivakumar Venkataraman.
Little has been revealed publicly about the division, other than it will focus on “blockchain and
next-gen distributed computing and data storage technologies”.
It will sit as part of newly reopened Google Labs vertical (shuttered in 2011 but reappearing
acts as the multinational’s sandbox for beta testing new programs and apps, and which has since
revitalised to incubate “high-potential, long-term"” projects.
After four weeks trading in a tight range between $40k and $44k, Bitcoin took a dive: enough has
about the recent crypto market slide that more evaluation here would add little to the argument.
it to say that Bitcoin’s 11.3% bounce back from" a mid-July low of $33k to finish the session at
provide some succour for those with bullish intentions in mind. As noted above, technical
selling has reached the point of exhaustion and institutions are scooping up BTC at these
Ethereum’s travels over the past two weeks largely aped those of market-leader Bitcoin: a tight
range followed by a sharp dip to the downside. However, $2,173 proved the limit that bears could
pull out of
ETH across the fortnight and a 13.2% rebound from this recent low is stronger than almost any
cryptoasset could manage.
An interesting theme is developing among Litecoin investors, noting that the payments protocol is
in the same direction as its scion Bitcoin.Certainly its break above recent highs to $153.88 in
part of the fortnight, and making higher lows from" $96.50 towards the end showed more
positivity than at
the start of 2022.This decoupling has played out over multiple months and suggests a potential
the investment focus for LTC.
There has been markedly little volatility for traders to play with in Bitcoin Cash since the
start of 2022. A
high just short of $400 proved to be the ceiling for now, but volume and buying pressure soared
highs as BCH hit a low of $259.39, the resulting push adding 12% to the price of the payments
internal currency. With wider markets gaining ground, traders are watching intently for the next
The launch of Cardano’s first decentralised exchange — SundaeSwap — in the early part of the
provided sound fundamental backing to prove out its promising technology, and traders responded
re-rating ADA up a stunning 46.2% to a seven-week high at $1.64. Proof, perhaps, that only
portfolio can capture the best alpha that crypto markets have to offer. Momentum" did shift back
way and ADA gave up those gains, but it still ended the week holding at 11.9% gain to $1.03from
a low of
The wide-scale success of Polkadot’s parachain auctions — and the $2.6bn raised by winning
blockchains — in the pre-Christmas period brought many plaudits to this Ethereum" competitor.
across the fortnight appeared to underscore some of that positivity, as DOT climbed 21.1% to a
$28.48 and seemed ready for a fresh assault to reclaim $30. It was not to be, though, as
to a bearish rout in line with wider conditions, a 12.9% hike at fortnight’s end proving the
from a tough week.
Solana's recent attempt to maintain fresh air above $200 seems less of a chore when we realise
it has only managed that feat for five and a half weeks of its entire lifespan to date. The
Layer 1 Ethereum alternative has been adding yield-bearing staking products, NFTs and DeFi
marketplaces with gay abandon over the last few months, giving it many industry bona fides
alongside its lightning fast transaction throughput. Bullish traders could maintain an upswing
only briefly and then the $170 to $180 tight trading range became its home for the next week or
so. From there, along with its competitors Solana dipped 22.8% to $129.64, but again a 9.5%
bounce to the upside to finish the fortnight adds a positive spin to the rest of January.
The yield and staking rewards available with Proof of Stake pioneer Tezos have provided some
inflation-hit investors, but wide-scale integrations and its moves in NFT adoption with major
seem" to have been disregarded by traders in recent weeks. Starting from dead-on $4, XTZ gained
a tidy 11.5%
before its downside slip as low as $2.54. The upside from here appears relatively strong with
returning in droves to buy up Tezos and return it to a finish just shy of $3.
Stellar’s 2022 started relatively strong, thereafter settling into a trading range of $0.240 to
neither bulls nor bears in control. Its downside shift along with the market proved one of the
dramatic, and a 16.5% return back to near $0.20 since the low of 24 January is the best on this
suggesting there is more upside potential to come from" the cross-border currency.