Bitcoin (BTC) has been stuck below $29K for nearly three weeks, reaching historic levels for low volatility, but despite stunted price activity, bulls are bracing for a field day.
On August 15, BTC lost 0.33% of its value to settle at $29,300, with on-chain data indicating several reasons for the trend.
“The digital asset market continues trading within a historically low volatility regime, with several metrics indicating extreme apathy and exhaustion has been reached in the $29K to $30K range,” read a Glassnode report.
The narrow trading range comes on the heels of dwindling derivative trading volumes and annualized realized volatility, but lengthy sideways trading is not new for the asset class.
In early 2023, Bitcoin faced a similar patch after prices hovered at the $16,800 mark for nearly three weeks, and in 2016, the price of BTC appeared to be pegged at $604 for several weeks.
Pundits have blamed the recent trend on the push-pull effects of two key events. The first is the growing optimism around a potential approval by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a spot BTC exchange-traded fund (ETF).
Fears that the banking regulator could jack up interest rates have stifled a rally for Bitcoin, with pundits citing the U.S. dollar index (DXY) recent gains in July.
Amid BTC’s sideways trading, the trend is the short-term asset holder’s distribution concentrated between $25,000 and $31,000. Onchain analytics firm Glassnode reports that most short-term holders are in the red and could create selling pressure.
Despite the threat of selling pressure, the amount of BTC held by long-term holders has surged to a new peak of 14.6 million BTC.
Pundits argue that worsening macroeconomic challenges may force the hand of long-term holders to dispose of their assets, noting that as a relatively new asset class, it remains unclear how holders will fare in the face of economic adversity.
Light at the end of the tunnel
While a cross-section of investors interpret Bitcoin’s sideways trading as a precursor for dwindling prices, others have their sights on a rally. The optimists point to technical indicators as proof for a bull run, noting that shrinking Bollinger Bands have historically been a measure for a breakout for Bitcoin.
Pessimists have their eyes peeled on a forming wedge pattern and fundamentals like the SEC’s hesitance to approve a spot-based ETF. The listing of the first spot ETF in Europe failed to trigger a BTC rally and the recent extensions by the SEC appear to back their stance.