Breakout or $40K bull trap? 5 things to know in Bitcoin this week

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Breakout or $40K bull trap? 5 things to know in Bitcoin this week


Bitcoin (BTC) starts the first week of December looking better than it has since early 2022 — at over $40,000.

BTC price action is delighting bulls already as the month begins, with the weekly close providing the first trip above the $40,000 mark since April last year.

Shorts are getting wiped and liquidity taken as the bull run sees its latest boost on the back of macroeconomic changes and anticipation of the United States’ first spot price exchange-traded fund (ETF).

Despite misgivings and some predicting a major price retracement, Bitcoin continues to offer little respite for sellers, who continually miss out on profits or are left waiting on the sidelines for an entry price which never comes.

The party mood is not just reflected on markets — Bitcoin miners are busy preparing for the halving, and with hash rate already at all-time highs of its own, the trend is set to continue this week.

Is there more upside left or is Bitcoin getting ahead of itself?

This is the question that longtime market participants will be asking in the coming days as legacy markets open and adjust to a post-$40,000 BTC price.

Cointelegraph takes a closer look at the state of Bitcoin this week and examines the potential volatility catalysts lying in store for hodlers.

Bitcoin surges past $40,000 — but serious correction remains on watchlist

Bitcoin is firmly reminding investors of “Uptober” as the month gets underway — by liquidating shorts and beating out key resistance levels.

The fun began into the weekly close, when $40,000 came into view for the first time since April last year.

BTC/USD 1-hour chart. Source: TradingView

Bulls did not slow down there, however, and BTC/USD continued rising to current local highs of $41,800, data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView confirms.

In doing so, Bitcoin has wiped short positions to the tune of over $50 million on Dec. 4 alone, per statistics from CoinGlass — already the largest single-day tally since Nov. 15.

BTC liquidations (screenshot). Source: CoinGlass

Perhaps understandably, many traders are calling for upside continuation toward $50,000, with leveraged short liquidity slowly disappearing as BTC price performance edges higher.

“Someone still aggressively chasing price here,” popular trader Skew wrote during coverage of live market moves.

“More importantly if said large market entity actually allows some bids to get filled or not. IF filled then expected for them to push price higher. Clearly $40K is the price for institutional players.”

Nonetheless, not everyone is so sure that the good times will continue.

For popular trader Crypto Chase, current levels represent an ideal place to “trap” late longs and take Bitcoin $10,000 lower.

“Low 40’s then we see low 30’s. Wrong in the low 50’s, a 1:1 trade essentially,” he originally told subscribers on X (formerly Twitter) on Nov. 23 in a post which he repeated on the day.

“To me, this cycle is no different than others. Currently up only, soon to be down only. This is essentially how $BTC always trades,” he continued in part of fresh analysis.

“I believe current prices are overextended. Will add to shorts at 43K.”

Markets eager for Fed pivot in countdown to FOMC 

Last week’s collection of U.S. macroeconomic data reports did little to shift Bitcoin from what was then a narrow trading range.

That all began to change, however, when Jerome Powell, Chair of the Federal Reserve, took to the stage to deliver what many interpreted as a signal that economic policy was about to change significantly.

This would come via the Fed beginning to lower baseline interest rates — a watershed moment for crypto and risk assets which would be first in line to benefit from increasing liquidity deployments by traders currently in cash.

As Cointelegraph reported, this Fed “pivot” was previously not expected or signaled by officials until at least mid-2024, but recent forecasts have brought the unofficial deadline forward rapidly. Bill Ackman, CEO and founder of hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management, said last week that he expects a pivot in Q1.

“I think they’re going to cut rates; I think they’re going to cut rates sooner than people expect,” he told Bloomberg at the time.

Before the new year, the Fed will make one more decision on rates, this due in under two weeks. Last week’s data prints, which affirmed the narrative of abating inflation, thus constituted crucial contributions to that decision — those due for release this week and next fall within the Fed’s “blackout period,” where officials are not permitted to comment on policy.

Per data from CME Group’s FedWatch Tool, markets overwhelmingly believe that rates, while not due to drop just yet, will remain at current levels after the decision.

Fed target rate probabilities chart. Source: CME Group

This week’s prints include nonfarm payrolls and other employment data at a time where U.S. jobless rates are near historic lows.

“Tons of employment data this week that will heavily impact next week’s Fed meeting. Last month of trading for 2023,” financial commentary resource The Kobeissi Letter wrote in part of its weekly rundown of key macro diary dates.

Gold price spike sparks concerns as U.S. liquidity rushes back

Others noted that Bitcoin and crypto gaining is likely due to more than just data.

The Fed’s reverse repo facility is declining rapidly, injecting additional liquidity into the economy — arguably the key variable for risk asset performance worldwide.

“This is money that’s otherwise stashed with the Fed overnight which is entering the economy/markets. This tends to help out risk assets and bring $DXY down,” Daan Crypto Trades wrote in commentary on an accompanying chart.

The U.S. dollar index (DXY), a measure of USD strength against a basket of major trading partner currencies, is currently in the midst of a modest rebound after hitting four-month lows last week.

U.S. dollar index (DXY) 1-day chart. Source: TradingView

Liquidity is on the radar of institutional names within the crypto space, among them Dan Tapiero, founder and CEO of 10T Holdings.

The recent U.S. bond rout provides a rare buying opportunity on par with the 2008 Global Financial Crisis and 2020 COVID-19 crash, he argued last week, again concluding that liquidity should “rush” into stocks and Bitcoin.

Charles Edwards, founder of quantitative Bitcoin and digital asset fund Capriole Investments, was one figure noting liquidity trends preempting Fed action already — with the largest U.S. financial easing in forty years occurring in November.

As Cointelegraph reported, gold is already reacting, hitting new dollar all-time highs and spiking nearly 4% on the day before correcting.

Such behavior is unusual, others argue, anticipating “something big” occurring this week.

“Unless someone is getting carried out right now after shorting Gold, this is saying something important,” the popular social media commentator and trader known as Horse suggested.

“Gold doesn’t just arbitrarily rip on a Sunday like this unless it means something.”

XAU/USD 1-hour chart. Source: TradingView

Responding, popular trader Bluntz likewise expressed concern about the ongoing cross-asset surge, adding that this mostly focused on worldwide inflation trends.

Bitcoin miners take hash rate relentlessly higher

There is little standing in the way of Bitcoin miners and their desire to cover themselves going into April’s block subsidy halving.

Last month, estimated hash rate hit new record highs and passed 500 exahashes per second (EH/s) for the first time in Bitcoin’s history.

The trend is going nowhere as December begins — the next difficulty readjustment will add an estimated 1.6% to the already record high tally, reflecting the intensity of competition for block rewards.

Per data from statistics resource BTC.com, this will mark Bitcoin’s seventh consecutive upward adjustment.

Bitcoin network fundamentals overview (screenshot). Source: BTC.com

“The Bitcoin hashrate will enter the fun stage of its parabolic advanced this cycle as the fourth and final phase of mining is upon us,” Nick Cote, founder and CEO of digital asset marketplace SecondLane, predicted in part of recent X commentary.

“Sophisticated participants who have ∞ resources & government alignment will put the boot to the necks of inefficient miners as the rate of deployment accelerates.”

Alex Thorn, head of firmwide research at crypto education resource Galaxy, meanwhile made reference to the firm’s “bull case” for hash rate becoming reality.

“This is one of the most interesting charts in the world right now,” he told X subscribers about the hash rate numbers.

“A picture worth a thousand words.”

Bitcoin raw hash rate data (screenshot). Source: MiningPoolStats

Greed matches $69,000 Bitcoin all-time high

The latest trip to 19-month highs has likely delivered an even larger boost to crypto market greed.

Related: Bitcoin ETF will drive 165% BTC price gain in 2024 — Standard Chartered

Data from the Crypto Fear & Greed Index — the benchmark sentiment indicator — already puts greed levels at highs not seen since November 2021, when Bitcoin set its latest all-time high.

A lagging indicator, Fear & Greed had not taken the trip beyond $40,000 into account at the time of writing, but still stood at 74/100 — verging on “extreme greed.”

Crypto Fear & Greed Index (screenshot). Source: Alternative.me

The Index uses a basket of factors to determine the overall mood among crypto investors. Its implications serve to predict marketwide trend reversals when either fear or greed reaches unsustainably high levels.

To that extent, the $69,000 peak marked an anomaly — historical precedent demands that a correction enter when the Index passes 90/100. The current bull market could thus have room left to run before irrational exuberance takes hold, commentators have previously argued.

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.