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Bitcoin prices have done the same thing each of the past 3 Lunar New Years

Will this pattern repeat again?

Parisians celebrating Chinese New Year (via Pixabay).

Cryptocurrency values and Lunar New Year, popularly known as Chinese New Year, are beginning to reveal hints of a relationship after all—one acting as a seasonal cause for people to travel, and the other as a measure of value that goes up or down in response to human behavior.

The next Lunar New Year is a month away, on February 16. This time of year is marked by a Chinese cultural practice called Chunyun, or the Spring Festival travel season. For a period approximately 15 days before Lunar New Year and lasting 40 days in total, so many people shuffle across the Asian continent to visit friends and family that this time is popularly known as the world’s largest human migration.

Speculators wanting to read the tea leaves of bitcoin price history might form a conclusion that goes like this: the past few Lunar New Years have coincided with generally negative or unremarkable trends in the market, followed in the immediate short term by a run-up.

From 2015 to 2017, bitcoin averaged a drop of 20 percent from its highs within one month of the Lunar New Year. Within 30 days following the holiday over those three years, bitcoin rallied an average of 18 percent.

Lunar New
Year date
BTC high
< 30 days
before
%Δ BTC price
on Lunar
New Year
BTC high
<
 30 days
after
%Δ
Feb. 19, 2015 $309.38 -22% $240.28 $296.13 19%
Feb. 8, 2016 $453.38 -18% $373.45 $438.25 15%
Jan. 28, 2017 $1,156.73 -20% $921.59 $1,172.71 21%

Source: CoinMarketCap.com

Yes, bitcoin gets pummeled around Lunar New Year, but in the wake of the holiday, bitcoin punches back. We’ve already gotten some pretty bad bitcoin news this Chinese New Year season, but if history continues to repeat itself, the suggestion is that all is not lost.

One Redditor suggests that Lunar New Year is bad news for the bitcoin market because people are selling their crypto assets for conventional currency to pay for all the upcoming travel.

Chinese New Year remains useful to cryptocurrency speculators, however, because it is a season marked by a pattern of behavior in a significant portion of the human population: travel. Our travel decisions may be among some of the most thoughtful purchases we make—surely human spending behavior on travel ripples across enough economies and could be powerful enough to influence the bitcoin market, too.

Dylan Love is an editorial consultant, contributing reporter, and fiendishly curious technology enthusiast. He owns no cryptocurrencies.
  • Sam

    It is a bit easy to find graphs matching your bias no matter what happens in crypto. Nobody was talking about this before this monumental drop happened (that I know of) — I think it’s more attributable to the huge gains we saw in the weeks preceding, along with panic selling and FUD coming from Asia.