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Markets Report: Bitcoin retains gains as $11,900 remains “pivotal” resistance

Bullish strength must still compete with a “big hurdle” at $12,000, one analyst says, warning that ranging as low as $11,000 may return first.

Bitcoin held on to higher levels on Oct. 20 as a divergence from macro continued and analysts eyed pivotal $11,900 resistance.

Data from price trackers including CoinMarketCap showed BTC/USD hovering at around $11,800 on Tuesday, having traded in a tight range overnight. 

Analysts eye “big hurdle” for BTC price

The start of the week had produced significant fresh upside for the largest cryptocurrency, with a breakout from lower in the $11,000 zone topping out at around $11,850.

$12,000 nonetheless evaded Bitcoin on all timeframes, $11,900 remaining intact as a ceiling. 

“Bitcoin was able to hold $11,300 and breaking to the upside here to potentially form higher-lows and highs,” trader and analyst Josh Rager summarized to Twitter followers late Monday. 

“$11,900 level remains pivotal on the weekly chart. A break and close above this level would signal new weekly highs that we haven’t seen since Jan. 2018 = bullish.”

Rager had previously argued that the significance of $11,900 should not be underestimated. As resistance, it remained unchallenged since the comedown from 2017’s all-time highs, he noted.

As Modern Consensus reported on Monday, a flipping of the level to support would open up the possibility of reclaiming $12,000 and putting in the highest weekly close since the $20,000 peak.

Fellow trader Michaël van de Poppe held similar views of the upper resistance levels as they stood on Tuesday. Uploading a chart highlighting the area between $11,900 and $12,125, he forecast that more ranging behavior was due for Bitcoin, this taking BTC/USD back to the lower end of the $11,000 zone.

“Still standing behind this view, there’s such a big hurdle coming up for $BTC,” he tweeted on Tuesday.

Bitcoin ekes out divergence from stocks

Bitcoin’s gains came as stocks continued their losing streak into Tuesday. The S&P 500, with which BTC/USD previously demonstrated significant correlation, was down 1.6% on the day, while Bitcoin traded up 2.7%.

Data from on-chain monitoring resource Skew confirmed the trend, with Bitcoin diverging from the S&P 500 to an increasing extent since mid September.

Bitcoin versus the S&P 500. Source: Skew

Previously, Willy Woo, a well-known statistician and Bitcoin market commentator, forecast that Bitcoin would continue to forge its own path away from macro movements.

“Bitcoin will decouple from traditional markets soon, but driven by its internal adoption s-curve (think startup style growth) rather than changes in perceptions as a hedging instrument by traditional investors. Fundamentals of user adoption have already broken all time highs,” he wrote late last month. 

Year-to-date gains already place Bitcoin in a class of its own compared to the S&P 500, oil and gold. BTC/USD has delivered 64% returns based on press-time price levels of $11,800, compared to 25% for gold and 6% for the S&P 500.

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Anthony Bevan is a journalist focusing on disruptive finance and cryptocurrency, along with the changing face of the market as Bitcoin gains mainstream adoption. Journalists covering cryptocurrency for Modern Consensus May hold positions in some of the currencies they write about.