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Markets Report: Bitcoin stalls below $30,000 but analyst dismisses 30% pullback

A new all-time high of $29,300 sees Bitcoin beat Berkshire Hathaway by market cap as 2020 draws to a close

Bitcoin sellers kept bulls simmering below $30,000 on Dec. 31 as 2020 still looked set to close on a celebratory note for hodlers.

Data from price trackers including CoinMarketCap and TradingView showed BTC/USD repeating behavior from Wednesday, mixing new all-time highs with heavy volatility.

Overnight, Bitcoin put in a record high of $29,270, a figure it narrowly beat on the day, with $29,300 proving too much to hold. Each peak came alongside a “choppy” period in which the price would gain or lose hundreds of dollars in minutes.

At press time, that cycle was still playing out at around $28,400, as analysts warned that the market could still go either way. 

Bitcoin sees a seller rejection at $29,300. Source: TradingView

30% Pullbacks “may no longer be a thing”

One of the more optimistic prognoses came from market cyclist Cole Garner. For him, the past month constituted a “low-key parabolic advance.”

“Let me be clear on my expectation: bitcoin breaks $30k with conviction next week — advancing to $35k-40k before any pullbacks in the neighborhood of 30% are even considered,” he tweeted on Thursday.

“30% pullbacks may no longer be a thing.”

In a telling commentary on the unpredictability of Bitcoin in its current state, however, Garner then acknowledged that there could be no ultimate happy ending for a bull run of this magnitude.

“This won’t end well either,” he commented while contrasting recent moves with the bull run of 2017 which topped out at just below $20,000.

On the topic of a market top, popular analyst Michaël van de Poppe was also eyeing $30,000 for cues, along with Bitcoin’s 21-week and 200-week moving averages. The former was at $16,000 in a major uptrend on Thursday, and a significant barrier could lie at $20,000.

“The first major level that we could be testing if we get a 30% correction is our previous all-time high,” he explained, putting the price level in context. 

“…Are we going to get such a major correction? No, not sure at least, but we can conclude that the price is going relatively vertical.”

So long, rat poison squared?

The more cautious mood reflected an evolving understanding of Bitcoin market cycles amid a feeling of deja-vu among investors who were present in late 2017. Unlike 2018, however, no one hinted that next year would produce a bearish regression with a trough equal to 80% losses versus the highs.

One of many consolidatory roundups of 2020, the official @Bitcoin Twitter account summarized on Thursday:

“On March 12th #Bitcoin prices plunged 39% in a single day, eventually hitting a low of $3,850. On December 31st #Bitcoin prices raced to a new all-time high of $29,000+. What will 2021 bring?”

A parting shot this week may already provide a taste of things to come. At $29,000, Bitcoin achieved a $540 billion market cap, eclipsing that of Berkshire Hathaway. In May 2018, the banking giant’s CEO, Warren Buffett, famously called the cryptocurrency “probably rat poison squared.”

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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.