- The drama around OKEx started on Friday when news broke that the popular exchange had suspended all withdrawals from the platform.
- Almost immediately, the cryptocurrency market reacted with price drops. Bitcoin lost about $350 in a few hours.
- Shortly after, reports emerged that OKEx co-founder Xu Mingxing was taken by police officers over a week ago and hadn’t returned to work yet.
- CryptoPotato reached out to OKEx for comments, and a company spokeswoman asserted that Mingxing is not affiliated with the exchange anymore. As such, they couldn’t comment on any alleged developments.
- OKEx CEO Jay Hao reassured users that all funds on the exchange are safe. Furthermore, Hao noted that all other activities besides withdrawals were still operational. Those included trading, derivatives, staking, and deposits.
- The cryptocurrency monitoring resource Whale Alert found a few transactions tracking hundreds of millions of dollars in BTC supposedly transferred from OKEx to Binance.
- However, OKEx published another update hours ago refuting the claims. It reads that the company’s wallet team “has confirmed that the origin wallet addresses in said transactions do not belong to OKEx.”
- The chief economist of the blockchain analytics company Chainalysis reaffirmed OKEx’s statement. He called the Whale Alert claims “mislabeled” as they were not transfers from OKEx to Binance.
- In its latest statement, OKEx apologized for any inconvenience to its users and said that “we will resume digital asset withdrawals as soon as we’ve determined that all security requirements have been met.”
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Bitcoin market sentiment and fundamentals still favor BTC price bulls
Bitcoin price has seen a healthy upward tick toward the $13,000 mark in the fourth quarter. At the start of the quarter, Bitcoin (BTC) was in the sub-$11,000 region, and from there, constant rises took the price to the $13,000 mark on Oct. 21 for the first time this year.
The price rallied to $13,217, a record high for 2020, before falling to around the $12,750 mark. This upward price movement is certainly indicative of the bullish sentiment held by investors in the current market.
Rising hash rate a bullish sign?
The Bitcoin hash rate has also been constantly increasing since the end of the second quarter, reaching its all-time high of 157 exahashes per second on Oct. 17, according to data from BitInfoCharts. The metric estimates the number of hashes per second that the Bitcoin network has performed in the past 24 hours. It signifies the speed at which a miner arrives at a certain hash, which is the number of times a hash function can be computed per second.
Thus, the more that BTC is mined, the bigger the hash rate increase. Jay Hao, CEO of OKEx — a cryptocurrency exchange based in Malta — told Cointelegraph that the rising hash rate is good news for the network:
“It shows that miners are confident about the future price direction of Bitcoin and are scaling up resources. They are often good at predicting BTC price, although price increases don’t always follow the hash rate increases. There is no established link between the two. It’s possible we see the price rise especially if more miners hold rather than sell their new coins, but it’s not a certainty.”
However, the rising hash rate also means that miners will also need computing power to be able to mine profitably, due to the increased competition on the network. Hao further elaborated on these nuances, stating that more competition is likely to emerge in the long run, and those with lots of resources will be more successful: “If Bitcoin’s price increases this will generate more income for miners but if the price fails to rise and the hash rate increases, it will generate more costs for miners.”
Agreeing with the idea that an increasing hash rate indicates bullish sentiment, Tone Vays, the organizer of the Financial Summit, elaborated on what this might mean for Bitcoin miners, including comparing them with the miners of the Ethereum network:
“The rise in hashrate during consolidation or a slow uptrend in price is always a positive for more price upside. As price rises, miners that invested in well managed farms will profit nicely. Bitcoin mining will always be more profitable than Ethereum mining long term for the obvious reason that Ethereum’s C-Level management is on a mission to eliminate mining in favor of proof of stake.”
Bitcoin distribution analysis reveals patterns
Because Bitcoin becomes rarer by the day, as there is only a limited amount of coins that can be mined, it’s important to also consider the role that distribution trends among BTC holders play in the sentiment of the market. According to data released by Blockchain Center, cryptocurrency exchanges currently account for 12.62% of the total distribution of BTC, and this figure is decreasing.
The two main reasons for this may be that new holders are purchasing Bitcoin from the secondary market and saving it in cold wallets as a store of value, similar to what traditional investors would do with gold, and the DeFi boom, which may lead some investors to tokenize Bitcoin for quick profits in DeFi markets rather than hold it. As this trend increases the circulation cost of Bitcoin, the price of BTC is bound to go up as exchanges’ size in the token pool decreases.
The second important figure is the amount of Bitcoin held by institutional investors and whales, which stands at 3.74% and is increasing incrementally. These large institutional investors are increasing the percentage of Bitcoin in their portfolios, as they see it as a store of value and a hedge against the uncertainty in the traditional market. Hao further stated that “With fewer Bitcoin left and more usage emerging, the Bitcoin price trend would certainly seem to be bullish.”
According to market sentiment data tracked by IntoTheBlock — which analyzes on-chain data, exchange signals and derivatives information — the market is currently “mostly bearish,” even as Bitcoin touched $12,900. The large-transactions and net-network-growth indicators point toward the market being slightly bearish, as they are contracting in size due to the aforementioned reasons. As noted by crypto analytics firm Skew, the Bitcoin options markets also indicate “volatility on the upside” for their underlying asset.
Macroeconomic indicators that are making the markets bullish
The current macroeconomic scenario is extremely positive, with United States presidential candidate Joe Biden ahead in the polls and new stimulus check talks resuming. In fact, this has, so far, been the fastest rebound for the U.S. economy in history. Since fears of the pandemic led to market lows in March, U.S. equity stocks have soared, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining more than 59%, the S&P 500 gaining 63%, the small-cap Russell 2000 index gaining 70% and the Nasdaq Composite index gaining 81%. The Nasdaq has even passed the highs it reached before the pandemic.
Simultaneously, this has led to the correlation between BTC price and the U.S. equities markets to be higher, along with positive funding rates in the Bitcoin futures market. These are highly encouraging signs for Bitcoin, and the recent BTC purchases by large institutional investors such as Square and MicroStrategy are pushing the short-term bullish sentiment in line with traditional markets through the end of the year.
The excessive quantitative easing done by governments all over the world to temporarily solve their nations’ economic woes will also have a positive impact on the price of Bitcoin, according to Vays:
“Unreasonable money printing by every government in the world, corporations investing in Bitcoin as a strategic reserve and the continued war by the US against non-KYC/AML businesses is more than enough fundamental in favor of a Bitcoin price breakout.”
Even when the traditional market has faced extreme volatility, Bitcoin has held its own, proving its place as a reliable alternative asset and a possible store of value. It’s also finding more uses within the cryptocurrency space, such as the use of tokenized Bitcoin within the DeFi ecosystem. News of PayPal’s Oct. 21 announcement that it will allow crypto payments starting in 2021 has provided a confidence boost to the blockchain industry, as it adds more credibility by presenting Bitcoin as an asset that can be used for day-to-day transactions.
Bitstamp appoints Gemini’s former managing director as new CEO
One of the oldest crypto exchanges, Bitstamp today announced that it has appointed Julian Sawyer as the firm’s new CEO, who was Gemini crypto exchange’s Managing Director for Europe. Sawyer will be taking over from Bitstamp founder, Nejc Kodrič, who will now remain as a member of Bitstamp’s Board of Directors, in a non-executive role. Bitstamp said they chose Sawyer after a global search to find Nejc Kodrič’s “successor.” This idea took root after Kodrič himself decided to transition into a “less hands-on role” after being with Bitstamp for the past nine years.
Bitstamp’s new CEO, Sawyer, is also an advisor to the board of the leading Australian challenger bank. His previous roles began in traditional finance as the co-founder of Starling Bank, where he served as Chief Operating Officer until 2019. According to Bitstamp:
Julian’s expertise in the complexities of global finance makes him uniquely suited to lead Bitstamp into its next chapter. He understands the possibilities that cryptocurrency holds for the world and how to integrate it with existing financial structures.
Sawyer will be joining the Bitstamp team at a time of the firm’s rapid developments among which its implementation of a new matching engine built by Nasdaq had grabbed headlines. With this move, Bitstamp became the first major fiat to crypto exchange with a matching engine that would be on par with traditional exchanges.
The exchange had also been in news for the listing of GBP in May this year which followed the listing of other digital assets. According to data from CoinMarketCap, Bitstamp is the sixth largest crypto exchange in terms of trading volume while Sawyer’s ex-employer Gemini ranked 22nd on the list, at the time of writing.
Trail of Destruction: Bitcoin’s $13,000 Rally Liquidated $360m in Short Positions
- Bitcoin’s price has stabilized at just below $13,000 following its immense surge seen yesterday
- The cryptocurrency has been flashing continued signs of strength as of late, and its ability to maintain its recent gains is decisively bullish
- While looking back on the aftermath of yesterday’s move, its magnitude and influence over the market grows clear
- According to one data platform, a total of $360 million in BTC short positions were liquidated throughout the course of the rally
- Traders are now actively jumping into positions, with open interest for Bitcoin surging past $4 billion
Bitcoin and the entire crypto market have been caught in the throes of a strong bull trend throughout the past few days.
Although Bitcoin kicked off this bull trend in the absence of altcoins rallying, smaller digital assets are now catching up.
While speaking about the effects this latest push towards $13,000 had on the underlying market, one research firm noted that it was a bloodbath for bears.
In total, $360 million in short positions were liquidated.
Its price is now rapidly ascending back towards $13,000 despite a slight rejection here earlier, and it does appear that further upside could be imminent.
Bitcoin Maintains Recent Gains; Enters Consolidation Phase
At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading up marginally at its current price of $12,850. This is around where it has been consolidating in the time following its massive surge up to highs of $13,200 yesterday afternoon.
This movement’s intensity throughout the past couple of days suggests that Bitcoin truly is entering a full-fledged bull market and may indicate that further gains are right around the corner.
For it to rally higher, however, it is imperative that bulls firmly surmount $13,000.
Data Shows Over $300 million in BTC Shorts Were Liquidated Yesterday
While sharing insights into the impacts of the recent rally on the markets that underpin BTC, one data platform observed that over $300 million worth of Bitcoin short positions were liquidated.
They also note that open interest is once again surging, now sitting above $4 billion for the first time in quite a while.
“Bitcoin yesterday, a summary – Price hit $13,250 – Open interest above $4 billion – One of the most intensive trading day over the last 5 months. $30 BILLION traded on [the futures] markets! – Shorts worth $360 million got liquidated.”
Growing open interest following this surge indicates that further volatility could be imminent in the coming days and weeks ahead.
Featured image from Unsplash. BTCUSD Pricing data from TradingView.
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