Blockstream Markets Weekly — Aug 13, 2021
$400B Neuberger Berman expands into Bitcoin, VanEck files for new BTC Strategy ETF, Coinbase 2Q numbers beat, Argentina signals interest in BTC, and more $100K price targets as BTC accelerates crack above the 200-day MAVG
By Jesse Knutson
What’s happening in the markets?
Bitcoin is on track to post the highest weekly close in 13 weeks and the fourth weekly win in a row.
Despite some oscillation around 200-day moving average resistance, price action this week was pretty resilient given uncertainty from new crypto regulations and another massive Defi hack.
Global equities continued to plow new highs, gold bounced after a recent rotation towards Bitcoin and both BTC and the USD paused a bit at key resistance levels.
The next week or so of trading will probably be important in determining the mid-term trend of both BTC and the USD.
So far, so good.
Headlines this week were pretty mixed. Top stories this week included plans from $400B Neuberger Berman to expand fund strategies into Bitcoin, VanEck filing for a new Bitcoin Strategy ETF, Argentina’s president signaling interest in Bitcoin adoption, Better than expected 2Q numbers from Coinbase, listed insurance platform Metromile buying $1M in Bitcoin, chip deliveries breaking north of 20 weeks as the global semiconductor shortage continues, and Fundstrat calling for a melt-up across asset classes that could drive BTC to $100,000 by year-end.
We are legion
There were a couple of interesting data points out this week; first, according to ARK’s crypto analyst, Yassine Elmandjra, crypto trading volume is on pace to overtake FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google) volume in 2021, and second, verified Coinbase users have increased to 68 million.
This is especially interesting given the context of recent senate wranglings over the crypto regulation snuck into Biden’s trillion-dollar infrastructure bill.
I think one of the key takeaways from last week’s lobbying efforts is that many US policymakers learned for the first time that digital asset regulation is an issue with massive grassroots interest and support.
Bitcoin used to be called the honey badger of money. You don’t really see that as much anymore, but it’s still true.
Not only is Bitcoin just plain hard to kill, but zooming out, the long-term trend is still very much bottom left to top right.
Bitcoin has been harnessing its inner honeybadger over the past couple of weeks. We’ve had a pretty good price rip in the face of some pretty negative headlines (the infrastructure bill and another massive Defi hack).
Price doesn’t seem to care much, though. I think that’s an indication of a solid flip in sentiment.
The overall market setup looks pretty positive at the moment.
With Bitcoin price action remaining resilient in the face of negative news, a lot of smaller, super high beta digital assets are on a rip. I think this money probably rotates back into Bitcoin and will be a big part of the next leg higher.
Onchain metrics also look constructive. Bitcoin held in miner wallets has rebounded to the top end of the historic range. I think this implies not only improved sentiment, but probably that dislocated Chinese miners have mostly completed the capital layouts required to find new homes. Likewise, there’s also been a sharp uptick in Bitcoin buying from large wallets (≥1,000 BTC) over the past two weeks, reversing the downtrend of the past couple of months.
Technical indicators also look fairly constructive. Notably, funding rates are trending higher, but still much lower than the first break above $45,000 in February.
Analysts also look to be getting their confidence back a bit as well. Last week Bloomberg Intelligence reiterated their $100k mid-term price target and this week Fundstrat had a note out highlighting the possibility of a move to $100,000 by the end of the year.
The 200-day moving average ~ $45,000 is still a key line of resistance, though, and it makes sense to see a bit of oscillation here. Price action looks encouraging so far and Bitcoin may be getting close to achieving escape velocity.
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Bitcoin markets news
- In a TV interview President, Alberto Fernandez said
“I don’t want to go too far out on a limb …but there is no reason to say ‘no,’… Perhaps that is a good path to take. They say the advantage is that the inflationary effect is largely nullified…”
- Not exactly a roaring endorsement, but Bitcoin might make sense for a country with a long history of inflationary struggles. The country’s central bank (not surprisingly) remains very skeptical of Bitcoin, but with statistics out this week indicating a sharp uptick in consumer prices and 12-month inflation now tracking > 50% they are probably incentivized to roll the dice a bit
- The amount of time it takes to get semiconductor orders filled has increased past 20 weeks
- For Bitcoin miners, I think that implies that mining will remain very profitable for some time to come as the global semi shortage continues to constrain hashrate growth
- Obviously, crypto volumes are an issue of debate with wash trading and market-making creating a very noisy environment for analysis
- ARK’s crypto analyst highlights that
“Coinbase’s trading volume this quarter alone is almost twice that of the entire spot market trading volume in the same quarter last year”
- This is a wild statistic especially given how low institutional participation is relative to traditional asset classes
- Most large, mainstream institutional investors have 0 exposure to an asset class that is now more liquid than the largest American tech stocks. Eventually, they will have to have exposure
- TSMC is reportedly on track to move its 3nm process technology to volume production in the second half of 2022 for Apple devices (iPhones or Macs)
- This will probably take some pressure off of 5 and 7NM demand
- The stock market could see a major upswing to end 2021 as a part of an ‘everything rally’ sparked in part by falling cases of the delta variant
“While the hysteria around the continued surge in delta variant infection continues to grow, the IHME (Institute for Health Metrics, forecasters used by global policymakers) forecasts USA COVID-19 infections to peak this week”
- Fundstrat thinks a sign of falling cases would possibly drive a relief rally that pushes valuations higher across asset classes
- Metromile said in 2Q21 that they intended to build a $10M position
- The company also announced it will soon implement a Bitcoin payment solution on the platform
- The company intends to buy more Bitcoin
- Unlike VanEck’s previous application, the new ETF would be backed by Bitcoin Futures rather than actual Bitcoin
- Follows indications from the SEC last week that they would be more willing to sanction ETFs backed by Bitcoin futures
- $2.23 billion vs. $1.85 billion expected (+20.5%)
- $1.15 billion vs. $961.5 million expected (+19.6%)
- Retail monthly transacting users increased by 44% QoQ from 8M, and total verified users grew to 68M from 56M
- The firm’s new Commodity Strategy Fund will expand its strategy to include investment in Bitcoin futures and exchange-traded funds
- As highlighted last week, this looks like a bit more square peg vs round hole, where investment managers contort themselves to get access to Bitcoin price appreciation within the confines of mandate limits and SEC regulations
- The trend is slowly inching in Bitcoin’s favor
- CEO Adam Aron said during an earnings call Monday that the movie theater chain will have the IT systems in place to take the Bitcoin as payment by the end of 2021
- On its way to becoming the ultimate meme stock
- I wonder if part of the recent strength in Bitcoin was driven by a reallocation of assets between Bitcoin and gold
- Might also explain the sharp increase recently in Bitcoin held by wallets with ≥1,000 BTC
Bitcoin miner reserves close to ATH
- The aggregate Bitcoin miner wallet balance has increased to just shy of an all-time high
- I think this implies not only improved sentiment, but probably that dislocated Chinese miners have probably mostly completed the capital layouts required to relocate to new homes
- This probably means reduced sell pressure
Chart credit: CryptoQuant
Crypto trades more than FAANG stocks
- ARK’s crypto analyst,Yassine Elmandjra, highlighted this week that global crypto volume is on track to outpace FAANG trading volume this year
- Not exactly sure where he’s sourcing his data from as exchange data accuracy is plagued with wash trading and ‘market making’
- Also worth noting that it’s a bit apple to oranges as crypto trades 365/24/7, but I think this is a massively important trend that investment managers can’t ignore
Chart credit:Yassine Elmandjra
We are legion
- Coinbase’s retail monthly transacting users increased +44% from 1Q21’s 8.8M, and total verified users grew to 68M from 56M
- I think one of the key takeaways from last week’s lobbying efforts is that many US policymakers learned for the first time that digital asset regulation is an issue with massive grassroots interest and support
Chart credit: Alistair Milne
- Buying by big wallets (≥1,000 BTC) has seen a sharp increase over the previous two weeks. This is especially interesting given the long term downtrend of coins held by Bitcoin’s largest wallets
- Note that the chart below filters out exchanges and major funds
Chart credit: Will Clemente
- While the biggest wallets have seen a sharp spike over the previous two weeks, Bitcoin is still uniquely well distributed
- I doubt that any other major asset class has distribution even remotely as egalitarian
- Note that Satoshi’s coins have been removed (assumed lost) in the chart below
Chart credit: Willy Woo