Bitcoin (BTC) has dropped $430 (11 percent) to $3,590, placing it well below the critical $3,900 level. $3,900 has been the level to watch since that was the price of Bitcoin when the December futures contract expired on CME and is likely the level where CME Bitcoin futures traders took out their positions for the month.
Bitcoin (BTC) has faced stiff resistance at the $3,900 level multiple times this month but managed to go above it the past few days after a short squeeze, which was likely caused by Bitfinex temporarily closing down for server migration. Now, however, Bitcoin (BTC) is back below this key level.
This suggests that CME Bitcoin futures traders largely went short for January. A past Crypto.IQ article details how CME Bitcoin futures expiration dates have a strong connection to Bitcoin’s price behavior.
Image courtesy Bitcoinwisdom.com. Top is Bitcoin price in USD on Bitstamp, bottom is volume in Bitcoins. White line is $3,900 level.
Although this is the biggest Bitcoin (BTC) price plunge yet of 2019, several other major cryptocurrencies are doing worse and are down more than 15 percent including Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC), Cardano (ADA), IOTA, EOS, and Monero (XMR).
This breaks a month-long rally for Ethereum (ETH), Tron (TRX), and Litecoin (LTC), which saw gains of 90 percent, 165 percent, and 75 percent respectively before today’s price drop. Ethereum (ETH) had been rallying on speculation regarding the Constantinople hard fork, coming less than a week from now, since the fork will lower the Ethereum inflation rate by slashing block rewards from three ETH to two ETH. There will also be several new features implemented such as better developer tools and lower transaction fees.
The slashing of block rewards and the decision to implement ProgPoW which makes ASICs far less efficient may cause a battle between Ethereum miners and developers. Crypto.IQ speculated that the Ethereum (ETH) Constantinople fork could result in similar tension to the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) fork in November 2018.
If this prediction is accurate, a crash in Ethereum’s (ETH) price may ensue. Perhaps the amplified Ethereum (ETH) price drop overnight is due to uncertainty about what will happen when the Constantinople fork launches in less than a week.
Notably, Ripple (XRP) has now taken the number two spot on CoinMarketCap since Ripple (XRP) is “only” down 10 percent today while Ethereum (ETH) is down 15 percent.
Dogecoin (DOGE) has shown resilience today and is only down seven percent. It has been observed that Dogecoin (DOGE) is less severely impacted by broad price drops in the crypto-space. This is possibly due to Dogecoin (DOGE) having a strong community and simultaneously not being a common choice for speculators.
Many more cryptocurrencies than those mentioned in this analysis are down 10 percent or more, and $15.5 billion (11.2 percent) was slashed from the total crypto market cap overnight. Currently, the total crypto market cap is $123 billion, which is still well above the bear market low of $100 billion that we saw during mid-December 2018 when Bitcoin (BTC) hit $3,120 on Bitstamp.
It is too soon to say a bottom is in for the crypto market, and if short sellers on CME really are in control this month, as data suggests, then it is possible Bitcoin (BTC) will decline further this month. A re-testing of bear market lows near $3,100 is not out of the question.