Market Overview

Bitcoin Flash Crashed This Week

Bitcoin Flash Crashed This Week

Deepak Bharadwaz is a Market Data Analyst for IHB's Bitcoin Trading Intelligence platform.

Note On The Flash Crash

"The emotion in the room during that flash crash was clearly palpable. I knew people were being hurt badly because it came with shrieks, screams and then deathly silence -- only to have those on the right side of the trade reveling in the misery of others. That is the life a trader though -- the Whaleclub is a very vindictive bunch."

BTCVIX, Professional Bitcoin Trader

On August 18th the Bitcoin market experienced a flash crash on a number of exchanges, led by Bitfinex. It appears, according to swap data there was a number of large positions which closed in tandem causing a whipsaw effect, accelerated by market panic. Thankfully it does appear this was an isolated issue, and not a fundamental break down of the market. The price touched $160s on Bitfinex, and has since recovered to the $230 region, signaling this may have been entirely a result of an issue with an exchange or exchanges.

We've selected Bitstamp for our charts, as it did not have as drastic a reaction which can affect technical analysis.

Fundamental Analysis

The entire setup of the market is clouded with bearish sentiment amplified the impacts of the BitLicense and the news of the first Bitcoin-XT Block being mined. Here is a review of what has happened fundamentally in the market over the past week and a half. On a global scale, the acceptance of Bitcoin in many countries has been on the rise as weaker economies are evidently turning to cryptocurrencies as their exit option, indicated by the increase in the trading volumes of Latin American Countries. The high inflation rate and unstable economy in countries like Argentina and Brazil have caused a massive surge in the trading volumes of Bitcoins in Latin America increasing more than 120%.

This might be a reverberation from the increased number of newly registered users in Greece over the past few weeks which increased by 600%. In Europe, despite Germany's recent negative press about Greek bailout, Berlin remains one of the major attractions for Venture Capitalists, with Bitcoin Startups and the overall ecosystem continuing to prosper. With more than $2.2 Billion invested in startups in Germany and a considerable percentage of them being Bitcoin startups, the future of cryptocurrency in Germany looks promising.

The surprise "one off depreciation" of the Yuan by the People's Bank of China early in the week led to price divergences and limited bull runs in USD and CNY exchanges as people invested with Yuan saw the Bitcoin market as a good hedging opportunity. Adding to the already strengthening sentiment of growing Venture Capital investments in bitcoin, Japanese exchange ‘bitFlyer' was able to raise $4 million for their next round of funding, despite the ripples caused by the arrest of Mark Karpeles, former CEO of Mt Gox earlier this month. Bitcoin got a boost from more traditional finance firm Pricewaterhouse Cooper's which promoted the use of Bitcoin and Blockchain Technologies for its clients.

The report stated categorically that Cryptocurrencies open the door for revolutionary technological possibilities and would disrupt the existing financial Industry in a positive way. With things going awry after the BitLicense debacle, the long awaited Gemini Exchange is a ray of hope for the residents of New York with the Winklevoss twins filing the paperwork for operating an exchange in New York in accordance with the new policies.

Edward Snowden's statements about bitcoin, particularly saying that the technology is inherently flawed citing the ‘51 % mining attack' as a structural weakness problem created negative sentiment in mainstream press. On the positive side, he added that the basic principles of systems based on decentralized tokenization models might continually provide more value to society.

In the midst of the negative mainstream sentiment Bitcoin XT released their completed version of the software on the 15th of August. Unfortunately, many mainstream articles surfaced calling the first Bitcoin-XT block meaning Bitcoin has forked. On one hand it is a vote for the change in protocol, but the network, almost exclusively, continue to run on the core implementation. Predictions say the full switch could happen mid-2016, but the exaggerated news has had a short term impact on the mainstream perception of Bitcoin and potentially the market.

While things were already looking tight because of BitLicense, The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), has issued a new ruling stating startups seeking to tokenize commodities for Blockchain based trading have to be licensed in all the 50 states.

On the heels of new regulation, SABR, a New York Based startup has just raised one million dollars to fulfill its goal of providing law enforcement with a view beneath the surface of multiple block chains. SABR aims to detect and prevent bitcoin and other digital currencies being used for illicit purposes. How these developments in regulation and security will help or harm the bitcoin community will be seen in due time.

Technical Analysis

Long Term

On a weekly scale, the market has been predominantly sideways with choppy moves from 255-271, until finally completing the bearish arc of the sideways swing by breaking the support zone around 250 and trading at 220 levels. The Bollinger bands in the weekly chart still remain parallel showing that the market is in the expected zone and judging by the regression lines, is setting up for a bull trend after consolidation.

On a long term scale, taking a position right now for a long term trade would be premature as the sentiment in the market is not clear. The RSI is approaching the oversold region while the MACD just took a bearish turn without crossing the zero line. The proper indication for setting up long term trades would be reading the setup of the market in terms of 5 SMA and Bollinger bands.

As soon as both Bollinger Bands and the 5 SMA become trending in the upward direction after significant consolidation, entering into trades with a long term plan is more justified. Proper entry points for such trades would be around the 217 region with stops below 214. If the market is trending, possible exit points could be 255, 271 and 317.

If the market breaks to the downside, breaking the support zone at 217, weekly lower Bollinger band and previous swing lows are possible targets.



If we look at the daily chart, the break of the zone of support around 250-255 signaled move in the market that has the run the price down to 221. The reversal was very quick with less volume, showing that the 217-220 zone is a good support zone which can be tested soon because of the still trending bearish setup in the daily chart.

With the Bollinger bands and SMA's pointing downwards, the setup is going to remain bearish for some time until a base of consolidation is formed. The descending triangle as shown in the daily chart between the downward trendline and support line at 217 might result in higher volumes being traded in the coming days. In which direction the break out would be or the setup would change will depend on how the market approaches the vertex of the triangle. The MACD is showing a bearish signal in the short term and the RSI crossed 30 into the oversold region but is now coming close to leaving the oversold region. In the medium term, it appears that it is going to be bearish/sideways for some time.

A trade setup shorting at the 5 SMA cross and looking for positions on the retracement was a good opportunity during the sell off.


Short term

The market crashed by a huge percentage on Tuesday when the trading price of Bitcoin dropping to the 160s on some exchanges, although Bitstamp did not have as severe a reaction. Though it was immediately backed by a green retracement candle, the sentiment is predominantly bearish even in the 240 minute chart with little corrections.

The market is expected to trade in this range for some time before either consolidating and going for a reversal or crashing down further. Some of the good trades in this range would be picking longs on the support level until the market closes in on the triangle as shown on the daily chart. Shorting around the lower Bollinger band, and 5 SMA with expectation of a crash down back to the 217 levels could also be profitable, although these trades have to be done with a tight stop loss.


Sentiment Analysis

The overall sentiment of the market has continued bearish with BitLicense and "Bitcoin Forking" leading the way. However, the sentiment on the banking front is picking up speed with Visa deploying a block chain research team on the 12th August in Bangalore to study the possible applications of the Blockchain. Deutsche Bank has recently backed Blockchain Technology and bitcoins by making some positive statements about how bitcoins hold the key for the future of financial services. Another positive enforcer to the sentiment is has exceeded 4 million users.

With companies like BitX and ecoins making payment through bitcoins via debit cards infrastructure possible, further research to adapt bitcoin to the existing financial system and other applications seems more likely. Continued adoption by European merchants and an Indonesian crowd funding platform accepting bitcoins, gives hope that bitcoin is slowly gaining a grip on the traditional financial world. It's still unsure about how the forking news will affect the price of Bitcoin. Major exchanges like Bitfinex have said the major exchanges will come together in agreement if a major shift happens, as there main concern is supporting as many customers as possible.

Developments In Blockchain

The Blockchain is may play a key role in the Music Industry. Revelator builds software that allows artists and record labels to manage, track and market their music all from one application. The company sees the blockchain as an opportunity to simplify music rights, which remain complicated and difficult to verify, with a new Intellectual Property (IP) management system that will allow artists to register their works on an immutable ledger. They have partnered with Colu for this project.

On another front, ItBit has revealed details about the Bankchain project, a private consensus based ledger system aimed at providing enterprise financial solutions. With this, the New York based exchange has joined other Blockchain firms which are trying to seek the attention of banks that want to utilize the efficiencies of distributed Blockchain technology with private blockchains.


The past week and a half has majorly been a week of innovation where ‘ecoin' and ‘BitX' have launched Hybrid debit cards. These debit cards are aimed to facilitate interchangeable payments in bitcoins or fiat currencies. ecoin plans to merge the bitcoin infrastructure with the existing financial climate, by taking a widely accepted form of payment like debit cards and combining it with Bitcoin to create a new Hybrid Cryptocurrency debit card. BitX is working on technology so users can also spend bitcoin offline without any internet connection. BitX and ZAZOO have announced this partnership that enable BitX users to use VCpay which works as an alternative for plastic cards.

Another interesting development is the BitcoinAlert Project, with the BitcoinAlert app that analyzes the prices historically and alerts about prices to buy or sell bitcoins. But the Technological development that trumped everything else this week would have to be ‘Filament'. Filament has raised $5 million in series A funding led by Bullpen capital, Verizon Ventures and Samsung Ventures. Filament is a decentralized IoT software stack that uses the bitcoin blockchain to enable devices to hold unique identities on a public ledger. By creating a smart device directory, Filament's IoT devices will be able to securely communicate, execute smart contracts and send microtransactions.

The following article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.

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