Minding the Dip - Bitcoin's Fall & Recovery

Bitcoin price correction has taken it below $47,000, but advocates remain bullish. 

It's been a tough week for the world's most famous cryptocurrency. On a year-long rally of over 400%, the runner stumbled and Bitcoin fell below the $48,000 barrier.

In a recent video, Ben Armstrong, Founder & Host of Bitboy Crypto talked of an "eminent Bitcoin dump" and prices hanging around $38,000 to $42,000.

At the time of writing, BTC is approximately $47,000. 

Dips are distressing to the casual Bitcoin fans. But the die-hard supporters are not surprised and laser eyes are still prominently displayed throughout most of crypto Twitter -- just not quite as prominently as two weeks ago 

Repeat: "It's not a dip…"

Dip expresses how it feels when you're trying to make a quick profit on crypto, but price correction is more to the point. 

During the 2015-2017 bull run, there were multiple digital digit corrections. It can be viewed as a healthy part of a functioning system finding its equilibrium. 

We spoke with several leaders in the industry to get their takes on Bitcoin's recent price movements. 

Marie Tatibouet, CMO at Gate.io, a global exchange with 3.5 million users, assured us in an interview that it's not so bad. 

See also: How to Buy Bitcoin (BTC)

"Yes, it definitely appears that this is just a minor price correction and it can be explained with simple technical analysis... An overpriced asset inevitably faces price correction. It is necessary for the market to stabilize and not get overblown," Tatibouet said. 

Adrian Huntelar of Canada-based exchange Coinsquare pointed out that March has been a traditionally bad month for Bitcoin in 8 of the last 10 years -- and this price correction is really to be expected. 

"This is a healthy pullback in a bull market. Bitcoin has returned nearly 100% since Jan 1, 2021, outpacing every other major asset class. Multi-day shakeouts of 10-20% are completely normal in Bitcoin's history and investors should always be aware that they are possible," Huntelar said.

"We see the current dip as a short-term connection, yet it's not necessarily minor in its scale. We won't be surprised to see BTC drop all the way to the $35,000 area. This doesn't change the fundamentally bullish outlook and we can still see $73,000 this spring or early summer," Anton Altement, CEO of Osom.Finance said.

Scott Melker, a Bitcoin and crypto influencer and host of "The Wolf Of All Streets Podcast," said: "I believe that the recent dip is most likely a minor correction. In the 2015 Bitcoin bull run, the price saw 9 major corrections with an average of 37%. This correction is still only roughly 23%, and smaller than the 28% drop from January. Things can change, but for now, this price action is par for the course."

The road to recovery

The experts we spoke to were unanimous that this is a price correction and is to be expected. But how long do we have to wait for Bitcoin to it's former heights and move forward toward the $80,000 mark?

Opinions are more mixed on the rate of recovery -- but it could take some time. 

"Given the sharp dip, we do not expect the recovery to be happening in days. But BTC will be back to breaking ATHs within the next few months," Haohan Xu CEO and Founder at Apifiny said.

Still, Bitcoin will rise again -- and we may continue to have the institutional investor to thank. Institutional Investors are generally playing a longer-term game than retail investors are most likely to buy the dip.

"The institutions have taken this opportunity to buy the dip. As we have seen with Square and with MicroStrategy's recent investments. The institutions are too far into Bitcoin now to let it slump down any further," Tatibouet said.

Institutional Investors could also add some stability to Bitcoin's price by keeping up demand on a scale not approached by retail investors, ultimately keeping BTC's fall from going too far. 

"Technically speaking, this pullback has found support at the 20-day moving average, which is a sign of a strong long-term trend. The passive buying of institutional investors and corporate treasuries is also likely to put a floor under Bitcoin's price going forward," Huntelar added.

It seems nothing can stand in the way of BTC's bull run. The Bitcoin pundits are undeterred by the week's events. 

"I believe that price will likely continue up through the year, and that 6 digit price is likely. That is a mere 2x in price from where Bitcoin is currently trading, which is a small move for the asset. At the most basic level, we have supply-side shock and increasing demand. That means the price should go up," Melker said. 

And of course, Bitcoin's performance has been hard to argue with, soundly beating traditional investments.

"Over the last year, Bitcoin has outperformed every single asset class, and that too by a significant amount. At one point, it was outperforming Nasdaq 100 by 300% and S&P 500 by almost 1600%," Tatibouet said. 

Bitcoin's performance has been hard to argue with. 

So, what can go wrong… right?

It's difficult to imagine what could stop the juggernaut progress of Bitcoin during this unprecedented bull run -- but if one had to guess what could interrupt the progress, the specter of regulation unfavorable to crypto in the U.S. and across the world seems like one of the most likely but unforeseeable circumstances. 

The new administration is an unknown quantity in terms of crypto regulation -- but Bitcoin is being examined again in Washington. 

On February 25, the Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy held a hearing called, "Dollars Against Democracy: Domestic Terrorist Financing in the Aftermath of Insurrection". The committee is interested in following the flows of funds that could be used to fund extremists looking to incite insurrection, including the attack on the Capitol Building in Washington DC on January 6th. 

Committee memos revealed the committee is examining the role of Bitcoin as transfers used to support far-right extremists. 

A report by Chainalysis stated, "on December 8, 2020, a donor sent 28.15 BTC (worth approximately $522,000 at the time of transfer) to 22 separate addresses in a single transaction…. (including) many of those addresses belong to far-right activists and internet personalities," including Nick Fuentes.

Sarah P. Alexander, an attorney at Constantine Cannon LLP who specializes in whistleblower cases said: "There's no question the wild west ethos of crypto is being forced to confront the reality that secretive money exchanges are going to attract people motivated to keep where their money goes a secret.  As regulators begin to get a handle on this, I do expect the traditional financial bodies to update their regulatory tools to encompass crypto.  Treasury, and particularly FinCEN, doesn't have an option not to if it wants to have any hope of reigning in money laundering."

The idea of U.S. regulation reigning in anonymity in buying crypto is likely to be unpopular with a core audience that values independence, decentralization, and anonymity so strongly, but experts believe it is an important part of the mainstreaming of crypto. 

“Cryptocurrency has been around since 2009 and we have yet to have a standard level of federal regulations on it. Other countries are starting to figure it out (Japan, Switzerland, Portugal), so we are late to this. Doing so will legitimize the trend already 11 years in the making,” Laura Hoffner, Security Analyst, Concentric Advisors, a privately-held security firm said.

So, the price of mainstream acceptance is likely to include greater scrutiny in the U.S., something that will have to be dealt with sooner or later. 

"I see AML regulation as a necessary step to allow BTC to go mainstream.  There's nothing inherently at odds between an investment going mainstream and increased regulation.  Usually, these go hand and hand.  As more retail investors join an investment vehicle, the regulators have an increased motivation to protect the public's interests," Alexander added. 

Jones said the use of cryptocurrency as a method of ransom payment in cyber extortion is on an alarming rise --  "Ransomware gangs made $350 million in 2020, which is up 311% from 2019. We only anticipate this trend to continue in prevalence."

Does this mean that Bitcoin will run into regulation capable of slowing down the train of enthusiasm that has carried its value over the past 12 months? 

That remains to be seen. However, the world is watching and as Bitcoin and crypto overall takes on new legitimacy as an asset class, we can expect new levels of scrutiny.

Cover image modified from photo by Edward Kucherenko on Unsplash

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