Why is Bitcoin price down today?

Bitcoin's price is down today as total market liquidity and derivatives markets continue to wane.

The bullish momentum that propelled Bitcoin to a 55.7% year-to-date gain has all but vanished as Bitcoin’s price has lost 11.4% in the past 30 days. Bitcoin’s (BTC) price seemingly had bullish momentum after the Grayscale court victory against the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), but these gains have fully evaporated as the September losing streak continues. 

The contraction in Bitcoin's price has some analysts comparing the current BTC market to the pre-bull market cycle of 2015-2017.

Bitcoin price. Source: TradingView

Let’s take a closer look at the factors impacting the Bitcoin price today.

Related: How to protect your crypto in a volatile market: Bitcoin OGs and experts weigh in

Liquidity disappears as Bitcoin investor sentiment stalls

The start of 2023 saw traders with short positions continually dominating liquidations in the futures market. Bulls were caught off guard on Aug. 17 when a flash crash caused over $213.5 million of longs to be liquidated. This marked the largest single day of Bitcoin long liquidations since the Terra Luna collapse in May 2022. 

Since the flash crash, the market has been in a perpetual state of capital outflows from risk assets like Bitcoin and Ether (ETH). Despite the strong volume at the start of 2023 for derivatives markets, the risk appetite has substantially declined from 2021-2022 levels, shedding $6 billion on average daily.

Ether derivatives volume. Source: Glassnode

Similar to the decrease in Ether derivatives volume, Bitcoin bulls are showing decreased interest. The reduction in open interest is leading some analysts to believe $22,000 is the next plausible step for the Bitcoin price.

Despite the decrease in Bitcoin derivatives volume, over $8.76 million in longs were liquidated in 24 hours, and open options are skewed short, seemingly showing the bears are in control.

Bitcoin liquidation data. Source: CoinGlass

When BTC longs are liquidated without buying pressure from trading volume, Bitcoin's price is negatively affected. Bitcoin volume has also hit the lowest levels since early 2021, and BTC Ordinals volume is down over 98%.

The absence of consistent liquidity and trading volume has sent the Fear & Greed Index, a key investor sentiment gauge, into a downtrend in the last 30 days, switching from neutral sentiment to fear.

Fear & Greed Index. Source: Alternative

All eyes on Bitcoin ETFs

The short-term uncertainty in the crypto market does not appear to have changed institutional investors’ long-term outlook. Despite a hostile U.S. regulatory environment, large institutions are pushing for Bitcoin financial instruments, which may spark a bull run. Currently, nine top investment firms have exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications pending with the SEC. 

Despite the urgency of major financial firms, Bitwise has officially withdrawn its Bitcoin and Ether ETF applications. The SEC seems poised to continue to delay decisions on approving Bitcoin ETFs, including BlackRock’s application, until 2024. This could continue to negatively impact investor sentiment and price action across the crypto market.

While some investors have speculated that BlackRock may be suppressing the Bitcoin price ahead of its eventual ETF launch, the argument seems to be a conspiracy, as it has more to lose from a BTC price crash.

Related: BTC bull market began in March, more will realize in a year — Arthur Hayes

Even with the current Bitcoin price downturn, Pantera Capital believes BTC could hit $148,000 by July 2025.

Will short-term pain in macro lead to long-term gains in crypto?

The Bitcoin price continues to be directly impacted by macroeconomic events, and it is also likely that further regulatory actions and interest rate hikes will continue having some effect on the BTC price. Even as China ruled that virtual assets are legal property on Sept. 1 and the OKX exchange is in the final stage of acquiring a Hong Kong virtual asset service provider license, the Bitcoin price continued to drop. 

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell also gave a speech on Aug. 25 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming that provided insight that the Fed will continue with aggressive interest rate policies for as long as it takes to tamp down inflation.

In the long term, market participants still expect the price of Bitcoin to recover, especially as more financial institutions are seemingly embracing BTC.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.


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