Fear has once again gripped the crypto markets, as the headline-dominating crash of supposed stablecoin TerraUSD UST (and its support coin Luna LUNA ) added $64 billion in losses to a downturn that cumulatively saw cryptocurrencies lose a staggering $1 trillion in market value in just five weeks.
Bitcoin BTC , the benchmark for all other cryptocurrencies, has declined roughly 60% since its all time high of $68,990, notably breaking through the often referenced $30,000 support level—briefly wicking down as low as $25,400 before consolidating upwards.
These developments may feel apocalyptic for some bitcoin holders (55% of whom only began investing in the currency last year), however many industry veterans are instead optimistic—arguing that bitcoin is actually right on track.
“So [the prices] we’re looking at right now, using logarithmic regressions and those types of models—we’re completely in line with that,” says Benjamin Cowen, host of Into The Cryptoverse, a popular technical crypto charting platform. “We could go back to 15k and still be in line with that.”
While Cowen (who was calling for $25,000 bitcoin back in January) himself acknowledges that technical price predictions can “go with the wind”, he does take some confidence in the fact that bitcoin has seen extreme volatility several times before—and hasn’t yet broken the model.
“If you look at prior moves and bitcoin bear markets, the pullbacks have been less severe each time. The first pullback was 94%. The second one was I think around 87%. The third one was 84%. So right now—from 69k to 25k—it’s a little over a 60% pullback.”
“Now if bitcoin were to go down more than 84%, then clearly the structure of the market is completely changing,” he adds.
Cowen’s not alone in his analysis. Jeffrey Ross, Managing Director at Vailshire Capital has described a $20,000 bitcoin as a “generational opportunity” for investors, stating his fund is a net buyer as the currency’s price declines .
“I look at things like the 200-week moving average—that’s sitting at like $21,000 right now. Bitcoin in the past, when it’s gotten as bad as it can get, usually goes down and kisses that line. It can dip below, but then there would be tons of people—myself included—that would be backing up the truck to buy as much as possible,” Ross said in a Zoom interview. “So I don’t think it would last very long.”
Both Cowen and Ross acknowledged this is the first time bitcoin has existed in an environment with quantitative tightening by the Fed, which could prolong recovery as the market maintains a “risk-off” appetite. It’s also worth noting that bitcoin’s entire 13-year existence has coincided with the longest bull run in history, meaning stationary regression models may not necessarily hold as the macro environment changes.
However, even looking beyond the technicals, Ross pointed to the continued strength of on-chain metrics like bitcoin’s adoption rate (approximated by new addresses with a non-zero balance), as drivers of exponential growth in the network’s value.
“According to Metcalfe’s Law, right, the value of a network is equal to the number of users squared. So as the [bitcoin] adoption rate grows in a linear fashion, the price or the value of the network, grows in an exponential fashion.”
“So like the internet, like cell phone adoption, like social media, [bitcoin] basically follows this S-curve of adoption. That’s what I think is going to happen.”
Indeed while bitcoin’s price has seen five major price resets to date, coin ownership and transaction volume during this time has continued to grow steadily. According to a report by on-chain data platform, Chainalysis, global bitcoin adoption increased 881% between Q3 2020 and Q3 2021, largely driven by growth outside the U.S. and China. It’s estimated that currently between 16-22% of the U.S. adult population has some exposure to bitcoin.
Meanwhile, bitcoin (and cryptocurrency at large) continues to draw attention from U.S. regulators, with Congress introducing 50 bills pertaining to the regulation and taxation of digital assets. Many pundits, including early bitcoin evangelist and MicroStrategy MSTR CEO Michael Saylor, believe this is a good thing; a necessary safeguard to spur new institutional investment.
In the short term the price of bitcoin is expected to remain choppy, with many analysts citing previous bear market durations of 12-18 months. And while trying to precisely time the bottom is largely seen as a fool’s errand, one thing is for sure: if you believe in the long term value of bitcoin, short-term price reductions may actually be a good thing.