'Tis The Season

DEC 23, 2020 • 3 Min Read

mediodelphi

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In our recent Bitcoin Outlook from December 4th, we laid out the case for why Bitcoin had entered a new bull cycle. BTC reaching a new all time high price of $24,225 only 3 days ago is certainly in line with that forecast. However, while the crypto markets feel energized going into year end, these types of cycles don’t play out all at once. They happen over a multi-month or multi-year timeline. There are ebbs and flows. With the current tax year coming to a close, what can we expect for the start of 2021? Let’s dive in and analyze the historic seasonality of BTC and ETH as we attempt to answer that question.

First, allow me to show some humility. When the markets pulled back in September, I became frustrated with myself for not seeing it coming. The frustration wasn’t from temporarily losing money but rather because crypto always has a bad September. How could I forget that? While I don’t like admitting it, perhaps I was partially blinded by the euphoric atmosphere coming off the DeFi boom this summer. Regardless of the reason, I made it a point to make sure it doesn’t happen again. September wasn’t the only bad month that came to mind. As someone who lived through the 2018 bear market, I remembered how Q1 of the new year can be a minefield to navigate. The start of 2021 could play out similarly to the start of 2018, when markets were also coming off then all time highs and people waited until the new tax year had begun to take profits, allowing them to delay payment on any tax liabilities from capital gains by another full year.

As shown above, January has proven to be a historically bad month for the price of BTC, with the notable exception of this year. It’s certainly possible that January 2020 marked the reversal of this trend moving forward, but with prices currently elevated I would still expect some degree of increased profit taking for BTC.

ETH is a different story in January. It typically performs rather well and may even benefit from traders rotating profits from BTC into it. We’ve seen a similar set up before. On December 19, 2017 BTC hit its peak, but ETH would have to wait until January 13, 2018 to reach its all time high of $1,448. A level it still has yet to exceed. If history repeats itself, that could change soon. Especially with DeFi gaining momentum. Institutional investors that want exposure to DeFi growth may use ETH as a proxy for it given the inherent challenges of them investing directly in tokens.

For now, we’ll have to wait and see what happens. The only thing I know for certain is that we’ll need to do a refresh on this before March.

 

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