Are Whales Controlling the Bitcoin Move or ‘Liquidity Crunch’ Caused by Miners?
The crypto market is showing resilience, with any dips in the BTC price getting filled up immediately.
Bitcoin is holding firm above $18,000, on track to retest the high set early this week and then onto $20,000. Charlie Bilello, founder, and CEO of Compound Capital Advisors, noted,
“During the last 3 months of 2017, Bitcoin hit a new all-time high once every 3 days, on average. Since its peak in 2017, Bitcoin has gone 1,069 days without a new high. Longest streak ever was 1,176 days (Dec 2013 to Feb 2017). Bitcoin is now w/in $2,000 of a new high.”
#Bitcoin bull markets are characterized by a decreasing BTC supply held by hodlers, as long-term investors move old coins in order to take profits.
We started to see this trend last month, as the long-term holder supply has decreased by ~300k BTC.
— glassnode (@glassnode) November 19, 2020
As we reported, the demand for risk has the open interest in the future and options on the rise with “the skew showing plenty of evidence of bullish market positioning.” Denis Vinokourov of Bequant said,
“The trend of turning to stablecoin margined products is particularly supportive for the price action and removes some of the unfavourable price action, since Bitcoin margined futures can amplify downside due to convexity.”
The Whale Move
While retail is here, albeit not in full force, it has been the whales, a few large holders, who are driving the rally and continuing to own most BTC.
According to researcher Flipside Crypto, about 2% of the whales control 95% of the digital asset. However, Lyn Alden of Lyn Alden Investment Strategy argues that the same could be said of the stock market, and while the number of addresses with >0.1 or >1 BTC is growing, addresses with >100 BTC have been shrinking, she said.
For folks pointing out how concentrated Bitcoin ownership is, keep in mind that the stock market is nearly as concentrated, despite being >100x bigger.
The top 1% own 52% of stocks, and the top 10% (incl top 1%) own 88%.
The other 90% of people pick at the remaining 12%. pic.twitter.com/fIqb4oa5z3
— Lyn Alden (@LynAldenContact) November 19, 2020
“The story is that as the price has surged upwards lately, the concentration in the hands of the largest accounts has also risen,” since July, said Eric Stone, head of data science at Flipside.
As per the breakdown, whales own 92.4% of the 2% while cryptocurrency exchanges account for nearly 7% of the digital asset, down from 7.7% a year ago. More than 70% of Bitcoin addresses have less than 0.01 Bitcoin in them. Stone said,
“While whales continue to be a significant force behind the overall BTC market, it is always challenging to ascribe a narrative to a particular price swing.”
“The most likely whale story today is that they’ll cautiously liquidate relatively small amounts of BTC over time, rather than risking a supply shock by liquidating larger chunks all at once.”
If you don't see the institutional take over of #Bitcoin, then you aren't paying attention.
CME open interest hits $1bn for the first time
CME volume hits record highs today over $1.5bn
Numbers go up! pic.twitter.com/Q3R37cEhy8
— Hxro Labs (@RealHxroLabs) November 19, 2020
Miners’ Move or Lack of it
Besides whales propelling BTC forward, as a large holder can have an outsized impact on the market. Some speculated this rally could also be driven by Chinese miners’ inability to sell their BTC because of a regulatory crackdown, which has led to a “liquidity crunch.”
But Lucas Nuzzi from CoinMetrics pointed out that this isn’t the case as the miners are unlikely to play this significant role in liquidity.
The supply held by mining pools and individual miners shows that they have not been selling their BTC, which is part of a long-term trend. Miner outflows also invalidate the narrative with the recent spikes in funds sent shows that miners are moving assets, which signals the ability to sell. Moreover, the 30-day miner rolling inventory suggests that nothing out of the ordinary is taking place.
The market has matured since 2017, with derivatives, credit markets, and institutional custody becoming a big part of the infrastructure, making it easier for hedge funds, family offices, and other professional investors to jump in.
With supportive macro factors, hedge against inflation narrative, and good old FOMO, Bitcoin is enjoying an uptrend.