1. Market Movements
In January crypto sold-off alongside other asset classes, with Bitcoin (BTC) down -17% and Ethereum (ETH) down -27% (Table 1). Central bank monetary tightening was largely attributed to the across-the-board market decline.
Table 1: Price Performance: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Gold, US Equities, Long-dated US Treasuries, US dollar
As we are set to publish crypto has rallied strongly to start February, with bitcoin recouping almost all of its January loss. Are there any reasons to suggest this bounce marks the near-term bottom in crypto prices?
We take a smidge of psychological encouragement in the recent price action, where on some recents days crypto prices are diverging from what is happening with the US equities market (tech equities in particular). Our view is crypto possesses unique characteristics, and market participants should observe and trade on crypto’s own fundamentals over time versus simply correlating with what’s happening with tech equities.
More significantly, we continue to see strong fundamentals across a number of dimensions, including significant fundraising by blockchain networks (eg a large Sequoia-led $450m fundraise by Polygon (MATIC)).
The further support we see for bitcoin adoption by certain US states and legislators is also fueling a view that it is only a matter of time before more sovereign entities follow El Salvador in embracing bitcoin in some way.
Past major crypto sell-offs have also typically brought a silver lining: brand new crypto investors that missed the prior run-up. If such new investors are arriving in meaningful numbers this should help support current price levels.
2. On-Chain Activity
In January, the only bitcoin on-chain metric to show a gain across our selected statistics is the estimated mining hash rate, which increased 8.2% for the month (Table 2).
The continuing increase in bitcoin’s estimated hash rate despite another monthly bitcoin price decline speaks to the medium-term price confidence of bitcoin miners and the availability of economically attractive sources of energy.
Table 2: December vs January bitcoin on-chain network activity
The average number of daily transactions (-4.6%) and payments (-3.8%) declined in January. In addition, the average daily active addresses fell -7.3% from December to January.
Reduced bitcoin transaction activity typically results in a decline in average daily fees per transaction, which dropped from $2.42 per transaction in December to $1.80 per transaction in January.
Total BTC transactions and payments made using the Blockchain.com platform in January were down -4.1% and -5.0%, respectively compared to December.
3. What we’re reading, hearing, and watching
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