Bitcoin (BTC) launches its first full week of September with BTC price action at a crossroads — can $26,000 return?
After a quiet weekend, the dust has appeared to settle on last week’s volatility as crypto markets return to “business as usual.”
Bitcoin finds itself lingering in familiar territory, but without a trend, traders and analysts remain undecided as to its next moves.
There is certainly no shortage of downside BTC price predictions — $25,000, $24,750 and even $23,000 have all become popular targets in recent weeks.
Bulls, on the other hand, are thought to have a more difficult task on their hands in winning back market momentum.
WIth network fundamentals due to consolidate recent gains of their own and macro markets quiet, the question as to whether September 2023 will be a classic month of single-digit losses for BTC/USD is now a talking point.
Cointelegraph takes a look at the main factors influencing BTC price action over the coming days.
Weekend Bitcoin price chops up BTC shorts
Bitcoin offered few surprises in out-of-hours weekend trading — a status quo that could continue with United States equities markets only opening on Sep. 5.
For most of the past two days, BTC/USD acted in a tight $200 corridor, data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView shows — but modest spikes up and down belied the presence of speculative exchange players.
These were noticed by popular trader Skew, who uploaded order book data showing failed shorts being behind Bitcoin’s brief trips past $26,000.
Positions are still getting blown out in $200 price moves on a sunday lol
this small pop was shorts getting blown out or closing at market pic.twitter.com/7ih2KpjEEq
— Skew Δ (@52kskew) September 3, 2023
“All it took was someone figuring out where stops were and market buying a few mil in spot then dumping it after forcing out some shorts,” part of additional X (formerly Twitter) commentary added.
Further BTC spot market analysis queried whether the weekly close, which came in at around $25,970, would end up as a plan to give bulls a false sense of security.
— Skew Δ (@52kskew) September 3, 2023
As Cointelegraph reported, $25,900 was already on the radar for Skew as the level to hold into the weekly candle close.
For fellow trader and analyst Rekt Capital, however, anything much below $26,000 was cause for concern on longer timeframes.
Failure to reclaim that level, he warned over the weekend, meant risking a double top structure for 2023, with the area around $31,000 the BTC price ceiling and protracted downside to come.
“A BTC Weekly Candle Close below ~$26,000 (green) would likely confirm the Double Top to kickstart the breakdown process,” he commented on a chart showing the setup.
Fed speakers headline macro week
A cool macro week is meanwhile a potential source of light relief for risk asset traders.
The coming four-day week for the U.S. holds little in terms of significant macroeconomic data, with the Federal Reserve itself instead in focus.
Ahead of the month’s crunch interest rates decision on Sep. 19, various senior Fed officials will offer commentary on the state of the economy this week. These include Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic and New York Fed President John Williams.
“Short week, but it’s all about the Fed,” financial commentary resource The Kobeissi Letter summarized on X alongside the main diary dates for the coming days.
It added that Fed policy was “still far from clear” in the run-up to the rates decision.
Bitcoin has become notably less sensitive to Fed comments over the summer, with even those of Fed Chair Jerome Powell not managing to impact BTC price action significantly.
The words used by officials can nonetheless upend market expectations for what will happen with the Fed’s inflation battle.
At the time of writing, per data from CME Group’s FedWatch Tool, markets overwhelmingly expected — with 93% certainty — rates to remain the same in September.
Difficulty due comedown from all-time highs
After surging ahead to new all-time highs two weeks ago, Bitcoin mining difficulty is coming down to earth.
In a modest consolidation, difficulty is expected to drop by around 2.4% at its upcoming automated readjustment on Sep. 5.
This is nothing unusual by historical standards, especially in light of the 6.5% increase seen in mid-August — a boost which came despite BTC price action going the other way.
Analyzing the potential cause, James Straten, research and data analyst at crypto insights firm CryptoSlate, flagged an accompanying decrease in Bitcoin miners’ BTC stockpile.
“This has coincided with miner balance decreasing by about 4k BTC, primarily coming from F2Pool that has seen its BTC balance cut in half,” part of weekend X commentary read.
Straten added that any further decrease in BTC price performance could result in additional miner stress, compounding the trend at F2Pool.
“If bitcoin was to experience another drop down we could likely see another miner capitulation,” he warned.
Reacting, IT Tech, a contributor to on-chain analytics platform CryptoQuant, referenced a correlation between “minor” BTC price dips and miners sending BTC to exchanges.
“This action, of course, increased the selling pressure, eventually leading them to sell on the market,” an excerpt from recent comments stated.
IT Tech described the BTC sales as modest in size but occurring “in the worst moments.”
Dormant BTC supply sets new records
Behind the scenes, Bitcoin’s supply is steadily becoming more and more the property of long-term holders.
The latest data from on-chain analytics firm Glassnode reveals several new records pertaining to BTC locked up in long-term storage.
The percentage of the currently mined supply which has now been dormant for three years or more is now 40.538% — its highest ever.
The equivalent measure for coins stationary in wallets for at least five years now stands at 29.637% — similarly a new record.
Supply constriction is a welcome sight for Bitcoin bulls, who conclude that any future demand for BTC will see buyers compete for a smaller amount of the supply.
In recent analysis, Straten also noted that Bitcoin speculators, commonly called short-term holders, had already distributed BTC to the market.
“Once again, bitcoin short term holders have capitulated roughly 20k BTC sent to exchanges at a loss,” he wrote at the weekend.
“Fourth highest amount this year. This will continue to add to the record divergence between long term holder and short term holder supply.”
Accompanying Glassnode data showed the volume of BTC sent by short-term holders to exchanges at a loss.
Interest turns back the clock to 2020
Bitcoin is hardly a mainstream conversation topic for the average non-crypto consumer this year, and Google Trends data proves it.
Normalized search interest is now back at levels seen before BTC/USD broke beyond its old 2017 all-time high of $20,000 in late 2020.
Search activity is heavily linked to BTC price action, and the lack of notable upside events throughout Q2 appears to have contributed to flat mainstream attention.
Within crypto, meanwhile, the average investor is feeling afraid.
According to sentiment gauge, the Crypto Fear & Greed Index, “fear” is what currently characterizes the overall market mood.
At 40/100, the Index is in territory familiar since mid-August, when Bitcoin dropped 10%.
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