Bitcoin has always had a reputation for turbulence, and the last week has certainly confirmed those times are not yet over. After coming off an all-time high of just under $3,000 in mid-June, the market had stabilised around the $2,600 mark. On July 10, though, we saw a classic bitcoin move: a crash of around $800 or 30% over the course of a week, wiping many billions off its market cap.
Alts followed suit and more. In recent months we have seen a huge influx of money into crypto, predominantly bitcoin and Ethereum, but many alts too as speculators looked for bargains compared to these two major coins. With thinner order books, the alts are more susceptible to speculative bubbles. Most of the larger alts have posted all-time highs in recent weeks, as the total crypto market cap pushed above $100 billion.
Bitcoin’s sell-off was likely prompted by concerns about SegWit and the risk of a chain split, which could have been devastating to the virtual currency. Markets donÆt exactly react to news in the way that people often claim they do. Rather, news tends to give the market an excuse to go the direction it wants to anyway. Bitcoin and the alts were clearly overbought; this latest news was simply a catalyst. The results were brutal.
Bitcoin didn’t suffer too badly, all things considered. A 30% loss is significant and many traders would have been badly burned, but most alts posted far greater falls. Many crashed to just 20% of their recent highs. Traders reacted to the bloodbath, and naturally they quickly became as oversold as they had been overbought.
Over the last couple of days we have seen a sharp but reasonably healthy recovery. Bitcoin has climbed back above $2,000 and is currently sitting between $2,700 and $2,800. Alts have made gains on top of bitcoin. Nothing has approached the highs of the recent bubble again.
It’s always worth noting that these massive market swings are caused not by fundamentals, which are ge...