Article by Coindesk: Omkar Godbole
Bitcoin’s latest bout of consolidation may end up with bullish breakout, as a key metric of miner confidence has hit all-time highs.
The top cryptocurrency by market value has clocked lower daily highs and higher daily lows over the last three days and is currently trading at $10,300 on Bitstamp, little changed on a 24-hour basis.
The cryptocurrency has charted the narrowing price range amid a surge in non-price metrics including a rise in the network’s hash rate – a measure of the computing power dedicated to mining bitcoin.
The two-week average hash rate reached a record high of 85 exahashes per second (EH/s) around 19:00 UTC last Friday. Further, mining difficulty – a measure of how hard it is to create a block of transactions – also jumped to a new all-time of nearly 12 trillion.
The hash rate could be considered a barometer of miner’s confidence in the bitcoin price rally. After all, the miners would be ready to dedicate more resources for mining if they are bullish on price and would want to scale back their operations if a price slide is expected.
Hence, many observers, including the likes of Changpeng Zhao, Founder of Binance, and former Wall Street trader and journalist Max Keiser believe prices follow hash rate.
Zhao tweeted on Friday that, “a rising hash rate means more miners are investing in BTC”, while few other observers stated that sellers should think twice before betting against the most secure blockchain – the higher the hash rate of a cryptocurrency network, the more expensive to 51 percent attack.
Put simply, Zhao is expecting bitcoin’s price to track the hash rate higher. It is worth noting that the market stands divided on the relationship between bitcoin’s price and hash rate.
Some observers believe the hash rate follows price and the metric’s outperformance represents overtly exuberant miners. Hence, reading the rising hash rate as a sign of an impending price rally may prove costly.
That said, the price is likely to follow the hash rate this time, as overexuberance is typically observed at market tops or near record highs. As of now, BTC is down almost $10,000 from the record high of $20,000 reached in December.
Also, the market sentiment is quite bullish with reward halving (supply cut) due in less than a year and the sustained uptick in miners’ confidence is more likely to draw fresh bids, possibly leading to a positive feedback loop.
All-in-all, the narrowing price range established over the last few days is likely to pave the way for a bullish move.
Daily and 4-hour charts
Bitcoin has charted (above left) back-to-back inside bar candlestick pattern over the last three days. The first inside bar appeared on Friday as that day’s high and low fell within Thursday’s trading range.
The second and the third inside bar candle was created on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Inside bars indicate consolidation and lack of volatility and often end with an explosive move on either side. A break below the first inside bar’s (Friday) low of $10,154 would imply range breakdown and could yield a stronger sell-off to levels below $9,855 (Sept. 11 low).
A break above Friday’s high of $10,458 would imply range breakout and open the doors to $10,956 (July 20 high).
The falling wedge breakout confirmed on the 4-hour chart (above right) last week is still valid. So, the probability of range breakout is high.
Disclosure: The author holds no cryptocurrency assets at the time of writing.
Bitcoin image via Shutterstock; charts by Trading View