The price of Bitcoin (BTC) was in a narrow trading range near $3,600 since the crash on Jan. 10, but this morning, Bitcoin (BTC) quickly declined to $3,500. Bitcoin (BTC) remains well below the critical $3,900 level where CME Bitcoin futures traders likely took out short positions.
$3,900 continues to be the level to watch. If Bitcoin (BTC) exceeds it significantly, we’ll likely see a massive short squeeze, forcing short sellers out of their positions and potentially fueling a sustained rally. Otherwise, short sellers will remain in control, and we can expect persistent downward pressure on Bitcoin (BTC) until the CME futures expiration on Jan. 25.
Other major cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum (ETH), EOS, Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), and Tron (TRX) are faring worse than Bitcoin. The total cryptocurrency market cap recovered slightly to $124 billion on Jan. 11, but it has now dropped to $117 billion. This is still well above the $100 billion level we saw in mid-December during the worst of the bear market. That said, it is not out of the question that this level will be re-tested in 2019, and it will take a consistent long-term rally to declare that the crypto bear market is over.
The sharp crypto market downtrend on Jan. 10 appears to have popped the TRON (TRX) bubble. From Dec. 16 through Jan. 10, TRON (TRX) rallied from 0.0126 cents to 0.034 cents (170 percent). It has since declined 38 percent to 0.021 cents. TRON (TRX) is down 10 percent today alone, which is the day’s worst performance of any major cryptocurrency. The TRON (TRX) rally did not appear to have strong fundamentals behind it, and it appears to be turning into a classic pump and dump.
Ethereum (ETH) is showing pre-fork jitters. As of this Jan. 13 writing, the Constantinople hard fork is only 20,000 blocks away, with fork deployment scheduled at block 7.08 million. That’s a mere three to four days away, yet fewer than 16 percent of all Ethereum (ETH) nodes have upgraded to Constantinople. Since this is a hard fork, even in the best case scenario, there will be two competing Ethereum blockchains for a period of time.
If a significant amount of miners stage a coup d’etat by simply not upgrading, a new cryptocurrency that is more favorable for ETHash miners could form. Miners have an incentive to do this because Constantinople slashes block rewards from three Ether to two. Also, ProgPow, which greatly inhibits ASIC efficiency, will be implemented in the coming months. Ethereum (ETH) developers have explicitly stated that Proof of Work (PoW) will eventually be abandoned in order to make way for Proof of Stake (PoS), which would end Ethereum mining as we know it.
Perhaps the uncertainty about what will happen when the fork is deployed is the reason Ethereum (ETH) has declined 8 percent today to $116. Ripple (XRP) is solidifying its market cap lead over Ethereum (ETH), with a $900 million lead now, despite Ripple (XRP) dropping 4 percent today.
The other major cryptocurrencies that are going down today are Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin SV (BSV), down 8 percent and 9 percent respectively. Both of these cryptocurrencies have been performing poorly since the Bitcoin Cash fork in Mid-November.
Otherwise, all major cryptocurrencies are down. EOS is down seven percent, Stellar (XLM) is down two percent, Litecoin (LTC) is down five percent, Monero (XMR) is down five percent, and Dash is down five percent.
The current instability and downward pressure in the crypto market may intensify as the Ethereum (ETH) Constantinople hard fork approaches since numerous cryptocurrencies depend on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain.