Bitcoin Death Cross Is Staring Down Bulls After a Painful Retreat

After one of the roughest patches ever for Bitcoin enthusiasts, holders of the largest digital currency are facing an ominous technical price pattern with a name that suggests more pain ahead.

Known as a death cross, the measure shows up whenever an asset’s average price over the last 50 days drops below that of its 200-day moving average, an indication that its momentum is headed downward. And though it hasn’t occurred yet for Bitcoin, it looks to be on course to hit it later this week, according to Mati Greenspan, founder of Quantum Economics.

“The chart is pretty clear,” he said.

Bitcoin was down less than 1% to around $41,622 as of 10:48 a.m. in New York. Before Tuesday, it had notched only three up days since the new year started. Ether, the second-largest digital token by market value, also looks to be on track to form a death cross -- it traded around $3,125 on Tuesday.

Cryptocurrencies have been under pressure in recent weeks, with Bitcoin dropping more than 30% since reaching a high of almost $69,000 in November. The latest stretch lower for digital assets is happening as odds rise that policy makers could commence a series of rate hikes as soon as March -- and that’s just one of several steps they’re set to take in removing liquidity. In such an environment, speculative investments lose their luster. Only 5% of JPMorgan Chase & Co. clients now foresee Bitcoin hitting $100,000 by the end of 2022.

The indicator is supposed to be bearish but Bitcoin’s track record around death-cross formations remains murky. It marked the grim-sounding pattern in June of last year, and another one in March 2020 proved no impediment to gains as it turned higher and formed a golden cross (when the pattern is reversed) two months later. But a death cross in November 2019 saw the coin trading lower one month later.