Bitcoin (BTC) saw a surge in investor optimism on Monday, April 10th, with its price topping $29,744 in the afternoon, its highest level since early June. This comes after fears about the conventional banking system began to diminish in mid-March. However, the exact cause of the move was difficult to pinpoint. The cryptocurrency had been lingering closer to $28,000 until it rose nearly 4% between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. ET (14:00-15:00 UTC).
According to Edward Moya, senior market analyst for foreign exchange market maker Oanda, there wasn’t a clear catalyst for the surge. However, he noted that the move higher “occurred around the release of news that Federal Home Loan Bank debt issuance had lessened, signaling that the banking crisis was easing.” Furthermore, Moya suggested that the surge might also stem partly from “buying from crypto traders voicing frustration on social media over a one-sided New York Times article that took issue over [bitcoin’s] energy consumption.”
Ether (ETH), the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, also saw a jump in its price, crossing the $1,900 level before retreating. It was recently up about 1.7% versus 24 hours earlier. Other major cryptocurrencies were largely in the green, albeit light shades. ARB, the token of layer 2 blockchain Arbitrum, was recently up more than 2.8%, while XRP rose about 1%. The CoinDesk Market Index, a measure of the crypto market’s overall performance, recently rose 2.3%.
While equity indexes closed roughly flat with the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average rising a few ticks of a percentage point, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost 0.03%. Crypto-related stocks, on the other hand, enjoyed a memorable day, with crypto exchange Coinbase (COIN) and corporate bitcoin vault MicroStrategy (MSTR) both rising more than 7.5%.
Investors will be eyeing the March Consumer Price March Index (CPI) report this week for signs that inflation is continuing its recent trudge downward. In February, inflation in the U.S. slowed to 0.4% from 0.5% a month earlier and 6% on a yearly basis from 6.4% the previous month. Bitcoin jumped past $26,000 following that report, on March 14th.
A continued slowdown in inflation could embolden central bankers to scale back their year-long regime of harsh interest rate hikes, although the impact on Bitcoin is uncertain. The cryptocurrency seemed to gain momentum following the recent U.S. bank failures that caused worries about the conventional financial system, as investors shifted toward assets that retain value through good times and bad.
Richard Mico, the U.S. CEO and chief legal officer of Banxa, a payment-and-compliance infrastructure provider to the crypto industry, wrote in an email to CoinDesk, “BTC is also being seen as a reliable store of value that lacks the issues that come with storing your money by way of a third-party intermediary, or a bank. This is further supported by the decreasing correlation with the equity markets since 2021 – BTC is now properly starting to be perceived as a risk-off asset.”
Joe DiPasquale, the CEO of crypto fund manager BitBull Capital, was cautiously optimistic about the sustainability of Bitcoin’s Monday surge. From a technical analysis perspective, the current move is “a retest of the range high established in March after the initial surge from under $20,000. The success of this test would see the price claiming $30,000 while a failure here should
see BTC drop to $25,000, followed by $23,000.” However, he added that “the current price is also testing the lows of July 2021, where the market bounced back into another big rally.”
It’s worth noting that the first wave of quarterly earnings with banking giants JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup scheduled to report results could also affect the cryptocurrency market. Analysts are expecting a largely downcast quarter, particularly in the hard-hit financial services sector.
Overall, BTC’s recent surge seems to be driven by a combination of factors, including investor optimism, frustration over negative media coverage, and a general shift towards alternative assets. However, the exact cause remains difficult to pinpoint, and it remains to be seen whether BTC can sustain its current momentum.