Bitcoin Inflation Hedge Mantra Put to Test as Momentum Falters

A screen shows the exchange price trend of Bitcoin to U.S. Dollar. (Photographer: Paul Yeung/Bloomberg)

Bitcoin Inflation Hedge Mantra Put to Test as Momentum Falters

Bitcoin’s stayed quiet so far this month, even as inflation prints show up hotter than expected. Chartists are now keying in on technical indicators to see where it could be headed.

The price of Bitcoin is nearing the lower band of its Trading Envelope indicator -- which smooths moving averages to map out higher and lower limits -- suggesting it’s near a critical inflection point. If the lower level of the band is breached, the price could test its major support level of $30,000, which chartists say it needs to hold in order to sustain the current trading range. If it were to drop below and rally back, it could retest the upper trading band, which currently sits near $36,000.

“Bitcoin, I think, is too speculative of a market still, even though it has some institutional adoption,” said Brian Walsh, Jr., senior financial adviser at Walsh & Nicholson Financial Group. “There’s still a lot that has to be proven.”

Bitcoin Inflation Hedge Mantra Put to Test as Momentum Falters

Bitcoin has remained relatively range-bound since the start of the month, hovering between $32,000 and $34,000, recently trading up about 1% at $32,841. But its appeal as an inflation hedge is being put to the test amid a slew of data showing higher costs associated with the reopening from the pandemic. Prices paid by U.S. consumers spiked in June by the most since 2008, while those paid to producers also rose by more than expected.

Hardcore enthusiasts have argued Bitcoin and some other cryptocurrencies are a hedge against rising consumer prices and excessive money printing from global central banks. The logic goes like this: Unlike U.S. dollars or any other traditional currency, it’s designed to have a limited supply, so it can’t be devalued by a government or a central bank distributing too much of it.

“It’s just so early and speculative that markets don’t really consider it an inflation hedge,” said Walsh. “Yes, there’s a finite supply -- but that’s not everything.”

Pulling back the time-frame beyond the month of July shows a rougher time for the world’s largest digital coin. Bitcoin reached a record of near $65,000 in mid-April and is down roughly 45% since then. Strategists are scanning the landscape for signs as to where it could be headed next. It’s already given up much of its gains for the year, rising roughly 13.5% since the end of December, which means the S&P 500 is beating it by about 3 percentage points.

“Just think how far Bitcoin has come in the past year, that had to correct. It was due for a pullback,” Eric Diton, president and managing director of The Wealth Alliance, said by phone. “You’re seeing a big increase in regulation, especially from the Chinese, and that’s enough to dampen the spirits there in the crypto world at least temporarily and make people take some profits.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.