Bitcoin logged double-digit price gains last week, confirming a reversal from a six-month downtrend.
The top cryptocurrency by market cap gained 11.2 percent in the seven days to Jan. 12, the biggest weekly gain since October, according to CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index.
Prices rallied by 16 percent in the third week of October. Since then, bitcoin has managed to score gains in just three weeks.
During the bleak six months to Dec. 31, the cryptocurrency eked out double-digit weekly gains just two times. Further, bitcoin suffered losses in 15 out of 27 weeks, with two weeks ending roughly flat.
Clearly, the bears were in control in the second half of 2019. Prices fell from highs above $13,000 to $6,425 during the period, establishing a series of lower highs and lower lows on the weekly chart.
That downward trajectory, however, has ended with last week’s 11 percent gain and the path of least resistance is now on the higher side.
Last week’s candle closed well above the upper edge of the bearish channel, confirming a bullish breakout.
The pattern indicates the pullback from $13,800 has ended and the bull run from lows near $4,100 seen in the first week of April 2019 has resumed.
The 11 percent rise has also confirmed the bearish-to-bullish trend change signaled by the hammer candle created in the third week of December.
The activation of twin bullish cues is backed by a rise in buying volumes to the highest since November. Notably, last week’s volume bar violated the descending trendline, validating the price breakout.
The cryptocurrency has also moved back above the bullish ascending 50-week moving average.
The odds appear stacked in favor of a rise to $10,350 (October high). A weekly close (Sunday, UTC) below $7,342 would invalidate breakout, although that looks unlikely currently.
At press time, bitcoin is changing hands at $8,110.
With the breakout, the odds of bitcoin repeating history by crossing the 2019 high of $13,880 ahead of the May 2020 mining reward halving have strengthened.
Programmed into the blockchain, the halving cuts the amount of bitcoin created every 10 minutes by half. The process is repeated every four years.
Historically, bitcoin has hit a new market cycle top (the highest point from the preceding bear market low) in the calendar year of a halving, but before the event, according to popular analyst Rekt Capital.
For instance, bitcoin bottomed out near $150 in January 2015 and rose to a high of $502 in November 2015, confirming a bullish reversal. Prices then fell back to $365 in February 2016 before hitting a new cycle top $778 in June – a month ahead of the reward halving, which took place in July 2016.
Note that the high of $778 reached in June 2016 was the highest price from the bear market low of $150, but was well short of the record high (at the time) of $1,153 reached in December 2013.
Similar price action was seen in the 12 months to November 2012, when bitcoin underwent its first reward halving, as noted by Rekt Capital.
So, if history is a guide, bitcoin could clock highs in the range of $13,880 (2019 high) to $20,000 (record high) before the third halving, due in four months.
As for the next 24 hours, $8,200 is the level to beat for the bulls.
A convincing break above $8,200 has remained elusive since Jan. 7. Prices printed a high of $8,463 on Jan. 8 but closed below $8,200. The bulls also failed to secure a daily close above $8,200 on Jan. 11.
With the breakout confirmed on the weekly chart, though, bitcoin looks set to scale $8,200 and challenge recent highs above $8,460.
Another stronger rejection at or above $8,200 could yield a pullback to $7,667 (Jan. 11 low).
Disclosure: The author does not currently hold any digital assets.