After breaking briefly from its weeks-long slumber to climb toward $28,000 shortly before European markets opened Friday, bitcoin retreated to more familiar levels.
The largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization was recently trading near $26,700, down 1.6% over the last 24 hours. BTC soared past $27,700 at one point – its highest since mid-September as investors seemed at least temporarily encouraged by a decline in energy prices and a faint sign that the job market might be slowing.
Bitcoin shows resilience
Bitcoin has dropped near $26,000 for much of the past two months, occasionally dipping below this threshold amid a wider slump in risk-on assets.
“Bitcoin has shown a lot of strength relative to equities recently, and many observers certainly have been caught somewhat off-guard by this,” wrote Nihar Neelakanti, CEO and co-founder of Ecosapiens, a provider of carbon-backed, digital collectibles.
Neelakanti noted that ongoing problems with the financial services sector, including this spring’s banking crisis, had highlighted cryptos’ advantages. “People globally are realizing that it’s generally cheaper and easier to use Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for payments and sending value,” he wrote to Unchained.
Ether retained its late Thursday gains to recently change hands at $1,662, up about a half percentage point from Thursday, same time. Other major cryptos followed a similar pattern to remain in positive territory. XRP, the native cryptocurrency of open-source blockchain XRP Leger, recently jumped more than 6%. TRX and SOL, the tokens of smart contracts platforms Solana and Tron, were up 4.1% and 3.7%, respectively.
Equities were mixed with the tech-heavy Nasdaq up slightly, but the S&P 500, which has a hefty technology component, and Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) down a few ticks of a percentage point. Investors spooked by tenaciously high inflation and economy-slowing central bank interest rate hikes have sent these indexes lower over the past two months after a stellar first part of the year. The S&P has declined about 5% in September. Bitcoin is up slightly for the month.
But on Thursday, energy prices, a pillar of inflationary measures, ticked downward after a prolonged surge, as did the number of Americans applying for jobless benefits. On Friday, the U.S. Commerce Department’s August report on Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE), a favorite indicator among economists, rose less than expected. The recent news seemed to overtake worries about a government shutdown that could ripple through the economy.
“We’re seeing this situation where Bitcoin tends to react much, much faster to news than traditional markets,” Neelakanti wrote, adding that the Fed may only raise its borrowing rate one more time.
“It’s (bitcoin) front-running the end of rate hikes, essentially. We might, then, see equities follow BTC’s lead soon.”