Cryptocurrency News

Bitcoin’s bullish hype fades, but analyst says PlanB’s stock-to-flow model is still relevant

Bitcoin (BTC) is struggling to reclaim its psychologically-important level at $30,000 as analysts predict that choppy accumulation may last for months.

Bitcoin soared to a new yearly high of over $31,800 on July 13, driven by optimism surrounding the potential approval of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in the United States and Ripple’s landmark legal victory in its case against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding the classification of XRP as a security.

However, five days after the pump, BTC closed below $30,000 as buyers struggled to push the price back above the crucial support level.

Despite Bitcoin’s price showing weakness in the short-term, historical on-chain movements and empirical data suggest that the worst days of the bear market are likely behind.

Long-term holders are unmoved, but short-term investors could sell

Glassnode’s latest report shows that Bitcoin’s price action in the first half of 2023 was mainly dominated by short-term investors.

According to Glassnode, 88% of short-term holders’ supply is in profit as this “cohort is becoming increasingly likely to spend and take profits.”

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Bitcoin’s short-term holder SOPR ratio. Source: Glassnode

The short-term holder’s profit spiked significantly after BTC took off from $25,000 after BlackRock’s ETF filing instilled optimism among buyers.

The metric met with resistance as its reading surpassed the 90% market with Bitcoin’s break above $31,000, suggesting that almost all short-term holders are in profit. A correction in BTC is required in the short-term to reset this metric for further gains.

However, despite the price surge in the first half of 2023, long-term investors refrained from selling. The net realized profit/loss metric reflects a noticeable difference in the levels of profit booking between the bullish phase and the current market conditions.

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Bitcoin’s net realized profit/loss metric. Source: Glassnode

Glassnode’s analyst wrote, “this reflects the first sustained profit regime since April 2022” which is “similar in scale to both the first half of 2019, and also late 2020.”

While selling pressure from long-term holders is minimal and the asset has witnessed on-chain positive accumulation since the start of July, the profit levels of short-term holders induce the risk of further correction.

Investors anticipate the Bitcoin halving pump

Despite the current price action, many investors and analysts still expect Bitcoin upcoming block reward halving to positively impact price.

PlanB’s Stock-to-Flow (S2F) model shows how Bitcoin’s halving affects its price. The basis of the theory is that an asset’s price grows as it becomes scarce.

The stock-to-flow ratio is calculated by dividing the current stock (total supply) of Bitcoin by the annual flow (new supply). Gold has a stock-to-flow ratio of around 62, meaning newly mined coins would take approximately 62 years to acquire the total amount of gold in existence.

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Bitcoin‘s stock-to-flow model analysis. Source: Substack

As predicted in PlanB’s original analysis, Bitcoin’s S2F value reached parity with gold during the end of 2020. Currently, Bitcoin’s S2F reading is at 57.

However, gold’s price is still 20 times higher because it has built trust over generations and Bitcoin might need “a generation or even two before Bitcoin’s valuation catches up to gold’s.” wrote Myers.

While Bitcoin’s S2F model was invalidated during the last cycle because BTC did not reach the model’s predicted target of $100,000 Independent market analyst Jesse Myers found that the new target of $100,000 was an ambitious upgrade to the original model.

Whereas, the real hint lies in the first version of PlanB’s S2F model from 2019, which “predicted bitcoin price of $55,000 with SF 50 after May 2020 halving.”

Related: Bitcoin mining difficulty hits all-time high as BTC miner selling peaks

Given Bitcoin’s price is set for another supply shock at the next halving in April 2024, the S2F model shows that the price will likely surge after the event. Still, Myers wrote the price usually follows a “much less sexy version of the stock-to-flow model.”

He also added that “it takes longer than four years for the changed stock-to-flow reality of each halving to be fully digested by the world” and reflected in Bitcoin’s price.

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Bitcoin’s updated S2F model by Jesse Myers. Source: Substack

BTC/USD long-term price analysis

Technically, the BTC/USD pair turned long-term bullish with its breakout above the 200-day moving average in January 2023.

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BTC/USD price chart with 200-day MA. Source: TradingView

More recently, the 20 and 50 period weekly moving average staged a bullish cross as the lower period MA moved above the latter. Historically, Bitcoin’s price has continued to form new local highs during this event further confirming a long-term positive trend.

The 20-period weekly MA at $28,150 forms the first line of defense of buyers, followed by the 200-day MA at $25,940.

The risk of selling from short-term holders, who are currently sitting on historically high profit levels, could drive the price down to the above support levels. The price should hold these support levels given the positive ongoing accumulation and strong conviction among long-term holders.

Based on historical data, a parabolic bull run is not expected just yet. The market will likely witness sideways consolidation in a parallel range leading up to the next halving event.