Investment bank JPMorgan Chase has warned of a further bitcoin price decline, expecting an incoming bear market. The bank’s analysts look at the trend in bitcoin futures and see “an unusual development and a reflection of how weak bitcoin demand is at the moment from institutional investors.” However, a number of people disagree with this analysis.
JPMorgan Warns of Incoming Bear Market
JPMorgan Chase analysts, led by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, warned of an incoming bitcoin bear market in a note to investors last week.
The analysts looked at bitcoin futures which have been trading at a discount to the spot price, known as backwardation. “We believe that the return to backwardation in recent weeks has been a negative signal pointing to a bear market,” they wrote, adding:
This is an unusual development and a reflection of how weak bitcoin demand is at the moment from institutional investors that tend to use regulated CME futures contracts to gain exposure to bitcoin.
JPMorgan’s analysts affirmed that their outlook for bitcoin was negative. They pointed out another sign that worries them — the sharp decrease in bitcoin’s market share of the total crypto market, which fell from 60% to about 40% between April and May. The analysts call this decline in the BTC market share “a bearish signal carrying some echoes of the retail-investor-driven froth of December 2017.”
They see similarities between the current situation and the bitcoin crash in 2018 when investors rushed into cryptocurrencies as they boomed in 2017 and mass exited as the prices plunged during 2018. The bitcoin futures curve was also in backwardation for most of 2018 when the price of BTC dropped from about $15K to $4K, JPMorgan detailed.
Some people took to Twitter to disagree with JPMorgan’s analysis. Twitter account DTC Crypto Trading, for example, wrote: “So the ‘analyst’ at JPMorgan says that backwardation on BTC while price is moving up is a sign of the bear market. No clue who ‘analyzes’ this but they might want to hire better people. Pretty much every time BTC has had a sustained period of backwardation, price moved up.” Several people agreed with this analysis.
Meanwhile, rival investment banks are seeing huge demand from institutional investors. Even the CEO of JPMorgan, Jamie Dimon, recently admitted that institutional clients want exposure to bitcoin. Goldman Sachs has repeatedly said that it is seeing huge institutional demand for BTC, noting that the cryptocurrency has become a new asset class. Morgan Stanley is already offering some bitcoin investments to wealthy clients due to the high demand for the crypto asset.
Bitcoin’s price moved higher Sunday afternoon following clarification by Tesla CEO Elon Musk stating that his company will resume accepting the cryptocurrency “When there’s confirmation of reasonable (~50%) clean energy usage by miners with positive future trend, Tesla will resume allowing Bitcoin transactions.” At the time of writing, the price of bitcoin sits at $38,874 based on data from Bitcoin.com Markets.
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