Research warns that Bitcoin (BTC) still lacks the on-chain volume and active address increases that characterize bull markets.
In a frank appraisal of the 2023 BTC price rebound, on-chain analytics platform CryptoQuant warned that Bitcoin might be weaker than it seems.
Active addresses not copying bull market paradigm
As on-chain metrics flip green and some even flash bull signals not seen in years, a healthy dose of suspicion remains among many analysts.
CryptoQuant contributor Yonsei_dent is among them, writing in one of the platform’s Quicktake blog posts this week that 2023 does not chime with previous bull markets.
The problem, he explains, lies in active addresses, which are not increasing in number despite BTC/USD gaining almost 50% year-to-date.
“Active Addresses is a metric that includes all addresses sending and receiving BTC, providing a look at how active market demand is,” the blog post reads.
“The ‘price’ of an asset is determined by the laws of supply and demand in the market. Crypto markets are no exception. For asset prices to rise, market interest and demand must be supported.”
An accompanying chart shows the 30-day moving average (MA) of active addresses increasing following the end of the 2018 bear market and the March 2020 COVID-19 cross-market crash. 2023, by contrast, has yet to produce the same trend.
“You can see that Active Addresses (30DMA) increased both during the 2019 bull market turnaround and when coming out of the 2020 COVID-19 shock,” Yonsei_dent added.
“I am concerned that this 2023 rally did not show any rise in Active Addresses.”
Many transactions, not much volume
Other research produced similar conclusions about the Bitcoin investor habits, which have accompanied the return to $25,000.
Related: A ‘snap back’ to $20K? 5 things to know in Bitcoin this week
Analytics firm Glassnode notes that on-chain volume remains low, with both long-term holders (LTHs) and short-term holders (STHs) reluctant to spend.
“Despite net growth in on-chain activity, and an ATH in total UTXOs, transfer volumes are remarkably subdued, both for Long and Short-Term Holders,” it wrote in the latest edition of its weekly newsletter, “The Week On-Chain.”
There are some encouraging signs of improving sentiment, with coins sent to exchanges by LTHs now mostly in profit.
In mid-January, Glassnode shows 58% of LTH coins sent to exchanges were moved at a loss, while at the start of this week, the figure was just 21%.
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