Cryptocurrency trade volumes drop as prices refuse to move
Right now cryptocurrency markets are doing an unusual amount of nothing. That means something.
You can only hold your breath for so long before passing out. That might be what's happening to cryptocurrency traders, who have spent weeks holding their breath for a big movement one way or another. The expectation is built on bitcoin prices forming a clear wedge, which typically signifies a breakout coming soon.
That breakout has been previously regarded as overdue, so now it's probably fair to regard it as way overdue.
And with prices staying largely frozen, trade volumes have started turning to slush.
Where to go
Overall exchange volumes have reached a 13 month low, CoinTelegraph reports, based on Coin360 information. This is different to the self-reported exchange volume which makes up CoinMarketCap reports, which are still showing bitcoin trade volumes as significantly higher than they were this time last year, and overall cryptocurrency trade volumes as considerably higher than other points this year.
This is in turn different to many other tools for measuring volume, such as Bitcoinity which looks like it might be off by exactly 12 months somehow.
Strong volume assertions might therefore be worth taking with a grain of salt. Having said that, the tightening price range is unmistakable and an anecdotal glance at exchange volumes on CoinMarketCap suggests volumes trending downwards as the bitcoin price wedge continues tightening.
The sleepiness seems to have afflicted most other well known cryptocurrencies, which have tended to follow bitcoin prices one way or another and in this case seem determined to go nowhere just as fast.
The most likely explanation is that people are waiting for a signal before jumping in. The general sentiment seems to be that this will be a big break one way or another. If someone expects it to break downwards the sensible thing might therefore be to sell and then stay out. And if someone expects it to break upwards, the sensible thing might be to just keep holding, or to wait for a signal to be sure.
Or maybe bitcoin's become a reliable, boring old store of value, and market forces have decided that $6,620 (at the time of writing) is a fair price for the stuff.
Unconfirmed sources say most traders are considering poking bitcoin with a stick, while the contrarians are saying it's better to just tap on the glass instead.
Disclosure: At the time of writing the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VET, XLM, BTC, ADA