As per data tracking service TokenAnalyst, exchange volumes have yet to recover to 2017 levels despite various media reports that early 2019 saw the highest amount of exchange-traded volume. According to Bloomberg, this is a signal of negative retail sentiment, however, the analysis is focused on unique addresses sending money into exchange, not cumulative inflow, September 5, 2019.
Is Bitcoin Being Used as a Hedge?
The number of addresses sending funds to the likes of Binance and Bitfinex has been reducing consistently since 2017, with a spike coming in mid-2019 as Bitcoin appreciated neatly 4x.
TokenAnalyst believes this is a sign of dwindling sentiment for retail investors, as less and less are entering the market at this point.
This data is in direct contradiction to the entire narrative that people are entering the bitcoin market in light of political turmoil and a potential economic downturn.
Bitcoin can be used as the most effective hedge against overly manipulated monetary policy, but it seems that not many are aware or care about this.
Retail investors may be oblivious to the effect of Bitcoin today, but it’s safe to say that as things progressively get worse, they will look at decentralized currency as a way to get some skin out of a rigged financial system.
Drawing the Wrong Inferences
The inferences drawn by Bloomberg and TokenAnalyst may not be all the accurate. There are multiple outliers and possibilities that they have failed to consider when analyzing this data.
For starters, the number of unique addresses may have fallen, but the contribution for existing addresses and liquidity that has existed for years on end are being ignored. The real metric here should be total inflow rather than the number of addresses, as it is quite nearly impossible to gauge the number of people behind these addresses.
In emerging market countries in South East Asia and Africa, it is very common for people to initially learn and obtain crypto from a custodial service. As they grow to understand the space further, they shift these funds from the platform to a self-controlled wallet.
Cases like these are completely removed from the picture when you just look at the number of addresses, and crypto being in a nascent stage of awareness in most emerging markets plays on this thesis.
It would be no surprise that volume fell during a massive market capitulation, but moreover, this is the first fractal of the bull run. Most participants do not show up at this point and only enter the market once Bitcoin is exhibiting extraordinarily parabolic movement or breaks its ATH.
The investment thesis for Bitcoin is as strong as it ever has been, and this data, if anything, merely shows us how early we are in the next bull market.