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Bitcoin Bulls Missing in Action After Mt. Gox Delays BTC Repayments

source-logo  coindesk.com 21 September 2023 09:35, UTC

Bitcoin stays below the 50-day simple moving average after the defunct exchange Mt. Got delays bankruptcy-related creditor repayments.

The delay was expected and priced in.

Bitcoin (BTC) struggled to gather upside traction even after defunct crypto exchange Mt. Gox pushed out its pending BTC bankruptcy repayments by a year, delaying the return of extra supply to the market.

In 2014, the erstwhile Tokyo-based dominant exchange was hacked for 850,000 BTC ($23 billion). The exchange recovered 142,000 BTC, 143,000 bitcoin cash (BCH) ($30 million), and 69 billion Japanese yen ($465 million), which it had planned to distribute to creditors on Oct. 31 this year.

Some analysts, including those at UBS, had warned that the repayments could cause an increase in BTC's active supply, leading to price weakness. The assumption was that creditors would quickly liquidate their holdings, having waited for nearly a decade, adding to supply in the market. The crypto market depth has deteriorated significantly since the collapse of FTX, which means a few large sell orders can have an outsized negative impact on prices.

The deadline has now been pushed out to Oct. 31, 2024, removing supply overhang concerns for the time being. Even so, bitcoin is trading 0.4% lower on the day, near $27,000 at press time, though it's still more than 8% higher since testing support near $25,000 on Sept. 11.

"A large reason we're seeing for this bounce are rumors of a Mt. Gox delay to 2024," QCP Capital said in a market update published Tuesday. "With the prior expected date just a month away, we believe many went short on this, and an official announcement will surely drive a short squeeze identical to the release of the SEC vs. GBTC judgment last month."

In other words, the delay in creditor reimbursements was expected and priced in.

Lack of bullish catalysts

The delay also means a fresh bullish catalyst is needed to drive prices higher. Unfortunately for the bulls, the approval and launch of a U.S.-based spot exchange-traded fund (ETF) is still several months away. Meanwhile, there is little respite on the macro front.

While the U.S. Federal Reserve held interest rates steady between 5.25% and 5.5% on Wednesday, it raised the interest-rate target for the end of 2024 to 5.1% from 4.6%, signaling lesser liquidity-boosting rate cuts for next year.

Some analysts, however, expect markets to look past the Fed's hawkish rhetoric.

"Fed Chair Jerome Powell isn’t ready to back down yet, but markets might look past the rhetoric. Investors know he’s wary of declaring victory against inflation after his infamous transitory call two years ago," David Russell, the global head of market strategy at TradeStation, said in an email.

Crypto hedge fund AltTab Capital said the Fed's acknowledgment that inflation is finally moving in the right direction may see some investors scale up exposure to risk assets. Still, there is little scope for outright optimism.

“While it's a relief that the Fed see us at the peak of rate hikes with their forecast of fewer rate cuts in 2024, it is hard for us to take today’s announcement with too much optimism," AltTab said in an email.