The Bitcoin Economic Calendar - Week of August 16th, 2021

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Week of Monday August 16th to Sunday August 22nd.

Market Commentary:

 

Bitcoin: Bitcoin closed it’s 4th consecutive week of gains, closing +7.36% at $47,028. From a technical perspective, this is positive as it is the highest close since the week of May 10th - which is when we saw the drop from $58k. 

Coinbase reported blowout earnings last week. It posted a total trading volume for the quarter of 462 billion - +38% from the 335 billion posted in Q1. Interestingly, as pointed out by Sam Bankman-Fried from FTX, over 90% of Coinbase’s $1.15 billion earnings in Q2 comes from retail trading fees.  

Coinbase’s active users increased by 21% in Q2 to 68 million from 56 million in Q1. To put that in perspective, that means they added close to 1 million new active users per week - which is roughly the population of San Francisco - every week

Bitcoin trading volume went from 39% of total in Q1 to 24% of total in Q2. Interestingly, ethereum trading volume surpassed bitcoin trading volume for the first time ever. More on this in our DeFi section. 

Looking at the options and futures  markets, we see some interesting patterns. First, we see that the put call ratio is at its lowest level this year - reaching 0.50 last week. This means that there are twice as many open call contracts as there are puts. 

To find a level that low, we have to go back to June 2020 - when bitcoin prices were consolidating for several months in the $8k-$9k price region. Prices rallied from that level. This ratio is a good indication of bullish vs. bearish sentiment in the market, and it is decidedly bullish at the moment.

Looking at the bitcoin futures open interest in the CME, we see some interesting trends as to who is buying and who is selling. 

Interestingly, we see that “Institutions” are net long in their open interest. These market players are very savvy - for context, they were net short going into the May 19th drop. In addition, we see that the largest net short positions are being held by “Leveraged Funds” - these are likely holding shorts on the CME to hedge some of their long exposure in other venues. 

Looking at on-chain metrics, we got a great signal last week from Willy Woo, who shared that the Bitcoin network had added 1.2 Million users in the last 30-days. 

User growth tends to be correlated with price - another positive indicator for the near and medium term. 

Another very important headline came from BitMex who reached a $100 million settlement with the SEC and the CFTC.  

As part of the deal, BitMex will have to block U.S. residents from accessing the platform. This settlement is positive as it may set a precedent for exchanges or DeFi platforms that suffer from similar issues. 

S&P 500:  It was another record week for U.S. indices. The S&P 500 finished at a fresh all-time high of 4,465, +0.62% for the week. The Dow Jones and the Nasdaq finished at all-time high records of their own, up +0.87% and +0.18% respectively.

The Russell 2000 index continued to buck the trend, finishing last week down -1.1% in the same period. This could be a continuation of the trend we described last week with small businesses being hit the hardest with the current economic conditions.

A recent survey from CNBC showed that small businesses are being hit from many angles - including rising costs of supplies, supply chain shocks and rising wage costs. The vast majority of businesses were impacted by one or more of these factors. 

The big are getting bigger. 

It is happening at a personal investment level too. Think of the S&P and the Nasdaq as the small percentage of the U.S. population that owns assets (stock or real estate). That segment of the economy has become much wealthier after covid - just look at real estate prices or stock valuations. 

The average weekly median real earnings for a U.S. worker were $367/week pre-pandemic, and peaked at $393/week before coming back down to $373/week. If we assume the current levels, median real salaries have only risen a mere 1.6% over a year.

In contrast, the S&P 500 is up +73% in that same period, and we have covered here how real estate prices have doubled in many U.S. cities. 

How can you protect yourself from this? Consider buying assets - like bitcoin.

In other interesting news we saw that Intel disclosed on Friday that it owns a small stake in Coinbase.

Specifically, Intel owns 3,014 shares, or ~$800,000 at current prices. While some companies may have a hard time getting approval to buy bitcoin or bitcoin derivatives, the case to invest in Coinbase as part of the existing strategy may be easier, and we could see more companies get exposure to the industry through this method. Intel could have started a trend…

It is a quiet week on the earnings and economic data front but we do get a look at the FOMC meeting minutes. More on this in our what’s ahead section.

Gold: Gold staged an impressive recovery and came back roaring from the big drop on Monday.

As we mentioned last week, the trend line from back in August seems to have flipped from resistance to support. As we highlighted last week, it was tested and it held.

Gold also benefited from stable yields in U.S. treasuries, which rose intra week and settled higher by +0.70%. The dollar index also finished down -0.28%, which tends to be a tailwind for gold as well.

Among the catalysts for gold in the coming week are the FOMC meeting minutes, which may reveal more insights into the inflation expectations of Fed officials, and the geopolitical tensions building in Afghanistan. More on this in our whats ahead section.

DeFi:  The DeFi index came back roaring, closing +19.46%. Ethereum also had a positive week, finishing +9.82% at $3,311. Both the Defi index and Ethereum closed the week near the session highs - typically a sign of positive continuation in the week ahead. 

Also of interest - we are starting to see DeFi outperform both Ethereum again.

While DeFi tokens outperforming can be contradictory to the seemingly unworkable regulatory framework, it is important to understand several nuances. The law will not come into effect for 2 more years - which is the equivalent of a decade in the crypto industry. 

Additionally, the debate in congress signalled to the market that there is a strong crypto lobby in Washington, with a lot of resources and a clear mandate. The industry has 2 years to educate regulators - to benefit the industry and to ensure its survival in the current form. 

It is a steep hill to climb, but there are a lot of brains, money and most importantly, time still left.

Elsewhere we see that institutional appetite for Ethereum, a trend that we have been highlighting here for several weeks now, continues to strengthen. 

Last week news broke out that Fidelity and Nydig are being pushed to offer more ETH services by their clients. Nydig is reportedly offering ETH custody to select clients already. Ethereum has formally broken into the institutional scene as an investable asset, and companies need to adapt. 

Difficulty Commentary: The most recent difficulty adjustment kicked in on Friday, bringing difficulty to 15.56 THs, +7.31%. 

Hashrate continues to pour into the network with the next adjustment already showing a projected +3% increase.

As a signal of the changing of the guard from east to west, last week, U.S.-based Foundry mining pool, managed by Digital Currency Group, became the largest bitcoin mining pool in the world. It surpassed F2Pool and AntPool for the largest global share of total mining. 

The mempool has remained incredibly empty. On-chain transaction conditions don’t get much better than this. 

What's ahead for the week:

It is fascinating to see the desire for bitcoin capture minds in Nigeria and Manhattan alike. This week we saw interesting data from Statista showing that 32% of Nigerians either own or have transacted with bitcoin.

Additionally, we saw that Neuberger Berman, a Manhattan-based investment firm with over $400 billion under management, announced that it would allow its $164 million commodity fund to place indirect investments in crypto derivatives. 

Checking in on corporate treasuries, last week a publicly listed insurance company, Metromile, announced that it had purchased $1 million worth of bitcoin for its balance sheet with the intention of purchasing $9 million more throughout the quarter. 

With the U.S. infrastructure bill behind us, many are wondering - what now? The approved laws do not go into effect until 2023 - which means that the industry has 2 years before it has to comply. That is a long window of time given the speed of innovation in this industry. 

To close things off - there is a lot of tension brewing in the Afghanistan conflict. Geopolitical tensions tend to strengthen the U.S. dollar and gold as many “fly to safety”. This, in turn, is not great for stocks.  Markets in general could be in for a volatile week. 

As always, we wrap up with a summary of the upcoming economic data and earnings reports for the week:

Tuesday:

8.30 AM EST - U.S. Retail Sales

10 AM EST - U.S. Business Inventories 

Wednesday:

8.30 AM EST - Building Permits and Housing Starts

2 PM EST - FOMC Meeting minutes

NVIDIA reports after the bell. 

Thursday:

8.30 AM EST - Initial and Continuing Jobless Claims 

It's a big week coming up, and as always, we'll keep you posted on any relevant news throughout the week right here and from our Twitter account @hodlwithLedn

Canadian Central Banking Updates:
Current Target Interest Rate: 0.00 - 0.25%
Current Overnight Money Market Rate: 0.23%
Source: https://www.bankofcanada.ca/rates/ 

U.S. Central Banking Updates:
Current Fed Interest Target Rate: 0.00 - 0.25%
Current Effective Federal Funds Rate: 0.09%
Source: https://apps.newyorkfed.org/markets/autorates/fed%20funds 

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