First Mover Asia: Bitcoin Remains Calm Above $29.1 K, but Is Higher Volatility in Its Future?

PLUS: A decrease in bitcoin supply active a year ago indicates that long-term holders have reduced their bitcoin exposure. Is hodling starting to wane?

AccessTimeIconAug 4, 2023 at 1:26 a.m. UTC
Updated Aug 4, 2023 at 6:35 p.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global event for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

Good morning. Here’s what’s happening:

Prices: The recent monotony in bitcoin and altcoin prices may be a set up for more volatility ahead. Meanwhile, bitcoin remained in its recent tight range above $29.1K.

Insights: The supply of bitcoin active over a year ago drops. Is "hodling" starting to wane?


−4.4 0.3%
−6.2 0.0%
−4.4 0.2%
S&P 500 daily close
−11.5 0.3%
+34.8 1.8%
Treasury Yield 10 Years
BTC/ETH prices per CoinDesk Indices; gold is COMEX spot price. Prices as of about 4 p.m. ET
CoinDesk Market Index (CMI)
1,254.85 −4.4 0.3%
Bitcoin (BTC)
$29,180 −6.2 0.0%
Ethereum (ETH)
$1,835 −4.4 0.2%
S&P 500 daily close
4,501.89 −11.5 0.3%
$1,972 +34.8 1.8%
Treasury Yield 10 Years
4.19% 0.1
BTC/ETH prices per CoinDesk Indices; gold is COMEX spot price. Prices as of about 4 p.m. ET

Is More Volatility in the Offing?

Is bitcoin's current lull just a set-up for more dramatic movements to come?

A report by K33 earlier this week suggested as much. The digital-asset analytics group noted that while the largest cryptocurrency has been recently trading in an increasingly narrow spread over the last six weeks immune to macroeconomic and industry events, which likely would have stimulated investors up or down in past years, it was headed for more volatile times based on historical precedent.

As TradFi markets in Asia opened Friday, bitcoin was changing hands at just below $29,200, flat over the past 24 hours and firmly in the $500 range it has occupied for the better part of two weeks. And bitcoin has failed to cross $31,000 since mid-July.

“A deep crypto sleep tends to be followed by a violent wake-up,” K33 senior analyst Vetle Lunde wrote. “The market is clearly in an unprecedented stable stage, which has typically acted as a massive pressure valve for volatility once it finally reignites.”

“My short-term thesis," he continued, "is that the market’s volatility pressure is about to climax and that an eruption is near."

Ether, which has been similarly range-bound, was recently trading at $1,835, a 0.2% decline from Thursday, same time. Ripple's XRP token and ADA, the native crypto of smart-contracts platform Cardano, pared earlier losses but were still down about 2% in a market that retained a more than day-long reddish tint. The CoinDesk Market Index, a measure of cryptos' performance, was recently down 0.35%.

At least cryptos found some companionship, as equity markets, which have increasingly veered in a separate direction from digital assets, closed down with the S&P 500 off 0.3%.

According to K33 Research, bitcoin's five-day volatility earlier this week had sunk to below that of the S&P, gold and the Nasdaq 100. That has happened only a few times in recent years, Lunde pointed out, and every occasion preceded periods of wild price swings.

The report also noted that bitcoin’s 30-day volatility, which measures average price changes over the period, recently dropped to near a five-year low. At the same time, trading volumes also shrunk to multiyear lows, while derivatives activity has also declined sharply.

In her Crypto Is Macro Now newsletter on Friday, Noelle Acheson (CoinDesk's former head of research) called crypto markets' recent monotony even as significant events swirled "bewildering," but quipped: "I’ve been covering this market long enough to be able to confirm that, anecdotally, whenever we start joking about BTC being a stablecoin, things turn fast."


Is 'Hodling' Starting to Wane?

The total supply of bitcoin last active more than one year ago has declined recently according to on-chain analytics firm Glassnode. The decrease indicates that some longer-term holders have decided to reduce their holdings.


An increased supply of an asset active in the past indicates that more investors have decided to “hodl” bitcoin as opposed to taking profits. A decrease in that amount indicates the opposite.

The primary age band where supply declined lies between 12 and 24 months. A slight decline in bitcoin supply is showing in the age band between five and seven years as well, though its general direction has been higher.

Investors may want to monitor the behavior of long-term bitcoin holders, as a signal of potential shifts in sentiment.

This article was written and edited by CoinDesk journalists with the sole purpose of informing the reader with accurate information. If you click on a link from Glassnode, CoinDesk may earn a commission. For more, see our Ethics Policy.

Important events.

7:45 a.m. HKT/SGT(11:45 p.m. UTC-August 3): Reserve Bank of Australia Monetary Policy Statement

8:30 p.m. HKT/SGT(8:30 p.m. UTC): U.S. Non-Farm Payrolls, Unemployment Rate(July)

CoinDesk TV

In case you missed it, here is the most recent episode of "First Mover" on CoinDesk TV:

Semafor reported that Binance may face Department of Justice fraud charges, though prosecutors are weighing alternatives given the risk of an FTX-style bank run. Josh Sterling, Jones Day partner and former CFTC division director weighed in. Kaiko research analyst Riyad Carey and Sovryn core contributor Edan Yago discussed the future of DeFi following the Curve Finance exploit. And CoinDesk's Emily Parker shared insights on Japan's plans for a CBDC.


Coinbase Beats Analyst Estimates for Q2, but Transaction Revenue Falls: The crypto exchange beat on both the top and bottom lines, but transaction revenue and total trading volume fell.

Tether Is Going on a Bitcoin Buying Spree, but It Should Be Holding Cash: The USDT issuer Tether says it holds a lot of U.S. Treasuries and made a lot of money last quarter.

Curve Founder Still Owes $80M Despite Raising Nearly $30M in Past Two Days: Michael Egorov is under liquidation pressure following CRV’s recent price drop and Curve exploit.

Elon Musk’s X Seeks Data Partner to Build Trading Service on App: Semafor: Given the billionaire's affinity for digital assets, the offering could include crypto trading.

Michael Saylor Says Bitcoin ETFs Will Be the ‘Super Tanker’ for His MicroStrategy ‘Sports Car’: The software company now owns around $4.5 billion worth of bitcoin and is planning to buy more in the third quarter.

Edited by James Rubin and Rosie Perper.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

James Rubin

James Rubin was CoinDesk's U.S. news editor based on the West Coast.

Glenn Williams

Glenn C Williams Jr, CMT is a Crypto Markets Analyst with an initial background in traditional finance. His experience includes research and analysis of individual cryptocurrencies, defi protocols, and crypto-based funds. He owns BTC, ETH, UNI, DOT, MATIC, and AVAX

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.