A quant has explained how this bearish divergence in Bitcoin on-chain data can lead to a short-term correction in the price.
Bitcoin Short-Term Holder SOPR Has Been Slowing Down Despite Price Going Up
As explained by an analyst in a CryptoQuant post, a gap has been forming in the purchasing power of short-term holders and the BTC price. The relevant indicator here is the “Spent Output Profit Ratio” (SOPR), which tells us whether investors in the Bitcoin market are selling their coins at a profit or at a loss right now.
When the value of this metric is greater than 1, it means the overall market is realizing some amount of profit currently. On the other hand, values below the threshold suggest the average holder is seeing some loss at the moment. Naturally, the indicator at exactly equal to 1 implies the investors are just breaking-even on their investment.
The “short-term holder” (STH) group is a Bitcoin cohort that includes all investors who bought their coins less than 155 days ago. The STH SOPR thus measures the profit ratio of selling being done by these holders. To properly assess the behavior of this group, the analyst is using a “rate of change” (ROC) oscillator for the indicator. Here is a chart comparing this momentum oscillator with the BTC price over the last few months:
As the above graph shows, the ROC of the Bitcoin STH SOPR had been in deep red when the FTX crash took place, suggesting that these investors capitulated during it and realized a large amount of loss. However, as the BTC price has slowly improved from the lows, the ROC has become green. This implies that the STHs who bought during the lows have been selling for profits, leading to a rising SOPR.
Bitcoin has continued to see an uptrend recently, but strangely, the STH SOPR ROC has been dropping off. This could be a sign that not many STHs were able to buy during these lows, hinting that their purchasing power is low at the moment. If they had been buying through this rally, they would have continued to harvest more and more profits as the price goes up, but that has clearly not been the case.
Such a divergence also formed in the relief rally seen earlier in the bear market, as the quant has marked in the chart. “Last time, this situation led to a bearish correction,” notes the analyst. “If this alignment repeats, then this time, Bitcoin may correct to the $16,500-$17,000 range.”
At the time of writing, Bitcoin’s price floats around $17,700, up 5% in the last week.