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Charting Historical past’s Rhyme: Understanding The Cyclicality of Crypto Markets

Understanding the traits of previous cycles can supply worthwhile context for evaluating the present market.


  • We’re presently within the sixth crypto bull cycle, which has been ongoing for barely over a yr.
  • Primarily based on historic patterns, we’re approaching the center of the median-duration bull cycle, suggesting that we’re getting into the second half of the crypto bull market.
  • The current incidence of the 50-day transferring common crossing above the 200-day transferring common for the second time on this cycle signifies a constructive sign. This technical indicator has a robust monitor file, with over 80% of situations leading to constructive returns over the medium time period.
  • The present Bitcoin bull cycle has been remarkably easy in comparison with earlier cycles, but when it follows historic patterns, we are able to anticipate at the least 10 extra detrimental corrections (over -5%) previous to reaching the height of this cycle.
  • Brief-term returns earlier than and after Bitcoin halving occasions have usually proven vital constructive efficiency.
  • Whereas halvings are sometimes mentioned as potential drivers of market cycles, it’s seemingly that their affect is coincidental, as they overlap with world macro cycles.


As we embark on the trail of navigating the present market setting, there’s a sturdy motivation to delve into the annals of market historical past, unraveling the patterns and dynamics which have formed previous cycles.

By drawing upon the teachings realized from earlier market cycles, we are able to equip ourselves with a deeper comprehension of market habits. Moreover, understanding the length, magnitude, and traits of previous cycles can supply worthwhile context for evaluating the present market state and figuring out potential inflection factors.

On Cyclicality

A market cycle is normally outlined because the interval between two main lows for a broad market index like S&P 500. World market cycles are influenced by the enterprise cycle, financial circumstances and investor sentiment. On the granular stage, particular person sectors, industries, and property bear the imprint of those macro cycles, but stay tethered to the nuanced sway of their distinctive idiosyncratic elements.

Cycles, usually, have 4 distinct phases or durations that characterize the habits of market members: accumulation, mark-up, distribution, and mark-down.

Within the inaugural act, the buildup section marks the top of a downtrend. Right here, the prevailing temper is considered one of disbelief and uncertainty, as market members cautiously navigate an setting characterised by low worth volatility.

Transitioning to the Markup Part, the bull market takes middle stage. Investor sentiment is awash with optimism and pleasure, portray a panorama of upward-trending worth charts.

The narrative takes a flip within the Distribution Part, the place market sentiment turns into dominated by overconfidence and greed.

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Lastly, the Markdown Part, signaling a bear market, steps into the limelight. Anxiousness and panic dominate market sentiment in opposition to the backdrop of a downtrending worth chart. Unfavorable financial circumstances solid a shadow, amplifying the sense of unease on this difficult section.

This piece focuses on the inherent cyclicality of cryptocurrency markets, with a specific give attention to Bitcoin. Bitcoin boasts the biggest market capitalization and stands as probably the most traded digital forex. The risky worth of Bitcoin makes a profound affect on the remainder of the crypto property that usually have excessive correlation with it and transfer in accord.

Since inception, BTC has seen a median upward pattern of greater than 2x yearly, nevertheless, if we zoom in, we are able to establish clear cycles.

btc cycle chart
Supply: IOSG Ventures

Up to now, there have been 5 (six if we depend the present cycle too) bull cycles (inexperienced space) and 5 bear cycles (blue space).

Presently, it seems the crypto market is on the center of the sixt bull cycle, navigating the markup section, as the buildup section, the preliminary section of the cycle, spanned from the top of 2022 to the summer time of 2023 when Bitcoin’s volatility has fallen to historic lows.

An Exploration of Previous and Current Parallels

One faculty of thought dismisses the efficacy of technical evaluation, arguing that historic worth and quantity information lack the constant predictive energy required for anticipating future inventory costs. In accordance with this angle, counting on previous worth actions and buying and selling volumes offers no inherent benefit in forecasting market developments, a sentiment with which we resonate, particularly when evaluating the efficiency of particular person property in isolation.

Conversely, we maintain the idea that analyzing historic info is efficacious for understanding the cyclical nature of markets. Whereas not providing a crystal ball for predicting exact future worth actions, historic evaluation can domesticate instinct and function a device to sidestep biases. By scrutinizing market cycles, it aids in avoiding unwarranted bullish enthusiasm, such because the supercycle narrative during times of greed, and counteracts bearish narratives in occasions of panic. This method goals to foster a mindset that’s each resilient and discerning, encouraging tenacity throughout tumultuous occasions and skepticism within the face of exuberance.

Primary Statistics

Within the tables beneath, we current the stats for every of the historic bull and bear cycles.

Supply: IOSG Ventures

Analyzing the previous cycles, the median drawdown has been -77% (imply round -75%) in earlier bear cycles. The latest bear cycle had precisely 77% drop in costs. Alternatively median worth improve in bull markets is 15x (imply round 60x).

Relating to the length of the cycles, the median length of a bear cycle is 354 days, and the imply length is at 293 days. The timeframe of the newest bear cycle was 354 days. Relating to bull cycles, median length is 604 days and imply of 571 days.

Bull Market Countdown

The present bull cycle lasts about one yr. Beneath we evaluate Bitcoin returns on this cycle vs earlier cycles over an identical time window.

Supply: IOSG Ventures

The 2018-2019 bull cycle resulted in lower than a yr with a return of about 3.9x. 2020-2021 and 2015-2017 cycles lasted greater than a yr, and over the primary 12 months, the respective returns have been 11x and 1.9x. Primarily, 2020-2021 cycle returns had been principally realized within the first yr for the reason that begin of the bull market, whereas the 2015-2017 cycle accelerated efficiency put up yr one.

As for the present bull cycle, the Bitcoin worth is 2.6x from the underside and time-wise roughly on the center of the median-duration bull cycle.

Supply: IOSG Ventures

Prior to now few weeks, for the second time for the reason that starting of this cycle, the 50-day worth transferring common (MA) crossed above the 200-day MA. Actually, it isn’t typically that we see this occasion twice in such a brief time frame. Trying to find comparable occurrences previously we discover this type of occasion taking place solely as soon as, throughout the 2015-2017 bull.

Supply: IOSG Ventures

Again then, after the second 50/200 day MA cross in 2015-2017 bull cycle, BTC had following outcomes:

  • put up 90 days – return of 1.27x
  • put up 180 days – return of 1.43x
  • put up 12 months – return of two.26x

Over the complete historical past of Bitcoin worth, 50 day MA has crossed above 200 day MA solely in 6 situations thus far. Probabilistically, we are able to say that this occasion suggests greater than 80% (traditionally 5 out of 6 occasions) probability of constructive returns one yr after the cross occurs.

Supply: IOSG Ventures

On common, the anticipated BTC returns put up bullish crossing occasion are:

  • after 90 days – 1.1x
  • after 180 days – 1.33x
  • after 12 months – 2.5x

Bumpy Street Forward

The present bull cycle has displayed a exceptional stage of smoothness that surpasses any cycle in Bitcoin’s historical past.

On its journey in direction of the height, the earlier cycle skilled almost 115 each day corrections of 5% or extra (right here we confer with detrimental returns as corrections), whereas the present cycle has skilled solely 10 such corrections. Even cycles with shorter durations exhibited extra corrections than the present one.

Up to now, no bull cycle ended with lower than 20 each day corrections above 5%. Thus, if this cycle is to resemble the traits of the earlier ones, we are able to anticipate at the least 10 further corrections because the market continues its ascent earlier than transitioning to a bearish sentiment.

Supply: IOSG Ventures
Supply: IOSG Ventures

BTC Halving Affect

Bitcoin halvings are programmed occasions throughout the community that happen roughly each 4 years, particularly when 210,000 blocks are mined. Throughout a halving, the speed at which new BTC is created is decreased by half.

This has notable implications for Bitcoin miners, as their rewards for mining are additionally minimize in half. Consequently, mining turns into extra aggressive, driving miners to hunt cost-effective power sources to maintain their operations.

Moreover, halvings considerably lower the inflow of latest BTC into the market, which contributes to the notion of halvings as a bullish catalyst amongst many market members.

As an example the impression of halvings, let’s look at the issuance of Bitcoins main as much as and following every halving. Previous to the primary halving, over 10 million Bitcoins had been issued. This was adopted by the issuance of barely over 5 million Bitcoins earlier than the second halving and roughly 2.5 million Bitcoins earlier than the third halving occasion.

These statistics spotlight the diminishing price of latest BTC issuance over time, emphasizing the shortage and potential long-term worth appreciation of the cryptocurrency.

Supply: IOSG Ventures

Whereas analyzing three historic halving occasions might not present a statistically vital pattern measurement to attract definitive conclusions, the importance of halving occasions throughout the Bitcoin group and their widespread dialogue as bullish catalysts can’t be ignored. With this in thoughts, we delve deeper into the info surrounding historic halving occasions within the following part.

Supply: IOSG Ventures

The following halving is predicted to happen round April 2024 at block 840,000. The mining reward will lower to three.125 BTC.

The cycles are clearly seen and appear to be linked to those occasions, which will be clearly seen from the graph beneath displaying the change in BTC worth after the Halving occasion:

Supply: IOSG Ventures

Share-wise, the impression of halving has been steadily decreasing with BTC changing into a extra mature asset. After the final halving occasion, the value elevated greater than 6x one yr after the halving.

Supply: IOSG Ventures

Evaluation of pre-halving interval

Within the anticipation of the halving occasions we additionally observe sturdy BTC worth motion, though to not the extent of depth to the post-halving durations. Once more, with every new cycle the proportion improve has been extra modest going from 400%, over 150% to 25% in respective pre-halving durations.

Supply: IOSG Ventures

Evaluation of macro and crypto bull cycles overlap

Earlier than we prematurely tie crypto cyclicality to the halving cycles we must always attempt to isolate the impact of the worldwide macro cycles on crypto.

Supply: IOSG Ventures

As illustrated above, there may be a number of overlap, particularly in the previous few years. Because of this, we can’t say that halving occasions have a decisive position within the timing of the beginning of a brand new cycle. Whereas a constructive macro setting is prone to be the key determinant in crypto cyclicality, halving cycles in addition to different crypto-specific occasions seemingly have a significant impression on the magnitude of a bull market.

Supply: IOSG Ventures

Crypto merchants are prone to intently comply with the macro setting, with rates of interest, oil costs, and the end result of ongoing geopolitical wars anticipated to have a significant impression on the general macrocycle.

On the crypto aspect, thus far the key bullish triggers have been a sequence of high-profile bankruptcies of enormous banks, hypothesis on crypto ETF merchandise, and the settlement between Binance and regulators which eliminated one of many largest potential black swan occasions.


Though we stay optimistic in regards to the following months, the historic tendency for cycles to swing from durations of exuberance to correction reminds us that reaching a degree of overvaluation just isn’t unusual.

We stand on the threshold of a section the place overconfidence and greed are likely to dominate the narrative, doubtlessly resulting in the setting of untamed swings and valuations that defy rationality.

Whereas this evaluation suggests anticipation of an extra development within the urge for food for crypto funding and constructive momentum to proceed, we additionally must method it with a be aware of warning.

In spite of everything, Bitcoin, in its current state, stands as a much more mature asset in comparison with earlier cycles. The growing institutionalization and maturity of this asset class elevate the specter of the environment friendly market speculation coming into play. We acknowledge that as an asset matures, historic sample evaluation might grow to be much less relevant. On this gentle, a balanced and practical perspective turns into a useful asset.

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