- Market Psychology in crypto is the collective emotional response of investors to an asset’s price performance
- Market psychology profoundly influences asset prices and market cycles, impacting volatility and price action, triggering significant sell-offs (fear) and relentless rallies (greed)
- There is no direct connection between market psychology and future price action; it is a reaction to current price trends.
In cryptocurrency trading, deciphering market trends and predicting price movements is akin to navigating the treacherous shores. Among the myriad factors influencing these digital asset markets, one often-overlooked yet essential aspect is Market psychology.
The Market Psychology Cycle
Market Psychology in crypto is the collective emotional response of investors to an asset’s price performance. Historically, it has demonstrated a strong correlation between maximum financial risk (buying high) and maximum financial opportunities (buying low). This phenomenon is reminiscent of the BTC/USD chart’s volatile peaks and subsequent sharp declines.
Dispelling a common misconception
Even among well-known figures, a prevailing misconception in the crypto community is the overemphasis on price when interpreting these charts. Many individuals expect past chart data to serve as a reliable indicator for price predictions. However, it’s crucial to recognize that these charts merely depict the emotional reactions triggered by past price actions.
A flashback to the early stages of the bear market
Recall the experience of holding BTC throughout 2021. We witnessed an abrupt plunge in asset prices late that year. When investors tumbled from the lofty heights of $69,000, optimism still prevailed at the $60,000 mark, with many anticipating a swift recovery to $100,000.
As the price dipped below $50,000, anxiety crept among those trading with high leverage. The lingering question was, “Why am I facing margin calls? This dip is lasting longer than expected.” Despite the ongoing dip, bullish sentiment remained strong, with many convinced it was merely a prelude to the anticipated $100,000 rally.
The dark year for bitcoin hodlers
Then came early 2022, and BTC plummeted to $33,000, obliterating numerous overleveraged positions. A period of denial ensued, with many clinging to the belief that their investments in promising altcoins would rebound.
Indeed, after weeks of volatility, prices nearly regained the $50,000 mark, rekindling investor faith. People were convinced that the bottom had been reached, reminiscent of early 2021. However, external factors such as the stock market, macroeconomic conditions, and geopolitical events soon dashed these hopes.
Subsequently, Luna UST events unfolded, creditor liquidation took place, and panic set in. “Everyone is selling,” and the overall sentiment began shifting bearish. Investors started questioning their choices, leading to a further sell-off. Many capitulated, declaring, “I’m exiting the markets entirely; I cannot afford further losses.”
Then came the FTX incident, the lowest point for BTC, with spot prices dipping below $15,500, marking the “anger phase.” Questions arose, such as “Who shorted the market? Why did the government allow this (FTX) to happen?” Despite these concerns, people continued to buy, preserving a glimmer of hope. Although not in a state of true depression, the interest remained, with people buying the dip, believing that crypto would eventually recover. True depression, as witnessed in 2018/2019, entails a scenario where crypto is scarcely discussed, prices keep declining, and investors question if they are becoming the exit liquidity.
Contrary to expectations, BTC staged a recovery in early 2023, but many skeptics dismissed it as a “sucker’s rally” that would lead to nothing. Some still anticipated a further drop to $14,000, $12,000, or even $10,000, reflecting the market psychology of disbelief. Since the $30,000 range, the market has transitioned back to the “hope” phase, with buyers eagerly purchasing every dip, convinced that new lows are unlikely.
A Common Mistake: Linking market psychology to price
One might observe that the example above deviates from the typical market psychology graph, lacking a “depression” phase and not strictly adhering to the expected pattern. This discrepancy underscores a critical misconception: the belief that market psychology is intrinsically linked to price, enabling accurate price predictions. In reality, market psychology remains independent of price action. Sentiment, particularly in the volatile crypto market, can swiftly shift without guaranteeing a return to new highs or a descent to new lows.
Significantly, a substantial disparity exists between the market psychology of BTC and the altcoin market.
In recent months, a noteworthy development largely escaped notice: the altcoin market nearly reached new lows below the FTX levels. This was primarily attributed to regulatory uncertainties, a far cry from the “Hope” sentiment associated with BTC in the altcoin realm.
I would assess the current psychology surrounding altcoins as a “denial” phase. This does not imply that new lows are inevitable or a potential recovery is unattainable.
Market psychology profoundly influences asset prices and market cycles, impacting volatility and price action, triggering significant sell-offs (fear) and relentless rallies (greed). A common mistake, however, lies in the misconception that market psychology can reliably predict prices. In truth, there is no direct connection between market psychology and future price action; it is a reaction to current price trends.
This knowledge can help provide a rough estimate of the current sentiment in the crypto market, identifying potential points of maximum financial opportunity while avoiding the perils of maximum financial risk based on market psychology and emotion. Ultimately, trading remains a contest of wits, with every buy order matched by a sell order.