GBTC outflows meet ‘incredible demand’ ― 5 things to know in Bitcoin this week

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Bitcoin (BTC) launches into the last week of March within striking distance of old all-time highs.

BTC price action is displaying renewed energy as the market consolidates higher — can bulls manage a return to price discovery?

That is the best scenario on the table for the monthly close. Bitcoin’s hardwon comeback contrasts with last week’s grim mood, which witnessed precipitous losses.

The retracement from current all-time highs near $74,000 at one point passed 17%, and while still modest by bull market correction standards, it made many nervous.

This week, the landscape is different — at least so far. A CME gap to the upside has become one to the downside, and investor anticipation of a fresh attack on the highs to come is climbing, not falling.

Combine that with an inbound mining difficulty increase and classic bullish signals are plain to see.

Beyond Bitcoin, a classic set of macroeconomic triggers is waiting in the wings to potentially inject some added volatility into risk assets.

Cointelegraph takes a closer look at these issues and more in the weekly rundown of near-term BTC price catalysts.

BTC price returns to crunch resistance zone

In strong contrast to before, the weekend was mostly a success story for Bitcoin bulls.

BTC/USD 1-week chart. Source: TradingView

A slow grind higher culminated in a weekly close of just under $67,200 on Bitstamp, data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView confirms.

While this is in fact $1,200 lower than the last, it canceled out the majority of recent losses, which saw BTC/USD reach local lows of less than $61,000 on March 20.

Now, a gap to the downside on CME futures markets is the target to watch for popular analyst Mark Cullen.

When they appear over a weekend, gaps either up or down form a common price lure, with BTC/USD “filling” them within days or even hours when the new trading week begins.

“Lets see if that CME gap gets filled in the next 24hrs,” Cullen wrote in part of a post on X (formerly Twitter), adding a chart showing what he described as “areas of interest.”

BTC/USD chart. Source: Mark Cullen/X

A look at market participants’ views prior to the Wall Street open nonetheless reveals strong reservations about the strength of the Bitcoin bull market.

Fellow trader JT outlined a range of oscillators, including the Relative Strength Index (RSI), all calling for a trend reversal, with “overbought” signals present on two-week timeframes.

“Bottom line: Bitcoin is overbought on the 2-week oscillators and would need a close over $69.1K for bulls to regain momentum,” part of recent X commentary reads.

BTC/USD chart with RSI data. Source: JT/X

Prior to the weekly close, however, trader Alan Tardigrade saw a different narrative present on daily RSI data. The metric, he suggested, was breaking out of a downtrend in place for much of March.

“$BTC is ready for the next week Pump,” he summarized.

BTC/USD chart with RSI data. Source: Alan Tardigrade/X

Analyst Kevin Svenson drew similar tentative conclusions based on another indicator, the daily Moving Average Convergence/Divergence (MACD).

Source: Kevin Svenson

Bulls hope for Bitcoin ETF renaissance

Closely tied to the spot price narrative is that surrounding the United States spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

These saw something of an anomaly last week, clocking five consecutive days of net negative flows for the first time in their short lifespan.

Bitcoin ETF flows (screenshot). Source: Farside

These were driven in no small part by record outflows from the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), reportedly themselves impacted by moves from bankrupt crypto lender Genesis.

Now, commentators are likewise hoping for a return to “business as usual.”

“What do you think market participants are going to do tomorrow night when ETF flows turn positive again?” Quinn Thompson, head of capital markets and growth at crypto lender Maple Finance, queried at the weekend.

Thompson noted that despite the net outflows wrought by GBTC, the biggest ETF providers have retained their inflows, concluding that “new buyers are not selling.”

“GBTC Sold 31,000 BTC last week and price fell ~ 1%,” Thomas Fahrer, CEO of crypto-focused reviews portal Apollo, continued this week.

“Incredible demand to soak up that sell pressure.”

GBTC outflows. Source: Thomas Fahrer/X

Fahrer directly tied “cooling” GBTC outflows to a positive BTC price response to come.

PCE looms amid giant U.S. spending package

This week sees the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Index headline U.S. macro data prints.

PCE, known to be the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure, follows last week’s decision not to cut interest rates.

While markets were already prepared, subsequent language from Fed Chair Jerome Powell ignited bets of successive cuts coming before the end of the year.

e latest data from CME Group’s FedWatch Tool puts the odds of a May cut at 13.7%, up from less than 10% previously. The odds for June are 66%.

Fed target rate probabilities. Source: CME Group

This week, Powell will speak again, potentially reinforcing those convictions. His March 29 conference appearance nonetheless coincides with the Good Friday holiday, on which stock markets will be closed.

“After two hot inflation reports this month, all eyes are on the PCE inflation report,” trading resource The Kobeissi Letter thus concluded in its weekly diary dates rundown.

Financial commentator Tedtalksmacro meanwhile highlighted last week’s U.S. spending package, worth $1.2 trillion, as laying the foundations for further risk-asset upside.

“Fed confirmed QT will slow soon. Rate cuts coming by year end,” part of one recent X post states.

“You need more BTC!”

Mining difficulty set to preserve record highs

Despite recent BTC price volatility to the downside, Bitcoin network fundamentals are priming themselves for upward continuation.

The latest estimates from monitoring resource BTC.com see mining difficulty holding at this week’s automated readjustment.

This will keep the difficulty at or near all-time highs of around 95 trillion, while hash rate paints a similar picture.

Bitcoin network fundamentals overview (screenshot). Source: BTC.com

Raw data from MiningPoolStats shows a new record peak of 741 exahashes per second (EH/s) on March 24.

Miners continue to brace for the upcoming block subsidy halving on April 20, which will cut Bitcoin’s emission per newly-mined block by 50% to 3.125 BTC.

Bitcoin hash rate raw data (screenshot). Source: MiningPoolStats

Analyzing the impact of the halving, however, investor Mike Alfred predicted a mass reorganization as miners adjust to the new subsidy regime.

“We will see a major correction in global hashrate post-halving,” he concluded last week.

“There is A LOT of very old equipment on the network squeezing a last bit of profit out before they go in to the dustbin of history. The big public miners all have new equipment coming. Super profits are imminent.”

Google shows lack of mainstream “FOMO”

Crypto market sentiment as a whole may still be “greedy,” but mainstream interest already appears to be waning.

Related: Bitcoin price aims for a bullish weekly open — Will DOGE, TON, STX and FTM follow?

The latest data from Google Trends shows that after a modest spike during the recent trip to new all-time highs for BTC/USD, search intensity for “Bitcoin” is headed back down.

Search volume reached only a fraction of its 2021 highs, the figures show, as the average Google user shrugs off Bitcoin’s return to form.

Google search data for “Bitcoin” (screenshot). Source: Google Trends

The Crypto Fear & Greed Index meanwhile lingers just below its “extreme greed” zone at 75/100.

Crypto Fear & Greed Index (screenshot). Source: Alternative.me

For statistician Willy Woo, creator of data resource Woobull, however, the power of the Bitcoin bull market is not to be underestimated any more now than before.

Comparing Bitcoin to the S&P 500 last week, Woo drew a clear distinction between “TradFi” and Bitcoin market behavior.

“In TradFi bear markets are steep, people freak out,” he reasoned.

“In Bitcoin bull markets are steep, people FOMO.”

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.