When cryptocurrencies generate headlines on CBS News, it’s either because the sector soared to unfathomable heights or suffered agonizing losses. Unfortunately for the crypto permabulls, recently it’s been the latter. More than a trillion dollars have been wiped out since the volatility began in May. So what’s next for cryptos?
Michael Burry, the man known for boldly shorting the housing market bubble before the 2008 financial crisis, has been bearish on cryptos and meme stocks. As Burry put it, he believes the “mother of all crashes” is linked to emotionally hurried speculation on risky currencies and securities.
While I don’t think it’s wise to base your entire investment thesis on one analyst’s opinion — no matter how smart or accomplished they are — Burry has a strong argument. Frankly, I’m surprised not many people heeded his warnings. Essentially, the man who bet against housing was ironically driven out of town. Still, stock trading on margins continues to run at all-time highs, which is extremely unhealthy for the market.
However, if you follow my work, you knew about the real possibility of a sector correction. In last week’s edition of my crypto update, I was skeptical about the upside prospects of several digital assets. I’m afraid that I don’t have an encouraging outlook — unless you’re ready to play the long game.
As you’ll see below, most high-market-capitalization crypto assets broke below key technical support lines or formations. In the near term, it will be very difficult for the market to recover as several investors — both individual and institutional — start to get cold feet regarding their exposure. Here are seven cryptos on a critical watch list:
- Bitcoin (CCC:BTC-USD)
- Ethereum (CCC:ETH-USD)
- Dogecoin (CCC:DOGE-USD)
- Ethereum Classic (CCC:ETC-USD)
- Cardano (CCC:ADA-USD)
- Litecoin (CCC:LTC-USD)
- Chainlink (CCC:LINK-USD)
While I don’t believe this is the end for crypto, it’s not a comfortable time to initiate a position. If there’s good news here, it’s that those who are suffering from FOMO (fear of missing out) may see a much better entry point. So be patient and carefully monitor this week’s price action.
Cryptos: Bitcoin (BTC)
Bitcoin, the one crypto that everyone keeps their eyes on, remains the sector benchmark. Many altcoins have tried to gain independence from the strong correlation they have with BTC. However, the fact is that wherever Bitcoin goes, almost every other crypto goes.
Unfortunately, this is the one glaring weakness of the crypto market. You don’t see one specific stock influence the trajectory of the entire equities sector. Yet in the virtual currency world, Bitcoin is judge, jury and executioner.
As I’ve warned in prior updates and articles, the technical posture for BTC is discouraging in the near term. Currently, I’m seeing a broadening wedge formation play out, which has negative implications in the months ahead.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that day traders have zero opportunities. It may be possible for BTC to take one more crack at the $40,000 level. But if it can’t break $45,000, I would stay away. Based on present trends, I’m looking at a downside target between $20,000 to $25,000.
If any crypto had a chance to decouple from Bitcoin’s trading dynamics, it was Ethereum. Blockchain advocates had high hopes as ETH posted blistering records above the $4,300 level. But since the middle of May, the number two crypto by market capitalization has looked extremely ugly.
As you know, Ethereum’s blockchain architecture undergirds several decentralized platforms and applications. It gained prominence for introducing the idea of smart contracts, but the platform is also known for its blockchain evolution. Ethereum transformed it from a peer-to-peer (P2P) transaction facilitator to an independent trust-based foundation that could do away with human intermediaries.
For now, though, ETH must stay above the $2,000 threshold to keep its nearer-term upside prospects intact. If I’m being honest, though, the situation doesn’t look good. For example, last Thursday, a drive pushed ETH slightly above $2,000. But the problem is that the bears managed to drop the price down to around $1,700 on Saturday.
With a bearish flag formation in play, Ethereum needs to do Ethereum things to survive the immediate onslaught. If not, I’m looking for a downside target of $1,400 at minimum.
Cryptos: Dogecoin (DOGE)
Although I’ve blasted Dogecoin as a joke crypto — because it is a joke coin — I’m all about giving credit where it’s due. At its peak price, which was over 70 cents across many exchanges, DOGE commanded a market cap that was bigger than some household blue chips. That’s scary, not only because of the power of rampant speculation, but also because such circumstances don’t last forever.
As CNBC reported, some young people are putting all their life savings in Dogecoin and other cryptos. I remember how nervous I was trading crypto in its wild bull market, so I can only imagine what it’s like to put your life savings into a joke virtual currency. It’s possible, then, that this collective sentiment made an almost-worthless coin into something that could challenge top-rated assets.
Still, gravity will not be defied. As I pointed out multiple times, DOGE printed a classic head-and-shoulders pattern. The implications are very bearish, as this is one of the most reliable technical patterns. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dogecoin falls into single-digit-cent territory.
Ethereum Classic (ETC)
Of all the cryptos that crumbled over the past few days, Ethereum Classic’s downfall could be the canary in the coal mine. Though not nearly as popular as Ethereum, ETC is actually the original Ethereum blockchain. An exposed vulnerability in the architecture caused a split between two camps: those who wanted to trudge forward with the original network, and those who wanted to start anew with a hard fork.
The hard forked version is the Ethereum you know and love today, while the original Ethereum became Ethereum Classic. What makes the latter intriguing is that consensus calls for the ETC protocol to maintain its proof-of-work (PoW) status. In contrast, Ethereum is transitioning toward proof-of-stake (PoS).
While PoS is undoubtedly more efficient and energy-consumption friendly, PoW protocols have relative inefficiencies that give miners something to do. This implies that Ethereum Classic may become more profitable for miners relative to PoS crypto networks.
Sadly, the bullish pennant formation that appeared for ETC failed. That means it’s possible Ethereum Classic could drop to the $20 level.
Cryptos: Cardano (ADA)
Cardano made waves as the first PoS platform founded on peer-reviewed research. Naturally, PoS protocols entice advocates of green virtual currencies, as PoW protocols are energy intensive. ADA and similar coins may benefit from the rise of renewable energy infrastructure.
However, crypto investors should separate the underlying technology and its economic implications. I believe the inherent risk in operating an energy efficient platform is that you squeeze out profit margin for miners and other network contributors. Again, inefficiencies create jobs — especially in a decentralized network. Without those inefficiencies, miners lose their incentive to participate and the crypto loses engagement.
Still, the growing popularity of Cardano meant that ADA had a legitimate shot at decoupling from Bitcoin’s trading influence. For some time, it appeared that Cardano just might pull off a miracle. But around June 19 to June 20, ADA slipped below a key rising support line.
Now, I’d say all bets are off. While ADA could reassert itself around $1.40, the crypto asset has a high probability of dropping further, perhaps below $1.
Litecoin gained prominence as an early altcoin when Bitcoin first rose to triple digits and beyond. As the BTC price increased, the number of interested investors jumped exponentially. That bogged down the network, as the original developer(s) did not anticipate such massive volume. Litecoin provided a cheap and efficient alternative way to actualize P2P transactions.
But the issue now is a matter of relevance. Though still very popular — often ranking within the top 10 cryptos by market cap — Litecoin is no longer exciting. Sure, it does efficient P2P transactions. But who doesn’t do that nowadays? The blockchain has become an exceedingly crowded market with little room for redundant platforms.
To be fair, LTC’s long-established history and comparatively accessible price point still boost the coin’s favorability. However, this has not saved Litecoin from the sector’s volatility. As with many other crypto coins, LTC charted a bearish flag/pennant formation over the trailing month. Its sharp correction represents the culmination of this pattern. In the near term, I’m looking at a downside target between $70 and $100.
Cryptos: Chainlink (LINK)
If you keep up with virtual currency investing forums, you have undoubtedly heard about Chainlink. Unlike other speculative investments in this space, LINK offered a profound fundamental argument. As Coinmarketcap.com described, “Chainlink allows blockchains to securely interact with external data feeds, events and payment methods, providing the critical off-chain information needed by complex smart contracts to become the dominant form of digital agreement.”
Under an ordinary contract, a human intermediary confirms that the terms have been met by all parties. But how would a digital intermediary figure that out for a smart contract? Using Chainlink’s technology, this digital intermediary can essentially grab data from outside the blockchain, thereby confirming that the contractual terms have been met.
It all sounds — and is — incredible. But someone needs to tell that to LINK investors, who have been dumping out of the trade. Similar to Litecoin, LINK has been charting a bearish flag/pennant, with the current downside being the culmination of this pattern.
For those looking to buy the dips, I would wait to see if LINK stabilizes at around the $10 level before moving in.
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On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto held a LONG position in BTC, ETH, DOGE, ETC, ADA, LTC, LINK. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare.