Fed Market Reaction: Stock Correlation Weighs More on Bitcoin Than Interest Rates

Bitcoin and equities slightly rally on news that Fed rate hikes may be coming in the coming months


Blockworks exclusive art by Axel Rangel


key takeaways

  • Markets marginally rebound on signals that rate hikes may come in March
  • If bitcoin’s correlation to equities persists, a greater sell-off might follow a short-term pop

It looks like the easy-money, quantitative-easing days of the Federal Reserve that buttressed crypto markets are winding down.

In its two-day policy meeting that concluded Wednesday, the Fed signaled it would likely begin to raise interest rates in March in tandem with cutting down its balance sheet. 

“I would say that the committee is of a mind to raise the federal funds rate at the March meeting, assuming that conditions are appropriate for doing so,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said following the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.

The Fed elected to keep rates near zero for now, opting to wait for further tapering of asset purchases before raising rates. 

“With inflation well above 2 percent and a strong labor market, the committee expects it will soon be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate,” the FOMC said in the statement

Inflation, meanwhile, continues to rise. For the first time since 1982, the consumer price index (CPI) jumped 7% year-over-year across the board in December.

“The economy no longer needs to sustain high levels of monetary policy support,” Powell said. 

Markets were largely unphased on the news, with bitcoin rallying above $38,000 and the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Index each rising about 1%.

The policy shift comes as the correlation between cryptocurrencies and equities continues to tighten. 

“So long as the strong correlation with traditional finance and risk-on assets persists, bitcoin may experience a bullish relief rally in the near-term after the dovish Fed announcements today,” said Josh Olszewicz, head of research at Valkyrie Funds. “When the Fed does raise rates later this year, should the correlations with risk-on assets persist, Bitcoin may also experience bearish price pressures.” 

Any rate hike would be the first since 2018. After March, it’s not clear whether additional rate hikes could be in store this year. 

“It is not possible to predict with much confidence exactly what path for our policy is going to prove appropriate,” Powell said. 

Get the day’s top crypto news and insights delivered to your inbox every evening. Subscribe to Blockworks’ free newsletter now.


Upcoming Events

Hilton Metropole | 225 Edgware Rd, London

Mon - Wed, March 18 - 20, 2024

Crypto’s premier institutional conference returns to London in March 2024. The DAS: London Experience: Attend expert-led panel discussions and fireside chats Hear the latest developments regarding the crypto and digital asset regulatory environment directly from policymakers and experts.

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

Research report - cover graphics (1).jpg


In this report, we dive into crypto private market data to gather insights on where the future of the industry is headed. Despite a notable downturn in private raises, capital continues to infuse promising projects that aim to transform payments, banking, consumer experiences, community, and more, with 2023 being the fourth-largest year for crypto venture capital.


BUZZ holds shares of Coinbase, Robinhood and MicroStrategy


Opinion: Even though I didn’t pay for my “Diamond Hands” burger with BTC, don’t let that fool you into thinking that crypto’s development is futile


The results mark “a major positive inflection point,” one analyst says, as the exchange carries net income momentum into a crypto rally


While the slate of 10 US spot bitcoin funds have tallied $4.6 billion of net inflows thus far, half of the field is lagging the leaders


Trading volumes totalled $154 billion in Q4, including $125 billion in institutional volume


DeFi on Bitcoin is all the rage right now and Stacks is positioned to benefit