Congrats, you’ve just survived the longest bitcoin bear market ever

There’s no formal definitions for bitcoin bear markets, but that shouldn’t stop us from celebrating stubbornness

OPINION
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Bitcoin is a new paradigm, it’s been said, in which bubbles are mathematically impossible. Bear markets, however, are definitely part of our reality.

Still, relying on legacy finance definitions of bull and bear markets to map bitcoin cycles is a fool’s errand. 

The old ways dictate that bear markets begin when an asset drops 20% from recent highs and end when they rise 20% from local lows. The S&P 500 was declared to have exited its bear market about one month ago under these very conditions.

If those rules truly mapped to crypto, bitcoin (BTC) would’ve shed its most recent bear market sometime in early January, when BTC crossed $20,000 after crashing below $16,500 as FTX went kaput.

Bitcoin just finished a very long stretch of negative year-on-year returns

Another strategy riffs on those guidelines. A bear market would be over when bitcoin trades 20% above recent lows for one month or more. Bitcoin did just that this year, when it stayed above $18,800 throughout January until mid-February.

Here’s one more method: Bitcoin is in a bear market when its year-on-year returns are negative. It’s in a bull market when the opposite is true.

If that’s the case, then bitcoin exited its longest bear market ever on June 12, just a few days after the S&P.

  • Bitcoin’s year-on-year returns were negative for 490 days — a new record.
  • Returns reached as low as -83.6% across that period.
  • The previous record was 353 days between November 2014 and October 2015
The 2023-2023 line is much longer than the others

Bitcoin would’ve entered the most recent bear market early last February, when it traded for $44,000 — around 35% below its $69,000 high set in November 2021.

It’s a very basic hypothetical. Nevertheless, it would imply that bitcoin has been in a bull market for the past 24 days. BTC’s year-on-year returns have hit more than 61% in that time.

Most probably, it’s too early to say that we’re back. Don’t let that dampen your parade, especially if you’ve been holding since at least the start of last year.

Congratulations, you just survived the longest bear market in history. You’re now a crypto veteran, for better or worse.



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