Volatility Index Paints a Gloomy Picture for Bitcoin, Equities

If bitcoin continues trading like Big Tech, the cryptocurrency is in trouble, too


PurpleRender/Shutterstock.com modified by Blockworks


A key measure of market volatility is pointing to an extended bear market, and it’s bad news for bitcoin, analysts say. 

The CBOE VIX Index, which measures volatility based on the S&P 500 options market and generally has an inverse relationship with equities, shows big investors’ demand for hedges. 

In the beginning of 2022, traders were thrown when lows in the S&P 500 index were not accompanied by VIX highs. 

In recent weeks, the VIX has still increased as stocks have dipped, but not to the expected levels, Tom Essaye, founder of Sevens Report Research said. 

“The good news is that the recent S&P lows in mid-October did show a VIX of 34, the same [index low that preceded the 1990 recession],” Nicolas Colas, co-founder of DataTrek Research, said. “The bad news is that every other recessionary market low — even 2002 — coincided with a higher VIX than that.” 

The VIX is down about 12% over the past month, while the S&P 500 has rallied around 6%. But, in the past five days, the VIX has shot up nearly 13%, still sitting only at around 22, while the S&P 500 has dropped a modest 2%.

“We remain in a liquidation phase of the market cycle during which more sophisticated, institutional investors are selling their long-term equity holdings,” Essaye said.

“Institutional money managers are the biggest players in the options market as they continually hedge their long equity positions during cyclical bull markets and that explains why when stocks go down, the VIX goes up,” he added. 

A rising VIX is going to be a warning that stocks are in for a drawdown, Essaye said, and if bitcoin continues trading like Big Tech, the cryptocurrency is in trouble, too. Bitcoin was trading fairly flat at around $17,180 at time of publication. 

“With risk appetite not improved, bitcoin continues to trade around $17,000 and await upcoming data,” Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, said. “Unfortunately for bitcoin, the timing means it never participated in the last risk rebound and there isn’t much appetite to make up for lost time.”

Bitcoin’s bear market still has some steam, Galaxy Digital research analysts wrote in a note Friday. 

“Bitcoin is currently trading about -75% from its last all-time high. Prior bear markets saw lows at -83.5% on Dec. 13, 2018, -85% on Jan. 14, 2015, and -93.5% on Nov. 18, 2011,” analysts noted. 

Even though the S&P 500’s latest rally has seen the index claw back more than 15% of its year-to-date lows, the trend remains bearish, Essaye said. 

“Tech and growth stocks have recovered some ground on value recently but we continue to believe that progress in the economic recovery and subsequently higher interest rates will be a headwind for tech and a rotation from growth to value can be utilized to reduce tech overweights,” Essaye said.

Don’t miss the next big story – join our free daily newsletter.


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

Top Icon.png


Osmosis thrived in H2 2023 on the back of increased DeFi activity deriving from recently launched Cosmos-related projects and better market conditions. With new value accrual mechanisms for the native token, Osmosis is well-positioned to continue its strong performance in 2024.



Though the opposing flow trend is likely to slow over time, industry watchers note, bitcoin fund assets could one day eclipse the $90 billion gold ETF space


Celestia had the first mover advantage. EigenDA has staked ether. What sets Avail apart?


Bitcoin moved 1% higher Monday morning in New York, Matrixport analysts say $62,000 could happen next month


It’s hard to believe right now that crypto — even with all of its flexibility and massive capabilities — could ever be like cash on the internet


Michael Saylor announced Monday morning that MicroStrategy bought 3k more bitcoin after the X account was compromised over the weekend


Plus, Pudgy Penguins grows its brand and a group of Autoglyphs sell for $14.5 million