Market Wrap: Bitcoin Closes 2020 Near Record Highs

The Takeaway:

Bitcoin nearly triples its price in 2020 and ends the year close to $29,000 but ether gained 450%.

  • Bitcoin (BTC) trading around $28,963 as of 21:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET), gaining 1.5% over the previous 24 hours.
  • Bitcoin’s 24-hour range: $27,916.63 – $29,280.05 (CoinDesk 20)

Bitcoin printed a new record high above $29,000 early Thursday before charting a quick pullback to $27,900 during U.S. trading hours, according to data compiled by the CoinDesk 20.

Despite the minor drop, the number one cryptocurrency by market value is eyeing its third consecutive monthly gain, a feat last achieved in the second quarter of 2019. The cryptocurrency has rallied by over 45% this month alone and is on track to end 2020 with at least a 290% gain.

The price rally puts bitcoin far ahead of traditional assets such as gold and stocks. The yellow metal has gained 25% this year, and the S&P 500, Wall Street’s benchmark index, has added 15%.

The year 2020 will go down in history as the period of bitcoin maturing as a macro asset, with prominent publicly-listed companies such as MicroStrategy diversifying their cash reserves into the cryptocurrency.  

Most observers expect a continued rally in 2021. “The longer-term economic impacts of COVID are unknown. However, as we’re still in the midst of major economic disruptions and historical volatility, I believe bitcoin/crypto will continue to rise and be at the pinnacle of positive change,” Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Binance, said in a New Year’s message. 

Analysts at the investment banking giant JPMorgan foresee bitcoin’s increasing mainstream adoption hurting gold’s price. 

However, a correction could be seen in the short run if the spot inflow from institutional investors slows down, according to Ki Young Ju, CEO of cryptocurrency data provider CryptoQuant. 

“We haven’t had significant Coinbase outflows since $23,000,” Ju told CoinDesk. “Tokens transferred are decreasing and the fund flow ratio for all exchanges is increasing. Grayscale BTC holdings are 607,000 since Dec. 25,” 

From a technical analysis standpoint, $27,300 is key support which, if breached, would open the doors to $25,300, according to crypto exchange EQUOS’ daily bitcoin analysis email.

Ether outperforms bitcoin

  • Ether (ETH) trading around $742.19 as of 21:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET), down 0.8% over the previous 24 hours.
  • Ether’s 24-hour range: $723.18 – $755.56 (CoinDesk 20)

Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market value, has gained over 450% this year versus bitcoin’s 300% rally. The cryptocurrency rose to a 31-month high of $757 on Wednesday and was last seen trading at $730. 

Ether received a boost from the decentralized finance’s explosive growth in 2020, and stronger gains could be in the offing next year. 

According to Ryan Watkins, an analyst at crypto data provider Messari, the CME’s recent announcement to launch ether futures in February is a sign of growing institutional interest in the cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin charted a strong rally in the run up to futures listing on CME three years ago. The exchange announced bitcoin futures on Oct. 31, 2017, when the cryptocurrency was trading near $6,300, and traded the first contract on Dec. 27. By then, prices had neared $20,000. 

Other markets

Digital assets on the CoinDesk 20 are mostly down Monday.

Notable winners on the day as of 19:00 UTC (2:00 p.m. ET): 

  • cosmos (ATOM): +11.5%
  • chainlink (LINK): +1.7%
  • OMG network (OMG): +1.6%

Notable losers:

  • orchid (OXT): -5.0%
  • stellar (XLM): -4.5%
  • bitcoin cash (BCH): -4.0%

Global equity indexes

  • Japan: Nikkei 225: 27,444.17 (-123.98 or -0.45%)
  • UK: FTSE 100: 6,460.52 (-95.30 or -1.45%)
  • U.S.: S&P 500: 3,756.07 (+24.03 or +0.64%)


  • Oil was down 0.22%. Price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude: $48.18.
  • Gold was in the green 0.3% and at $1,900 as of press time.


  • The 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yield fell Thursday to 0.917%.

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