Bitcoin (BTC) trading around $56,700 as of 21:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET), slipping 1.3% over the previous 24 hours.
Bitcoin’s 24-hour range: $55,116 to $58,150.
Continuing a strong start to the month, bitcoin bulls pushed all the way to $58,000 on Friday, but they’re still struggling to pass the record high set in mid February.
Bitcoin was down 2.2% on Friday, poised to end its longest winning streak this year, after prices failed to break though the all-time-high above $58,300 set last month.
As of 21:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET), bitcoin was changing hands just above $56,000 on Coinbase. The seven straight days of gains allowed the largest cryptocurrency to recover nearly all of its losses from late February, but bulls were unable to push the market to new highs.
The largest cryptocurrency is now up 25% so far in March, and a gain this month would mark the sixth straight monthly increase, the first time that’s happened in seven years. Bitcoin has doubled this year.
For bullish technical traders, the possibility of a “double top” forming on the price chart could be concerning, according to CoinDesk’s Damanick Dantes. “Traders are on watch for a breakout to fresh all-time highs, but there is concern about a double top forming, which could lead to profit taking,” Dantes wrote Friday.
In other words, the market has retraced last month’s comedown only to now sit on the precipice of either a bearish “double top” technical chart or a bullish blastoff to fresh all-time highs, signalling a continuation of the rally over the last two weeks.
“It’s over to the weekend trading crowd to decide if bitcoin should remain at the top end of its range, or take a little pop higher and register a new all-time high,” Matt Blom, head of sales and trading for the digital-asset exchange firm EQUOS, wrote Friday in his newsletter.
Although mostly tracking with bitcoin’s gains this week, ether (ETH) lagged behind it. The second-largest cryptocurrency traded around $1,743, dropping almost 4% in 24 hours as of 21:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET).
The Ethereum developer and miner community has spent most of March digesting major upcoming protocol upgrades. One of the largest changes addressing the network’s fee market via Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) 1559 was confirmed to be included in a July hard fork upgrade, per CoinDesk’s prior reporting.
For some analysts, the longer-term price impact from these changes remains an open question. “Due to the highly experimental and frequently evolving nature of the Eth 2.0 upgrade, it is unlikely that these tentative proposals will have a significant impact on the price of ether today,” according to Christine Kim, research analyst at CoinDesk.
But if the planned upgrades “become a reality and Ethereum is able to boast a significantly more scalable and efficient blockchain protocol,” the future is almost certain to be brigh and “more value is likely to accrue on the network in the form of new users and decentralized applications and thereby positively impact ether price in the long run,” Kim said.
Besides ether, other alternative cryptocurrencies (altcoins) gained on the week but lagged behind bitcoin. Altcoin index futures on FTX have gained less than 2% this week.
Digital assets on the CoinDesk 20 are down on Friday. Notable losers as of 21:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET):
Asia’s Nikkei 225 closed the day up 506 points at 29,717.
The FTSE 100 in Europe gained 1.7%, reaching 6,798.
The S&P 500 in the United States rose 0.1% to 3,943.
Oil slipped half a percent. Price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude: $65.58.
Gold was in the green by 0.12% at $1,724 as of press time.