Is the Bitcoin 4-Year Market Cycle Real?

Throughout Bitcoin’s short history, its price has experienced enormous swings to new all-time highs, followed by retracements that take back most of the gains. Studying several Bitcoin (BTC) market cycles, it becomes clear that other than the first cycle, the others are relatively consistent regarding timing.

This trend is especially true of the last two cycles, which are close to four years each from peak to peak and bottom to bottom. Some have speculated that this timing results from the Bitcoin halving that occurs approximately every four years or 210,000 blocks mined. The question now is: Is the Bitcoin four-year cycle a real phenomenon or just a coincidence? And if it is real, what will it look like in 2024 and beyond?

Dissecting Bitcoin’s Market Cycles

For clarity, this article defines a market cycle from one bear market bottom to the next.

The first accurate Bitcoin price tracking occurred in July 2010. By October, Bitcoin’s price started to rise and peaked on June 8, 2011, at $31.90. The price began to fall over the next five months and bottomed at $2.01 on Nov. 19, 2011. This first cycle was the shortest of all the cycles to date.

Cycle No. 2 began at the 2011 bear market bottom on Nov. 19, after which the price bounced higher almost immediately. After the bounce, there was a six-month period of consolidation. After BTC broke out of the consolidation, it peaked at over $268 on April 10, 2013; a 76% drop followed that peak.

BTC recovered almost immediately and hit a bull market peak of $1,177 on Nov. 30, 2013. An 86% drop followed that peak; the bottom was hit on Jan. 14, 2015.

The third cycle began at the 2015 bear market bottom on January 14. For the first 9 ½ months, the price of Bitcoin accumulated in a range of about $100. After the price of Bitcoin broke out of the accumulation range, it re-tested the range once before moving higher.

The move higher culminated in the bull market peak at just under $20,000 on Dec. 17, 2017. Once again, a price drop of 84% followed the peak and the bottom was hit almost one year later, on Dec. 15, 2018.

The fourth cycle began on Dec. 10, 2018, and after about four months of accumulation, the price of Bitcoin broke out in a dramatic fashion. Over the next three months, the price of Bitcoin increased by over 200% and hit a high of $13,831 on June 26, 2019.

Over the remainder of the year, Bitcoin’s price slowly dropped but still finished up about 90% for the year. The start of 2020 saw a 45% increase in the price of Bitcoin, which peaked in mid-February. That was followed by the COVID crash, which bottomed in mid-March.

The recovery from the COVID crash was swift and eventually led to the next bull market. This bull market was reminiscent of the 2013 bull market. After pushing higher throughout much of 2020, the price of Bitcoin peaked on April 14, 2021. This peak was followed by a 55% pullback that bottomed on July 20.

Over the next month, the price of Bitcoin increased by over 134%, which led to the ultimate bull market peak on Nov. 10 at $69,000. Bitcoin’s price immediately began to drop and just over a year later, on Nov. 21, 2022, it hit what appears to be the bottom at $15,495.

By zooming out and looking at the entire price history of Bitcoin, you can calculate the timing of each market cycle. In the chart above, the green vertical lines mark the bull market peaks and the time intervals between them. The yellow dashed lines mark the bear market bottoms, with the time intervals between them.

Note the timing of the last two market cycles. They are close to a four-year cycle, from one peak to the next and from bottom to bottom. Another interesting observation is the time of year when the peaks and bottoms occur.

Other than the first peak in 2011, all the others occurred in November, December or January. Is this timing a coincidence, or is there a reason behind it?

It is also clear that with each successive cycle, the percentage increase in price for the year leading up to the halving is declining. The same pattern is evident from the halving to the following peak. Again, with Bitcoin’s short history, it is unclear whether this pattern will continue. Visually, it is easy to see the diminishing returns with each successive cycle in percentage terms.

Timing for Bitcoin Bottoms: From Halvings to Peaks
Timing for Bitcoin Bottoms: From Halvings to Peaks (Image:

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Bitcoin’s Market Cycle

What is the Bitcoin Market Cycle?

The Bitcoin market cycle refers to the recurring pattern of price behaviour in the Bitcoin market, characterised by alternating periods of appreciation and depreciation. This cycle is a result of market participants’ perceptions and actions, such as buying and selling, and is influenced by a variety of factors, including market sentiment, regulatory changes, technological developments and the wider economy.

Historically, Bitcoin has followed a four-year cycle tied to Bitcoin halving events, which happen approximately every 4 years. A halving event marks a 50% cut in the Bitcoin reward miners receive for mining new blocks and verifying transactions; in effect Bitcoin supply continues to increase, but at a slower rate. The knock-on effect can be a steep increase in price, assuming the demand for Bitcoin remains the same or increases after a halving. The next halving is due April 2024, when the block reward will fall to 3.125 bitcoins.

What are the Bitcoin Market Cycle Phases?

Phase 1 – Accumulation

Occurs when prices are low, but small signs of growth appear. During this phase buyers will accumulate cheaper Bitcoin and so it represents the point of maximal financial opportunity.

Typically, there is bearish sentiment in the market so volume is low and prices are fluctuating in a tight range, near the bottom.

Phase 2 – Continuation

The price continues moving towards the all time high. A halving event has historically occurred here, coinciding with shrinking exchange reserves as buyers hoover up supply as they look to capture rising prices in anticipation of new all-time highs.

Phase 3 – Parabolic

When the price eclipses the previous all-time high, price action will start to move exponentially to the upside pushing the price to a new all-time high, which has exceeded the previous landmark by a significant factor. This phase is extremely volatile, with rapid price increases followed by large corrections

Sell volume builds as a portion of investors lock in healthy profits, while many market participants will continue buying believing the bull market has more room to run. As a result, price volatility is low given the buy and sell volumes begin to balance against a backdrop of overconfidence. At this point, many investors would see the Fear & Greed Index flashing Extreme Greed.

Phase 4 – Correction

Following the euphoria of the Parabolic phase, this is when the market will see a major correction to the downside. Previous bear market periods have resulted in approximately 80% drawdowns from the top and negative price action for approximately a year. The most recent example saw the price tumble from an all-time high of $69,000 (November 2021) to $15,476 (November 2022).

The chart below shows the cyclical nature of Bitcoin’s price and how it has played out in the past.

The Crypto Market Cycle: Bitcoin's Performance Over Time
The Crypto Market Cycle: Bitcoin’s Performance Over Time

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Bitcoin and the Predictability of Crypto Market Cycles

[An interesting summary of Bitcoin cycles from the end of 2023]

History shows there’s likely a bright year ahead for BTC’s price.

The crypto market may seem like a foreign world to many, with no real rhyme or reason for how it trades.

Just like traditional markets, though, crypto goes through its own cycles – and these price cycles are remarkably consistent, including their timing between peak-to-trough bottoms, price recoveries and subsequent rallies to new cycle highs.

We believe we’re in the early stages of a new cycle. Using bitcoin (BTC) as our benchmark, here’s the typical structure of a crypto market cycle:

  • BTC’s price peaks at a new all-time high.
  • BTC then suffers a painful 80% or so drawdown.
  • The price eventually bottoms almost exactly one year after the prior cycle’s high.
  • BTC starts to recover and takes about two years to reach a new all-time high.
  • BTC continues to rally for another year before topping out at its next cycle high.
  • Then the cycle repeats.

The last few cycles have followed this playbook to a T.

Crypto Market Cycles (Image:
Crypto Market Cycles (Image:

The consistency of these cycles isn’t by coincidence. It’s driven by bigger, more powerful macro trends – and one that lies at the very heart of bitcoin’s value proposition.

Bitcoin is not an inflation hedge in the way many believe it to be. Bitcoin is not a hedge on the Consumer Price Index, or CPI. It’s a hedge against currency debasement.

That distinction is important because currency debasement is driven by monetary inflation and the expansion of central bank balance sheets. In essence, BTC is of the most leveraged bets on an expansionary liquidity environment.

Bitcoin halvings aren’t the primary catalyst for BTC bull markets – liquidity cycle uptrends are. It just so happens that each halving has lined up with an expansionary liquidity environment. The next halving is expected to occur in April 2024, which once again looks to be right on cue.

That’s not to say the Halving isn’t important – it’s a strong narrative that can certainly pour fuel on a bullish uptrend, especially if we see a spot BTC ETF approved ahead of time given liquidity upcycles tend to turbocharge fund flows.

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What is Bitcoin?

I was asked at the start of the year what is bitcoin, is it all virtual, and are you actually buying and selling anything real? This is the answer I gave, and I’m reposting it here as it may be useful to newcomers.

In a nutshell Bitcoin is virtual or software money, it’s a little bit like how banks used to issue their own currency in the past. The clever thing about it is that it is trustless – for hundreds of years people have wanted a universal payment system that didn’t need a third party to take their money (credit and debit cards, PayPal, Western Union, etc.) and Bitcoin was the first to solve that. A network of computers around the world hold a record of all Bitcoin transactions ever, and when a new transaction (block) takes place it is added to the list of previous transactions with a software pointer to the previous transaction (so it is impossible to add, remove or replace any transaction without breaking the chain) – hence the term Blockchain. That makes Bitcoin virtually impossible to hack. Also anyone can run one of these computers – I did for a while – so it is completely decentralised and no-one can change Bitcoin or devalue it.

What is Bitcoin? (Image: AI/BIC)
What is Bitcoin? (Image: AI/BIC)

There will only ever be 21 million BTC, that is fixed, and 19M have already been issued, following an algorithm hardcoded into it. As to whether you are buying and selling anything real, that is a complex question. Since fiat currency (pounds, dollars, etc.) are no longer connected to anything but printed at will there you are definitely not buying and selling anything real – all you know is that there will be more next year and what you’ve got will be worth less, which can’t happen with Bitcoin. I don’t want to get into the politics, suffice to say a staggering amount of new currency was created in the pandemic (…/80-us-dollars-existence…/) and we are starting to reap the effects of that with inflation and the cost of living crisis. Suffice to say that the big investment houses and banks know all this and have been getting into BTC for the last few years. A number of applications for Bitcoin funds have also gone in, with Blackrock the biggest, and approval is hoped/expected for January. At that point tens of thousands of businesses and pensions will be able to buy into Bitcoin ETFs, which will jump up the demand for Bitcoin (since any money invested has to be backed by the same amount of Bitcoin being bought, same as a gold ETF).

In parallel, the next halving is in April when the amount of Bitcoin produced per transaction halves, so we are hitting a demand/supply perfect storm. I believe Bitcoin will continue its bull run until late next year and will definitely exceed $80k but could potentially exceed $200k. My first 2 Bitcoin I bought for £500 each in 2017, and continue to buy in whenever I can. I think people with software knowledge are able to appreciate it better than most, and in the bigger picture we are still early into Bitcoin. Some people say it will eventually replace fiat currency altogether, as the world becomes more digitised, but certainly its increasing use by banks, and as sovereign currency (El Salvador so far, other countries likely to follow), show the direction of travel is clear. I expect in the next 4 year halving cycle (from early 2027) it could hit $1M per Bitcoin.

Five reasons Bitcoin is invincible

Is Bitcoin back from the dead? A year ago, Bitcoin — and “crypto” in general — was in a parlous state. A series of major scandals, including the FTX collapse, had investors running scared and regulators on a warpath. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched numerous full-bore attacks on crypto companies, and even blamed crypto for a short-lived banking crisis last summer. The public perception of digital assets was also in the toilet, and politicians, fearing reputational contagion, wanted nothing to do with them (this was in stark contrast to early 2022, when a third of the US Congress took money from a certain Sam Bankman-Fried).

Critics, not unreasonably, said crypto had failed to offer compelling use-cases, beyond speculation. They said it was a cesspit of money laundering and terrorism (its involvement in the latter tends to be vastly overstated). They said it was dangerous for the environment. They said it could never become part of the financial system, because key financial players on Wall Street would never accept it. Some even dared to bid a valedictory “Sayonara”, as they have hundreds of times before now.

Bitcoin protected by shield (Image: AI/

Yet today, Bitcoin is trading at around $70,000, above its previous all-time-high of about $69,000. The world’s premier cryptocurrency now has a market cap greater than silver, and many expect it to reach parity with gold within a few months. Meanwhile, the rest of the crypto market, which slumped along lifelessly for much of 2023, isn’t far behind.

So, what’s going on here? What sparked Bitcoin’s resurrection? The truth is there are five principal reasons behind its revival, the first of which may seem rather obvious…

1. You can’t kill Bitcoin

It’s awfully difficult to eradicate something like Bitcoin. Its network is peer-to-peer and decentralised, with roughly 18,000 public nodes working to validate and maintain the network daily, and they work independently. There isn’t a central point of failure or vulnerability for someone or something to stop. It’s a self-perpetuating system. And, more importantly, Bitcoin has tremendous latent support in the world: there are more than 100 million Bitcoin holders globally and, characteristically, they do not respond to political pressure. Since its emergence 13 years ago, Bitcoin has purred along efficiently, steadily growing, even in the face of massive competition and numerous hacks (particularly to exchanges and individual wallets).

This resilience isn’t directly connected to price; Bitcoin can be resistant without the price going up. But the price is based on this sense of permanence. It’s a function of everyone knowing with certainty that the Bitcoin code can’t be changed and that the issuance of new Bitcoin isn’t a political matter. Unlike fiat currencies, which are subject to central bank issuing more or less of a currency depending on the economic circumstances, the issuance of Bitcoin is predictable. That’s a unique selling point in a world where everything, even money, is increasingly politicised.

2. The arrival of ETFs

Though the Bitcoin industry takes pride in its outsider status, it has long sought mainstream support, whether from regulators or blue-blood institutions. This January, after 10 years of trying, it hit the mother lode, winning SEC approval for Bitcoin exchange-traded funds, or ETFs. These vehicles, which helped to popularise gold in the 2000s, allow everyday investors to buy into Bitcoin as if they were purchasing a conventional stock. There’s no need to own the underlying asset or to store it oneself.

Read more:

How To Make Money in Cryptocurrency

The Bear is dead, long live the Bull!

It is increasingly clear that the most recent Bitcoin bear market (‘crash’) is finally over and we are starting the next bull market (‘to the moon’).

Bitcoin Bull Market (Image:
Bitcoin Bull Market (Image:

It has seemed to me that we were at or close to the bottom of the market for some time. In November I was able to add to my Bitcoin portfolio with additional loans from Ledn, at a price around $17-18k per Bitcoin.

Around the New Year, appropriately enough, it looked more certain that we had turned a corner. I increased my holding of Bitcoin,  via dollar loans against Bitcoin (at around $22k), while being cautious and open to the possibility of further significant falls in the market.

However, it is obvious now that the worst is behind us and we should – mostly – be seeing increases in value from here on in. I say mostly because, of course, Bitcoin never goes up in a straight line, and we can expect spikes and troughs as its value on average goes up.

As I write this Bitcoin is at $29160 and Ether at $1969 on Coinbase. It looks like a great time to buy in as the market shakes off its ‘crypto winter’ and starts to build momentum towards a new all-time high.

It is important to be patient, however. Bitcoin’s value rises and falls in 4 year cycles because of its halving, and the rest of the market follows along in its wake. Therefore we can expect good gains leading up to the forthcoming halving, but the real breakout is likely to take place in the 6 months afterward.

The next halving is due in April 2024. In advance of it we can hope for a steady increase in the value of Bitcoin, plus a faster spike in its value in the 6 months from the halving to October 2024. That should produce the next Bitcoin All Time High (when I’ll be looking to sell) – and then, realistically, the usual fall again afterwards towards 2026 until the next halving approaches in 2028.

In terms of Bitcoin as an investment then, I see the current moment as a great time to buy in. That could be via a lump sum purchase (especially while Bitcoin is below $30k and Ether is below $2k) but Dollar Cost Averaging over the next 12 months would also be a very good strategy.

A suggested diversified portfolio would be something like 50% Bitcoin, 25% Ethereum and 25% of either a range of alternative coins or blue chip NFTs such as the Mutant Ape Yacht Club (which currently has a floor of just 11.9 Eth).

Bitcoin Rally Continues, Gaining More Than 80% This Year

The cryptocurrency extended its gains after another big jump on Tuesday, topping $30,000 for the first time since June.

Bitcoin is still the market’s runaway success story of the year. The cryptocurrency topped $30,000 on Tuesday for the first time since June.

Bitcoin Bull Market (Image:
Bitcoin Bull Market (Image:

Bitcoin has gained more than 80 percent in price this year, far outperforming many other assets. The Nasdaq 100, an index of the biggest tech stocks, has gained roughly 20 percent in that period — a strong showing but a far cry from Bitcoin’s resurgence.

The latest Bitcoin rally appears to be partly tied to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy, which has included nine interest rate increases over the past year. Crypto asset prices sank a year ago as the central bank began to raise rates, but investors are now betting that the Fed will soon pause its rate increases, even though Fed officials have been suggesting the opposite, setting off a big rebound.

Bitcoin’s biggest gains also coincide with the turmoil in the banking sector. The cryptocurrency is up more than 45 percent since the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank last month. Industry advocates point to the recent rally as a sign that investors are converting some of their cash into digital currencies, though there is little evidence of that happening.

Read more: NY Times

2022 was a hard year for crypto — but it may have been just what the industry needed

  • 2022’s crypto collapse wiped out roughly $2 trillion worth of crypto assets.
  • As the sector enters a period of stability, good actors must come together to deliver a digital assets industry that promotes the safe, sound and compliant development of blockchain-powered tech.

Consumers, businesses and investors around the world lost nearly $2 trillion in the digital assets market last year. By any measure, the systemic failures in the digital assets market in 2022 were eye-watering — some argue they are still reverberating in 2023, with correlations in the evolving banking crisis.

Bitcoin (Image: Antana/CCBY-SA2)
Bitcoin (Image: Antana/CCBY-SA2)

Many of 2022’s crypto losses were triggered by a daisy chain of events that began with the collapse of the stable-in-name-only Terra-Luna token, and were punctuated by the collapse of FTX.

The remaining viable players in the crypto industry must take a hard look in the mirror to regain market trust, particularly among regulators and policymakers. Regulators and policymakers, meanwhile, should take heed in not overreacting to crypto risks but responsibly harness the technology.

With jurisdictions adopting policies across the spectrum, de-banking and de-risking are emerging as major threats to the industry. These trends have unintended consequences and, over time, may produce more harm to the countries (and markets) that adopt these policies than the knee-jerk corrections to last year’s financial misdeeds.

Countries that lead in the development of the third generation of the internet (what some are calling Web3), and the novel industries and business models it will produce (including in the core of finance and banking), will prevail in the digital currency race.

Read more: WEForum

Bitcoin (BTC) Most Undervalued in 10 Years According to Stock-to-Flow Model

According to the stock-to-flow deflection chart, today, bitcoin is the most undervalued with respect to the last 10 years of its history.

A similar situation occurred in the middle of the 2017 bull market. After which, the BTC price continued its exponential growth.

Additionally, bitcoin is deviating from its 11-year uptrend line. The deviation reaches 36% negative. This gives an additional signal that the value of BTC is undervalued and also shows room for upside. The peaks of previous bull markets led the major cryptocurrency high above this trendline.

Record deflection from stock-to-flow
In a recent tweet, cryptocurrency trader @CryptoMichNL pointed out that bitcoin’s price deflection chart from the popular stock-to-flow model is at its lowest level in over 10 years.

Today’s BTC price is oscillating around $40,000, while according to the model, it should already be slightly above $100,000.

Bitcoin Cryptocurrency (Image: MaxPixel)
Bitcoin Cryptocurrency (Image: MaxPixel)

The last time such a significant negative deviation occurred was in the early days of the network development. Back then BTC cost less than $0.1 in October 2010 (yellow circle).

Moreover, the chart shows another moment in the history of the major cryptocurrency when the deflection almost touched current levels (blue circle).

This was in July 2017, in the middle of the previous bull market, when bitcoin cost around $2,000. A few months later, its price continued an exponential rise. This took it to the historical all-time high of $20,000 in December 2017.

The stock-to-flow deflection chart, therefore, not only gives a general indication of the relative value of BTC. It also provides an additional argument that the cryptocurrency market is in the middle of a long-term bull market.

This remains in line with a number of on-chain analysis indicators that are currently providing similar readings.

The stock-to-flow model popularised by @100trillionUSD reaches back to the now-classic book “The Bitcoin Standard” by Saifedean Ammous.

It expresses the relationship of stock, circulating supply, flow, or new production, of any asset whose quantity increases over time. For bitcoin, it is the circulating supply of coins in relation to newly mined coins.

Read more:beINcrypto

4 Reasons to Be Bullish as Bitcoin Breaks Back Above $40K

With BTC’s price regaining traction and heading towards $40,000, it’s worth reviewing four (ok, five) reasons why you should be more bullish.

Although bitcoin has already added $10,000 of value in a week to $40,000, some on-chain features suggest even more bullish developments awaiting right around the corner. From the Stablecoin Ratio to increasing active addresses to corporations buying and holders still holding.

Reason 1: Bitcoin to Stablecoin Ratio
According to data from CryptoQuant, the Bitcoin to stablecoin ratio oscillator has gone into bullish territory. This metric highlights the ratio of the number of bitcoins to stablecoins stored on all exchanges.

The analytics company said this metric has a “perfect BTFD hit rate since 2019.” CryptoQuant encouraged BTC bulls by adding, “it just printed another buy signal,” as the stablecoins sitting on exchanges have far superseded the bitcoins, suggesting more potential purchases.

Bitcoin Electronic Money (Image: MaxPixel)
Bitcoin Electronic Money (Image: MaxPixel)

It’s worth noting that the Bitcoin Stablecoin Supply Ratio, which works similarly, has also been declining in the past few months.

Reason 2: The Bottom Is In?
Jurrien Timmer, the Director of Global Macro at Fidelity Investments, also opined about BTC’s recent price developments. In fact, he believes the massive price slump towards $30,000 was actually the bottom.

He came to this conclusion by comparing the BTC/USD chart with the GS Retail Favorites Basket. History shows that the correlation between the two has been relatively high, suggesting that bitcoin could indeed mimic the basket’s performance.

Reason 3: Corporations Keep Buying, Institutional Praise
While some reports suggested that short-term investors had sold off their BTC holdings during the recent crash, others have only doubled down. Such is the case with MicroStrategy.

Michael Saylor’s NASDAQ-listed business intelligence giant plans to allocate another $1 billion in the primary cryptocurrency after a new stock offering.

The executive, who became among the most prominent BTC bulls in the past year, took it to Twitter to advise those who plan to have 5% of their portfolios in the asset that the remaining 95% will be “demonetized by bitcoin.”

Read more: CryptoPotato

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