Auction Bitcoin Price Analysis

6 minute read

Posted by: Evan Faggart July 12, 2014

The past few weeks have been very hectic in the Bitcoin community due to the excitement of the US Marshals’ Silk Road Bitcoin auction. About two weeks before the auction, the US Marshals posted on their official website that they would be selling off 30 thousand of the bitcoins seized in the Silk Road bust on June 27. This announcement served as as source for lots of speculation in the Bitcoin community, especially speculation focused on how this auction would impact the Bitcoin price. The predictions regarding the Bitcoin price after the auction were scattered across the board. There were the people who said it would cause a panic and drive the price into the ground, there were people who said that the auction would have no affect on the price since it was being conducted off-market, and then there were those people who said that the price would increase greatly because of the auction.

I fell within the more conservative section of the bullish group. I predicted that the Bitcoin price would increase, but would not reach moon-level heights. I speculated that if the Bitocin price was immediately affected at all by the auction, it would be a slight increase in price due to anticipation of positive news coming from the auction winner(s).

Then began the debate on whether or not the Silk Road bitcoins would be auctioned off at, below, or above the market price for Bitcoin. This debate was a very important one to have as far as the Bitcoin price speculators were concerned; the price at which the Silk Road coins were auctioned off of course was very important in determining the future trajectory of the Bitcoin price. If the coins had sold below the market rate, then it would have been more likely for the winner(s) to dump the coins on an exchange, thereby depressing the price. If the coins were sold at or above the market price, the winner(s) would have a much, much larger incentive to hold the bitcoins in order to make a profit, which would keep the Bitcoin price steady or even exert slight upward pressure on its trajectory. As the auction concluded, the losers began making public statements, which included the content of their bids. All of the losers who publicly stated that they had participated in the auction, and revealed what they bid, had all made offers for the bitcoins that were below the market price. This piece of information suggested that the winner(s) made bids that were closer to being at or above the market price, meaning that they likely would not get dumped immediately and therefore would not drive the Bitcoin price down.

Things started getting exciting in the week leading up to the auction. As I predicted, the Bitcoin price experienced a small divergence from the sideways action we had been experiencing ever since the initial announcement of the auction. Due to panic selling from uncertainty about the auction, the price took a fairly sharp dip. However , just a few days before the auction, the price recovered due to people buying in, expecting the auction to drive the Bitcoin price up. Then, on the day of the auction, the price broke a $600 wall that had been established in the lead up to the auction. After the auction ended, the US Marshals announced that one person had won all 30 thousand bitcoins that were up for sale. A day after this announcement, the CEO of Vaurum, a Bitcoin company, revealed in a blog post that Tim Draper, a venture capitalist, was the winner of the bitcoins. Additionally, Vaurum’s CEO revealed a collaborative project between Tim Draper and the company to use Draper’s auction winnings to help inject Bitcoin liquidity into emerging markets with weak currencies. Because of this announcement, the Bitcoin price broke a very short-lived sideways trend and shot up to $650, and briefly flirted with $660.

However, after the announcement that Tim Draper had won all of the Silk Road bitcoins, the excitement around the auction began to wear off. And this waning excitement is where we must start looking towards the future of the Bitcoin price

Where will the Bitcoin Price go now?

Once the auction excitement died down, the Bitcoin price began declining, in search of a new floor. People who bought excess amounts of bitcoins in anticipation of a massive spike in the price realized that no such increase would happen, so they sold their extra bitcoins. As a result, the price dropped from the $650 range down to $640. In my Coin Brief analysis, I stated that we could expect the price to continue falling as it searched for a new floor. I said in that analysis, and I maintain this statement, that the new price floor could be anywhere between $600 and $650. The price remained sideways at $640 for a couple of days until July 5th, when a report from the European Banking Authority caused a very small panic, a subsequent sell-off, and a $10 drop in the price from $640 to $630. The price stayed in the $630 range until the morning of July 7th, when it fell into the $620 range, thus further confirming my previous analysis that the Bitcoin price was searching for a new floor and would continue to fall from the high established by the auction excitement.

As I mentioned before, the Bitcoin price is looking for a new floor. I believe that this floor could be anywhere between $600 and $650, although I think that it is unlikely for the floor to be established at $650. Realistically, if the new floor is within the ballpark estimate I have advanced, it will probably be somewhere in the $600-$630 range. However, it is hard to predict and identify floors, as a floor can exist without the price necessarily hitting it, which would make it difficult to identify the floor; also, price floors can be easily confused with brief sideways trends. For example, it appeared that a floor had been established at $630 over the Fourth of July weekend, because the price hovered between $630 and $635, with very small dips into the $620s that would always rebound very quickly. But, on the morning of July 7th, the Bitcoin price dropped into the $620s and stayed there, revealing that the $630 “floor” was really just a temporary sideways period in the markets. So, my prediction for the range of the new price floor should not be given any considerable amount of weight; there is really no telling where the new floor will be.

Once the market does establish a new price floor, however, a general upward trend that was established months ago will continue. We must take care to remember recent history and not let the chaos around the Silk Road auction cloud our vision when analyzing the future trajectory of the Bitcoin price. Back in the spring, an upward trend was established because of a steady stream of good news from the Bitcoin community (both from Dark Net Markets and the “white market” sections of the community), and that trend has persisted. The market activity surrounding the Silk Road auction caused a divergence from this trend, but did not create an entirely new trend. At the most, the auction merely gave the persisting trend a small boost and helped it create a new, higher price floor. It appears as if the brief, positive divergence has ended and the Bitcoin price will continue to gradually rise as it was doing before the news of the Silk Road auction hit the community. Therefore, we can expect moderate but steady growth in the Bitcoin value until another piece of news comes along that will give the positive trend another boost, or will end the uptrend and establish a new, downward trend.

Updated: 2014-07-12