On Thursday (January 23), Arthur Hayes, Co-Founder and CEO of crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX, made a prediction for this coming weekend: he expects both Bitcoin volatility and trading volumes to “nosedive”.
The Zodiacal Rat is the first of the repeating 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac, constituting part of the Chinese calendar. 2020 is the Year of the Rat; it starts on 25 January 2020 and ends on 11 February 2021.
The first day of the Chinese New Year — known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year — falls on Satuday (January 25) this year. The celebrations last until February 8, when the Lantern Festival takes place.
According to CryptoCompare, around 02:44 (UTC) today, Bitcoin was trading around $8,569:
This time is roughly when the BitMEX CEO decided to make his prediction for this coming weekend:
新年快乐 The year of the rat starts this weekend. Time for #Bitcoin volatility and volumes to nose dive.
— Arthur Hayes (@CryptoHayes) January 23, 2020
Presumably, Hayes feels that there will be less trading in Bitcoin within the Chinese community due to the fact people will be busy with Chinese New Year activities, such as putting up decorations, having a reunion dinner with their family on New Year’s Eve, fireworks, giving/receiving gifts.
Some members of the crypto community on Twitter, such as Gabor Gurbacs, the digital asset strategist/director at VanEck/MVIS, found the connection between Bitcoin and “Rat” amusing (having recalled legendary billionare investor Warren Buffett comments on 5 May 2018 about Bitcoin being “rat poison squared”):
Warren comes to my mind… pic.twitter.com/Jh71rmScbH
— Gabor Gurbacs (@gaborgurbacs) January 23, 2020
And a few seem to think that it is not quite right for Hayes to be worrying about the Bitcoin price (and possibly the effects of Bitcoin’s price action on the profits of his crypto exchange) at a time when Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), a new strain of coronavirus, is rapidly spreading through China:
They got bigger issues to deal with at the moment… like maybe the possible coronavirus pandemic..? something that’s a bit more pressing in the time being.
— chris (@Chris_H_Lee) January 23, 2020
If Hayes’ prediction of reduced Bitcoin trading activity (starting this weekend) comes true, it might, this year, be more due to the sombre mood in China and what the authorities over there are doing to contain the spread of the coronavirus:
Beijing joins Wuhan, Zhejiang, Macau in canceling #LunarNewYear celebrations. #China capital’s culture & tourism bureau says all public gathering activities, incl. traditional temple fairs, are off. (Holiday is normally major consumer spending time. #WuhanCoronavirus) @TheDomino
— Eunice Yoon (@onlyyoontv) January 23, 2020
As for the effect of the Chinese New Year on the price of Bitcoin, popular macroeconomist and crypto analyst/trader Alex Krüger does not expect this event to act as a positive or negative catalyst:
Bitcoin during/after the Chinese New Year. Nothing special. pic.twitter.com/qP8hMwKVO8
— Alex Krüger (@krugermacro) January 22, 2020
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