Bitcoin price down 20% so far in 2022 after worst January since 2018

Bitcoin (BTC) is heading for its worst January performance in four years — could all not be what it seems?

Data from on-chain analytics resource Coinglass shows January 2022 to be the least profitable since the peak of Bitcoin’s last halving cycle. Investors, however, are still waiting for a “blow-off top.”

Will Bitcoin see a rare “red” February?

Against practically all expectations, BTC price action has continued to underperform this month.

At current spot prices of $36,800, BTC/USD is down 20.1% versus the start of the year, compounding misery that began in November, data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView shows.

BTC/USD 1-month candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: TradingView

Historical figures show that January is conversely often a “green” month for Bitcoin — 2021, by comparison, delivered gains of more than 21%.

The same can be said for November and December, however, making this year especially painful for bulls. Those two months in 2020 saw price increases of 43% and 47% respectively.

The last “red” January for Bitcoin, meanwhile, was in 2018, as the fervor surrounding the trip to then all-time highs of $20,000 rapidly cooled.

That halving cycle peak, coming roughly 18 months after the previous block subsidy halving event, should have played out again in late 2021. The reality was quite different, and Bitcoin’s underperformance saw time-tested price apparatus come in for criticism.

While Cointelegraph is considering what could break the downtrend next month, February still has history on its side when it comes to Bitcoin price strength.

Last year, BTC/USD gained nearly 37% in four weeks, while serious downside last occurred far back in February 2014. In 2018, by contrast, Bitcoin hardly moved.

Bitcoin monthly returns chart (screenshot). Source: Coinglass

Shorters in the mood this week

As Cointelegraph reported, the out-of-character price behavior since November has got analysts wondering whether Bitcoin is in a bull or a bear market.

Related: ‘Stop panic selling’ — Bitcoin whales bag spare BTC as exchange balances fall

At the height of this month’s losses last week, hodlers were down 52% against all-time highs, and so opinions favor further downside to come.

Data shows opportunist traders’ resolve — the dip below $37,000 which followed the weekly close was heavily utilized by shorters betting on weakness continuing.

Bullish bias, meanwhile, is broadly off the table until a convincing retake of $38,500 and higher.

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