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What Is a Bitcoin ‘Death Cross’ and Why Is Everyone Talking About It?

Bitcoin’s price is falling, and self-proclaimed experts are trying to tell the future.

by Jordan Pearson
Mar 29 2018, 4:55pm

Image: Author

The price of Bitcoin is falling, which means one thing: Internet-wide freakouts. In these times of chaos, folk turn to the only oracles that can soothe their worry or validate their worst fears: Cryptocurrency market chart analysts.

There is an entire cottage industry of these village pellars, all competing to attract followers from the same pool of “Crypto Twitter” users by predicting the future of coin prices. They’re all armed with the same tools, too: Charts that show the historical ups and downs of the market, and an esoteric language so dense that its terms make reading price trends seem almost alchemical: The ascending triangle, the abandoned baby, the cup and handle, and the death cross.

You may have heard of the death cross, because news outlets have grabbed onto it likely because it sounds awesome and people click on awesome things. The reality is less exciting: A death cross is when an asset’s short-term movement average crosses below its long-term average, indicating way more downward action in the market than usual, and apparently Bitcoin is nearing one. Sounds bad!

The death cross followed a media pattern similar to weather that has a badass name (remember “bomb cyclone”?)—in other words, the death cross is everywhere from CNBC to News.com.au to Yahoo! Finance.

But does the death cross mean what the doomsayers say it does? In other words, is Bitcoin’s value about to tank, perhaps for good? Another camp of chart-readers has already offered a competing interpretation: The death cross is actually a bear trap, which I guess is a good thing since “bears” in this occult-adjacent lexicon are people who believe the value of an asset is set to drop. In any case, it’s worth keeping in mind that while the price of Bitcoin ($7,400) is way down from its December high of $19,000, it’s still way above where it was this time last year.

Now, the different schools of prognosticators are arguing over which group’s interpretation of the charts is correct while the price of Bitcoin continues to drop. It’s a vicious cycle: The more Bitcoin plummets, the more fervent and delirious people get. Here’s the title of a Reddit post from Thursday morning:

Bitcoin 'Death Cross', Sniperstube remains hopeful that this is a Bear Trap and that the RSI is oversold hinting a bottom soon which will confirm the double-bottom correction which will put an end to the correction.

What does this even mean? Honestly, I don’t think it matters a whole lot. And neither, really, does the whole endeavor of obsessively tracking the price of Bitcoin if you value your sanity.