Bitcoin Decoupled From Stocks in Q1 as Institutional Demand Strengthened: CoinDesk Research

Institutions haven’t just pushed bitcoin (BTC) prices toward the moon during the past two quarters; they seem to have helped the cryptocurrency decouple from traditional markets like the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of U.S. stocks.

“The 90-day correlations between BTC and both gold and stocks (represented by the S&P 500) reverted to a more typical range of 0.0-0.2 during Q1, most likely as a result of the growing clarity around its value proposition relative to more traditional assets,” CoinDesk’s research analysts noted in their first quarter review.

In simple words, analysts mean that the accumulation of bitcoin during the first quarter by major public-listed firms such as Tesla, the electric vehicle maker led by billionaire Elon Musk, validated the long-held belief in digital-asset markets that the cryptocurrency could serve as a reserve asset or a digital alternative to gold.

That likely offered investors clarity on bitcoin’s use case or value proposition relative to traditional markets and weakened the cryptocurrency’s mild positive correlation with stocks and gold.

Bitcoin Decoupled From Stocks in Q1 as Institutional Demand Strengthened: CoinDesk Research
Bitcoin's correlations with S&P 500, gold and U.S. dollar
Source: CoinDesk Research

The correlation between bitcoin and the S&P 500 was higher for most of 2020 – a sign that many investors viewed the cryptocurrency as just another risky asset class like stocks. Back then, gold, a proven haven asset, also moved in line with equities.

While the cryptocurrency is no longer tracking stocks and gold so closely, its inverse correlation with the U.S. dollar remains intact, meaning a continued rally in the greenback (versus foreign-exchange counterparts like the euro, yen and British pound) may slow down bitcoin’s rally.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback’s value against major fiat currencies, clocked a four-month high of 93.44 on March 31. Analysts recently told Forbes that the U.S. dollar is likely to lose ground this year as the global economy continues to recover from the coronavirus-induced recession.

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