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The Four Seasons of Crypto: Where Are We Post-Halving?

May. 30, 2024. 8 min. read. Interactions

Werner V. examines the cyclicality of crypto markets post-halving, analyzing investor sentiments and potential market trends in a concise and insightful analysis.

Credit: Tesfu Assefa

We’re in the fifth month of 2024 and meme–infected crypto bros are crying out to sell in May and go away. Yes, it’s clear that the crypto market is in a bit of limbo following the thrilling rally that started with the announcement of BlackRock’s spot Bitcoin ETF application last year and peaked during the recent fourth Bitcoin halving event in April. 

This has led many experts and influencers to dust off the old ‘Crypto Seasons’ theory to explain why a drop in market prices right now is to be expected and all part of the plan. 

The theory is based on historical data that shows crypto price cycles moving in a specific pattern that resembles four periods or seasons. These seasons are not tied to specific months and days, but rather to the sentiments of crypto investors. Will it be the case again this year? 

Understanding the four Seasons of Crypto

If you’ve been in crypto long enough, you’ll know that all things start and end with Bitcoin, and even more so its cyclical halving updates, which reduce mining rewards by 50% every four years to rein in coin emissions. Based on previous data, it’s fair to consider each Bitcoin Halving to fall in the first season, Crypto Spring. 

Conversely, Bitcoin has been notorious for the disastrous crashes it’s had in its 15 year history, such as the 2018 and 2022 bear market lows and this Crypto Winter period normally indicates the end of a cycle. 

Spring

Crypto spring is a period of stability and gradual growth, characterized by a recovery from the previous winter’s lows and a rebuilding of investor confidence. In the past, crypto springs have seen varying degrees of growth, with the spring of 2013 maintaining a stable market capitalization around $2.5 billion USD, while the spring of 2020 grew from $180 billion USD to over $500 billion USD.

Now in the crypto spring of 2024, the market is likely to experience a similar period of stability and gradual growth, driven by the recent Bitcoin halving and the anticipation of a potential bull run in the coming months.

Summer

Crypto summer is marked by a significant surge in market capitalization, accompanied by bullish sentiment and rising prices. Historical examples include the summer of 2017, where the market capitalization skyrocketed from $90 billion USD to over $650 billion USD, fueled by new projects and ICOs.

Looking ahead to the potential crypto summer of 2024, the market may experience a similar surge, driven by increased institutional adoption, the development of new blockchain technologies, and the growing mainstream acceptance of cryptocurrencies.

Autumn

Crypto autumn is characterized by a peak in market capitalization followed by initial signs of weakness, as investors start to take profits and volatility increases. In the fall of 2013, the market capitalization reached its peak of $15 billion USD, while in the fall of 2021, it reached an all-time high of over $2.5 trillion USD before its downturn.

As the crypto market progresses through the spring and summer of 2024, investors should remain vigilant for signs of a potential peak and the onset of crypto fall.

Winter

Winter is the harshest season, marked by a sharp decline in market capitalization, bear attacks, and falling prices. Past crypto winters, such as 2014-2015, 2018, and 2022 have been brutal as market faith quickly erodes after market capitalization crashes down, with the latter witnessing a drop from over $800 billion USD to approximately $100 billion USD.

While the severity and duration of the next crypto winter remain uncertain, investors should be prepared for the possibility of a market downturn following the potential peaks of the 2024-2025 crypto summer and autumn.

Credit: Tesfu Assefa

Previous Crypto Cycles

First Cycle (2010-2012)

  • Spring: Early adoption and gradual growth
  • Summer: First major bull run, driven by early adopters and Bitcoin gaining traction
  • Autumn: Peak in prices, followed by the first significant correction
  • Winter: Extended bear market, with prices stabilizing at a lower level

Second Cycle (2012-2014)

  • Spring: Recovery from the previous winter, with the first Bitcoin halving in November 2012
  • Summer: Gradual increase in prices and mainstream media attention
  • Autumn: Peak in prices, followed by the collapse of Mt Gox exchange
  • Winter: Prolonged bear market, with prices declining throughout 2014

Third Cycle (2014-2016)

  • Spring: Slow recovery from the previous winter, with the second Bitcoin halving in July 2016
  • Summer: Gradual increase in prices and growing interest in Ethereum and ICOs
  • Autumn: Ethereum-driven bull run, with Bitcoin prices reaching new highs
  • Winter: Short-lived correction, with prices remaining relatively stable

Fourth Cycle (2016-2018)

  • Spring: Continued growth and mainstream adoption, with Bitcoin prices surging
  • Summer: Exponential growth, driven by the ICO boom and retail investor FOMO
  • Autumn: Peak in prices, followed by a significant correction and the bursting of the ICO bubble
  • Winter: Prolonged bear market, with prices declining throughout 2018

Fifth Cycle (2018-2021)

  • Spring: Recovery from the previous winter, with the third Bitcoin halving in May 2020
  • Summer: Rapid growth, driven by institutional adoption and the emergence of DeFi and NFTs
  • Autumn: Peak in prices, with Bitcoin reaching an all-time high of $69,000 in November 2021
  • Winter: Correction and consolidation, with prices stabilizing at a higher level compared to the previous cycle

Sixth Cycle (2021-2024)

  • Spring : Gradual recovery and increased mainstream acceptance, with the fourth Bitcoin halving in April 2024
  • Summer: (Projected) Potential bull run driven by institutional adoption and technological advancements
  • Autumn: (Projected) Possible peak in prices, followed by a correction
  • Winter: (Projected) Potential bear market, with prices consolidating before the next cycle begins

Key Factors Influencing Crypto Seasons

Several factors influence the progression of crypto seasons, including:

  1. Bitcoin halving cycles: Reduce the supply of new Bitcoin, potentially driving up prices and marking the beginning of new market cycles.
  2. Global economic conditions: Inflation, interest rates, and market sentiment can impact the demand for cryptocurrencies as alternative investments.
  3. Regulatory developments: governments and financial institutions accept or reject crypto-related products and services; this can affect market stability and growth.
  4. Adoption and innovation: Emergence of new technologies like DeFi , AI cryptocurrencies, memecoins, DePin and NFTs can contribute to market excitement and attract new investors.

2024 Bitcoin Halving and the Current Crypto Cycle

The recent Bitcoin halving in April 2024 has set the stage for the beginning of a new crypto market cycle, coinciding with the spring season. The halving event, which reduces the amount of new Bitcoin entering circulation by 50%, has historically led to supply shocks and driven up prices.

Post-halving, the market usually goes sideways for a few months as investors lose interest, the US tax season rolls into town, and companies take their summer holidays till as late as September. This gives enough time for a real supply shock to set in, as mining rewards now yield only 450 Bitcoin a day instead of the previous 900. 

We are likely to experience a surge in interest and investment later this year, as the reduced supply of new Bitcoin and increased demand contribute to a bullish sentiment and rising prices. Add US elections and interest rate cuts, and the stage is set for a hot crypto summer, driven by significant growth and mainstream adoption.

However, investors should remain cautious and prepared for potential volatility. The crypto market continues to mature and face new challenges, such as regulatory threats (especially from the SEC), high interest rates and fears of a recession. 

How long will this crypto season last? 

At present, retail investment is still very low compared to previous seasons. Some experts like Raoul Pal believe that the Bitcoin Spot ETF has caused us to front-run the bull run for the first time before the halving (historically Bitcoin had never previously seen a new all-time high price prior to a halving) and therefore all cards are off the table. Others believe we’re about to see a “supercycle” bull season again, and Arthur Hayes, a mega bull, thinks we’ll see a $750,000 Bitcoin in 2026 and then enter a crazy recession. In short, nobody knows. 

Let’s look at crypto indicators such as the Crypto Fear and Greed Index and Stochastic RSI, which reflects buying and selling levels. Anything under 20 could represent a good time to accumulate assets, while a score of over 80 should start to send alarm bells off in your head that we’re nearing a top. Some traders try to ‘ladder’ in and out by dollar cost averaging (DCA), selling periodically. 

Stochastic RSI combines the Stochastic and RSI indicators to forecast trade’s entry and exit points (Credit: Kucoin Learn)
The fear and greed index for crypto is scored from 0 – 100. 0 indicates extreme fear and 100 indicates extreme greed. (Credit: Look into Bitcoin)

How to Navigate The Current Crypto Season

Based on our Crypto Seasons theory, we’re now likely in the spring phase and on the cusp of summer. Crypto investors are being advised to:

  1. Stay informed about market trends and adapt strategies accordingly
  2. Consider accumulating assets during the spring season, while exercising caution and managing risk
  3. Be prepared to take profits and rebalance portfolios during summer and autumn
  4. Conduct thorough research and due diligence on new projects and emerging technologies
  5. Employ risk management techniques, such as diversification and stop-losses, to navigate potential market volatility

Conclusion

It’s important to note that while crypto history never repeats, it rhymes in a big way every time and this year will likely not be different. 

Understanding how crypto cycles work and how to identify unique characteristics of each crypto season and the factors that influence them will help investors make more informed decisions

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About the writer

Werner

40.04502 MPXR

Werner Vermaak, who is based in Cape Town, South Africa, has been a crypto editor and writer since 2017. He previously lived in Asia for 15 years and is passionate about the power of Web3.

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