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Santiment Analysis: Why are LINK and BAT successfully decoupling from Bitcoin?

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Whenever Bitcoin crashes, the rest of the market goes down with it. For better or worse, this is still how crypto works in 2019. That is why it’s particularly intriguing whenever an outlier or two manage to buck the trend, and effectively defy BTC’s massive gravitational pull.

Last Wednesday – as Bitcoin lost 6.4%, dropping all the way to $7515 in a matter of hours – there were two notable exceptions to the market-wide downswing: 

1. LINK, which actually recorded an ATH against ETH on the same day, and 

2. BAT, which did feel a slight tremor around BTC’s drop, but bounced back almost immediately:

BTC, LINK and BAT’s 1-week price action (Source: Sanbase)

This is not the first time that either LINK or BAT reliably decoupled from Bitcoin’s PA, which  often seems to come as little surprise to both projects’ devoted fanbase:

There’s a number of possible culprits behind BAT and LINK’s recent self-sustenance: high liquidity, strong speculator confidence, frequent project announcements and high-profile partnerships, active markets against both BTC and USDT etc.

But what about on-chain factors? Are there any network-specific indicators that might explain – or at the very least contribute – to their ‘anti-BTC’ price rallies? 

In this post, we’ll look at 3 distinct on-chain patterns for LINK and BAT that I’ve been paying attention to in Sangraphs, Santiment’s platform for on-chain and social analytics:

Decline in 90d active coins

In his recent post about Ethereum’s on-chain activity, dindustries, one of our community members, made a compelling case for an inverse relationship between the % of active ETH and the coin’s price action over time:

“This significance that I am pointing out is simple, it’s the law of supply and demand, or in this case activity and demand. It’s clear to see that from 9 months prior to today, tokens active during the past year have been decreasing steadily. The rough figure, since December, 2018 is around 7,124,900 less active ETH. At current value, this is equivalent to ~$1.23B worth of ETH standing still. But equally as clear too is the rise in price during the past 9 months.”

ETH’s 1-year and 90-days ‘% of active coins’ (source: Dindustries’ post)

Sangraphs give a clean breakdown of the % of active coins across different time frames (90d, 1y, 3y). In my experience, the 90-day activity window in particular has been proving quite interesting lately. 

For example, one of the top-performing coins overall 2 weeks ago, ZRX, gained over 13% at a time when most of the crypto market was still decidedly treading water. 

As it happens, 0x’s native token follows a very similar pattern to the one proposed by dindus in his ETH analysis: as the 90d active supply diminishes, the drop coincides squarely with the asset’s ongoing price appreciation:

% of active ZRX over past 90 days (Source: Sangraphs)

Now, it’s clear that the observed drop is at least partly due to previously active tokens aging out of their designated time band. That said, a move is a move is a move, and as dindus mentions, “whether this happens drastically or slowly helps the analysts to determine, to some degree, the magnitude of importance.”

So given another strong showing by LINK and BAT in the face of rising adversity, let’s see if there are any notable trends we can gauge from their own 90-day active coin charts:

% of active LINK over past 90 days (Source: Sangraphs)
% of active BAT over past 90 days (Source: Sangraphs)

Once again, the pattern holds true – as the amount of active coins over the past 90 days drops, the price of both coins charts an upward trajectory.

The mere fact that the coin’s short-term supply trends impact its price action shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Still, as the pattern so far appears to hold true for both ETH and at least three of the top-performing coins of the past few weeks, the ‘90d active coin’ trend lines could be an interesting supplementary indicator if you’re attempting to analyze an asset’s potential BTC resilience.

Exchange Flows and Whale Activity

Another notable on-chain trend shared by LINK and BAT is their respective availability/supply across exchange wallets. Sangraphs tracks this activity with 2 metrics: 

1. Token Supply on Exchanges, which shows the cumulative amount of a selected token in more than 250 exchange wallets, and 

2. % of Token Supply on Exchanges, which calculates the share of the coin’s total circulating supply on exchanges

I wrote in the past about the seemingly inverse correlation between % of token supply on exchanges and its PA. As this share drops, the price can sometimes follow in the opposite direction (and vice versa); among other reasons, possibly due to a waning sell pressure and tempered resistance from the speculative crowd. 

There are various on-chain clues to support this theory when analyzing LINK and BAT’s exchange-related trends for the past 6 months. 

For one, LINK’s withdrawal addresses have had a very active summer: the coin’s exchange holdings declined from 117M at the end of July to just above 91 million today – a 22.2% drop:

Supply of LINK on exchanges over the past 6 months (Source: Sangraphs)

In a similar vein, BAT holders have also been taking their coins out of the speculation pool for a long minute; the asset’s on-exchange supply dropped from 308.8M in June to 262.8M today, marking a 14.8% downswing:

Supply of BAT on exchanges over the past 6 months (Source: Sangraphs)

As the charts suggest, both coins’ shrinking supplies across the centralized exchange ecosystem seems to have had a favourable effect on their mid-term price action, eventually culminating in comparatively impressive October returns. 

Which leads me to a third and final shared trait between these two outlier coins – ongoing whale accumulation. 

While the exchanges continued to slowly hemorrhage BAT and LINK throughout q2 and q3, whales proved unreservedly loyal to both projects, while also adding indiscriminately to their bags. We can see this clearly in Sangraphs’ Holder Distribution charts for LINK and BAT:

Cumulative balance of addresses holding 1-10M LINK, last 6 months (Source: Sangraphs)

Since LINK’s ATH on June 30th, the cumulative balance of addresses holding between 1M – 10M LINK grew by 36.2M (~$102.8M at the time of writing)  – a 65% increase. 

There is a visibly opposite trend in addresses holding more than 10M LINK, which stands to reason if  we assume that many of them are likely exchange wallets. Since the ATH, this holder category has shrunk by 35M LINK, which also corresponds to the aforementioned decline in the % of LINK on centralized exchanges:

Cumulative balance of addresses holding 10M+ LINK, last 6 months (Source: Sangraphs)

Pretty much the exact same pattern repeats with BAT’s major holders: in the past 3 months, the combined balance of all addresses holding between 10M – 100M BAT has grown by 65.3M BAT (~$16.3M at the time of writing), which marks a 22.4% increase:

Cumulative balance of addresses holding 1-10M BAT, last 6 months (Source: Sangraphs)

On the other hand, the ‘mega whales’ category (again, presumably dominated by exchange wallets), had shrunk by about 7% since July, corresponding with BAT’s decreasing supply chart on exchanges:

Cumulative balance of addresses holding 10M+ BAT, last 6 months (Source: Sangraphs)

Like I said, there are many possible reasons for LINK and BAT’s recent decoupling from Bitcoin’s price action. While obviously not the sole culprit, these metrics are great in providing added context into both the short and long-term network activity of these outlier coins – or, really, any coin you’re privy to.

You can find all of the above metrics and charts – as well as many others – on santiment.net/sangraphs.

About Santiment

Santiment is a market intelligence platform that adds context to crypto. They provide clean data and tools for market research, behavior analysis, trading and risk management, and coin/project due diligence. 

The project collects on-chain, social media, pricing and development information on 800+ coins and their networks, and uses this data to create custom tools, metrics and unique market insights.

You can find them on:

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Check out their website for custom charts, low-latency signals, insights and much more.

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