Is the crypto bear market over? Here's what to watch.

Is the crypto bear market over? Here’s what to watch.

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Bitcoin and ether are on track to record their best month since last October, prompting some investors to ask if the crypto bear market is over.

The No.1 cryptocurrency

on Friday reached a high of $24,412, the loftiest level since June 13, according to CoinDesk data. Bitcoin went up more than 19% so far this month, while Ether

surged over 50%.

Still, bitcoin and ether are trading 65% down from their peaks last year, respectively.

Despite the recent gains, “market data continues to show that traders are conservatively positioned,” analysts at NYDIG wrote in a Friday note. 

Open interest in bitcoin futures and options, which measures the total outstanding derivative contracts, stands up off the recent lows but remains well below record highs, the NYDIG analysts noted. Perpetual swap funding rates also remain mostly neutral, according to data from Coinglass. A positive funding rate is usually seen as bullish, as investors are willing to pay in the long position, while a negative funding rate is usually a bearish sign.

“The fact that funding rates are still low on an absolute basis indicates a lack of desire for traders to take directional bets, though they do appear to be trending higher,” the analysts wrote.

From the technical perspective, it’s important to watch if, by the end of this week, bitcoin could trade above its 200-week moving average, which currently sits at $22,800, noted Will Clemente, analyst at Blockware Solutions. 

Hear from Mike Novogratz at the Best New Ideas in Money Festival on Sept. 21 and Sept. 22 in New York. The Galaxy Digital CEO has ideas about navigating the crypto winter.

Overall, the macroeconomic environment still plays the most important role, analysts noted. “Not surprisingly, this entire year will be dominated by the Fed and what they’re going to do,” said Ben McMillan, founder and chief investment officer at IDX Digital Assets.

The stock and crypto market rallied this week after the Fed Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate by 75 basis points, and Fed chair Jerome Powell said that while another rate hike of the same scale in September was possible, the decision would depend on forthcoming economic data. Some traders saw prospects for the Fed to slow the pace of rate increases, while others believe such expectations might be premature.

Read: Stock market’s post-Fed bounce is a ‘trap,’ warns Morgan Stanley’s Mike Wilson

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