The two largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, Bitcoin and Ethereum, are slowing down after weeks of trending to the upside. The market seems on the verge of a major move as prices consolidate and move sideways, but what can operate as a catalyzed?

As of this writing, Bitcoin trades at $28,000 with a minor loss over the past seven days. In this timeframe, Ethereum continues to lead the market with a 4% gain. Only Dogecoin (DOGE), the king of meme coins, retains bullish momentum with an 18% profit.


Ethereum Upgrades, Bitcoin Stall, And Macro Factors Gain Relevance

Per data from crypto analysis firm Blofin, Ethereum has been and will continue outperforming Bitcoin in the short term. The second crypto by market cap is on the verge of implementing a major upgrade, Shapella, on April 12.

This update represents the most important for ETH since “The Merge” and marks Ethereum’s full migration into a proof-of-stake protocol. The upgrade will allow ETH users to un-stake their assets from the “Beacon Chain.”

This event has triggered a lot of speculation in the market about the potential impact on ETH’s price. However, Blofin noted that investors’ expectations, as measured by a flat Implied Volatility (IV) in the options market, “remain relatively stable” ahead of Shapella. The firm pointed out:

Despite the lackluster performance of the crypto market, investor expectations remain relatively stable. IVs remain flat and slightly declining, while skewness indicates investors’ relative bullishness towards the mid-to-long-term performance of mainstream cryptos.

In the options sector, the firm recorded a minor uptick in the number of traders purchasing call (buy/long) contracts ahead of the event, but the sentiment is decisively neutral. Blofin believes traders are on the expectation of “more new data to make decisions.”

The Shapella upgrade and macroeconomic factors have triggered uncertainty in the market. These variables could usher changes in the crypto sector.

In 2023, Bitcoin and Ethereum broke out of their correlation with the traditional market. Following a year of trading in tandem, the cryptocurrencies climbed from massive losses and regained previously lost territory.

The correlation with equities, namely the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100, could return as the macroeconomic landscape takes a turn for a recession. Data published by the U.S. today, according to Blofin, hints that this scenario is becoming more likely.

While the short term is uncertain and could see BTC and ETH display more weakness, the mid and long-term are skew towards the long side, Blofin said:

Recession trading appears to be one of the reasons for the recent weakness in BTC prices. The latest employment and trade data showed that the possibility of a recession has increased, leading investors to favor gold and T-notes.