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I’d like to preface this post by mentioning that this, unlike the vast majority of blog posts I publish, is expressly aimed at newer speculators, with little to no familiarity with markets.
The price paid for any asset is the single most important aspect of speculation, and one that largely determines the profitability of said speculation.
This idea is drummed into our heads by the most successful traders, investors and speculators of all time; and justifiably so.
Whilst investors like Warren Buffett refuse to acknowledge the long-term utility of technical analysis, relying solely on fundamentals in their decision-making process, they all – going all the way back to Benjamin Graham – make the concession that price is paramount. Price is both fundamental and technical in its nature, with all technical analysis deriving from two data-points: price and volume.
For the purposes of this post, we will be focusing on price, as it is the most critical component to your decision-making process.
Now, the problem with a sole reliance on fundamental analysis is that it often disregards the price-history of an asset. Whilst there are many valuation models in equity research that allow for a relative measure of cheapness to be determined, this is not the case with cryptocurrencies, at present.
In this space, we rely heavily on past prices for an indication as to the relative value of current prices. This is because fundamental analysis is very much in its infancy within the cryptosphere, and those valuation models do not yet exist, thus technical analysis is critical to prevent from overpaying for any given altcoin; an act that renders profitability highly unlikely.
A project might be impeccable in its fundamental quality, comprising of an engaged and growing community, consistent development, a working product and unique use-cases; but if you enter a position in that project at or near all-time highs, there is a strong chance that you spend a long time underwater or even realise a loss. Indeed, gravity is far greater a force within this particular asset class, and no amount of structural soundness will prevent the eventual (and cyclical) collapse.
As such, a study of price-history is indispensable when considering an entry for a new position. In fact, if you do nothing else in your research except study price-history, you will likely be doing enough to find some degree of success.
Now, this is all exceptionally simple; intuitive, one might argue. And so, I’ll refrain from rambling on any more. Rather, I believe it will prove useful to provide some examples of this concept of relative cheapness, if only to illustrate its simplicity.
First, consider all that has been said thus far. All we are looking for are periods of cheapness and dearness across price-history – in essence, we are reframing the concepts of support and resistance and simplifying them.
Below are printed the before-and-after charts of several coins. These are just a sample of the dozens and dozens of examples that are available in the market:
Dogecoin is perhaps the best possible example to illustrate this concept, as it has experienced numerous market cycles in its price-history. Looking at this first chart, intuitively, which prices look as though they are cheap and which look expensive?
Here, I have depicted my thoughts on this, where there is a price range of extreme cheapness, which has only been traded 4 times; a price range of cheapness, which has been traded 8 times; and a range of expensiveness, which has been traded 6 times.
Those that have bought within the extremely cheap range have been rewarded every single time with a possibility to sell within the expensive range. Those that have bought in the cheap range have been rewarded 5 out of 7 times with the same opportunity (excluding the current, 8th touch of this range) without experiencing price trade inside this range a second time prior to reaching the expensive range. To clarify this, look at the 2nd and 6th periods of price trading inside the cheap range: subsequent price-action took price up and out of the range but fell short of the expensive range, moving back inside cheap before making another (this time successful) run at expensive.
In all of Dogecoin’s price-history, buyers below 50 satoshis have been rewarded with an opportunity to sell above 100 satoshis, no matter when they decided to buy below this point.
Now, above is printed a STEEM chart, but I have excluded the first few months of price-history simply because it was an anomaly that massively distorts the chart. This is often the case when coins first begin trading, as circulating supplies are extremely low, drastically affecting early pricing.
Where, on this chart, would you consider price to be cheap and where is it expensive?
Clearly, there is one price-range that indicates relative cheapness across STEEM’s price-history. This range has been traded inside on 3 separate occasions. Each entry within this range has been reward with an opportunity to sell inside the expensive range except the most recent one, from which price is only just exiting. If we look between the 2nd and 3rd entries into the expensive range, we can see a failure for price to return to cheap, and thus bargain hunters would have missed this opportunity; a risk always present for those who adhere to the approach of buying at the very extremes of relative cheapness.
BCN is an interesting case, as it spent a long time in a relatively tight price-range before experiencing several cycles in quick succession. Where would you consider price to be cheap for BCN, and where is it expensive?
Now, whilst this entire exercise is largely subjective and open to interpretation, BCN in particular is a trickier case. Whilst I doubt anyone would argue against there being a cheap range below 20 satoshis, I have marked out the area above it (between 30-40 satoshis) as relatively expensive rather than, say, less cheap or relatively cheap. That is because this range between 30-40 satoshis has only acted as a catalyst for a move towards the expensive and extremely expensive ranges once without price also moving into the cheap range. It has also acted as a range from which price has actually declined back into cheap without moving any further up on two occasions.
You might feel that this is actually still a relatively cheap range, and that is your call to make. For me, there is only one range that I’d be buying, and that is below 20 satoshis. Now, every single time price has traded within this range, it has been followed by at least a move up to 40 satoshis, with the more common pattern being a move up towards the expensive and extremely expensive ranges.
Price is currently trading inside the cheap range for the 5th time in BCN’s price-history.
Siacoin has a beautiful price-history, with very clear areas of relative cheapness and dearness. Looking at the above chart, where would you expect these to be?
Clearly, the range below 50 satoshis is extremely cheap; this range has only been traded within on 2 separate occasions. There is, however, a more recent cheap range that has formed just above it since around November 2017. Why is this range relatively cheap? Because it – like the extremely cheap range – acted as a catalyst for extremely expensive prices.
We have three gradations of dearness depicted, also. There is a relatively expensive range that has been hit 4 times in price-history; 3 of which have occurred after price has traded inside the cheap or extremely cheap ranges.
That concludes the examples, but I would advise you to go and seek out your own examples. The more you study and observe the entire price-histories of altcoins, the more you’ll spot periods of relative cheapness that can be capitalised on. Don’t make things difficult for yourself by seeking out opportunities in altcoins with obscure and clumsy charts; it is unneccesary when there are thousands of coins out there.
I hope this post has provided some insight for less experienced speculators.
As ever, feel free to leave a comment or question below and I’ll get back to you!