Crypto surges: Is now the time to buy Bitcoin and Ethereum?

Could bearish near-term catalysts portend well for the medium-term?

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This article was originally published on Fool.com. All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

What happened

The incredibly unpredictable price action seen in the cryptocurrency sector is once again in full focus today. In aggregate, the crypto market has moved meaningfully in tandem today, with the overall market rising a little more than 1.5% over the past 24 hours, as of 1:45 p.m. ET. 

That said, megacap tokens Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC), Ethereum (CRYPTO: ETH), and Cronos (CRYPTO: CRO) remain in focus for most investors, given the size and importance of these key blockchain projects. As of 1:45 p.m. ET, these three tokens surged 1.8%, 2.8%, and 4.4%, respectively, over the past 24 hours.

Interestingly, Bitcoin's move (which was the smallest of the three) follows an 85-minute window on Monday in which no blocks were produced. A difficulty adjustment appears to be tied to this issue, which raised eyebrows in the crypto world.

Other top tokens like Ethereum and Cronos have their own individual catalysts and headwinds. This week, it was announced that XRP is beginning to test a side chain compatible with Ethereum smart contracts. And Cronos has been benefiting from recent gaming-related updates, which have investors intrigued in this blockchain project's growth potential.

That said, the potential for further interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve continue to provide headwinds for all risk assets. This makes the price action in these top tokens even more difficult to understand. 

So what

There's some very wonky thinking that appears to be taking hold in the markets right now. Given last week's hotter-than-expected CPI and PPI prints, most investors initially took the view that this would lead to more rate hikes, which are bad for risk assets. Cryptos, equities, and bonds sold off immediately on the news.

However, the past few days have seen some bullish momentum return, as some appear to be taking the view that more rate hikes in the near term could lead to a recession in the medium term. Such a recession could result in lower interest rates sooner than expected.

This second-derivative sentiment appears to be at play once again today, with the majority of near-term catalysts appearing to represent net negatives for cryptos still.

Now what

The difficulty of forecasting monetary policy decisions remains extremely high, and with most experts failing to see the inflation we're now battling, one could argue that any sort of forward-looking forecast is likely to be incorrect. Such is the nature of forecasts.      

That said, the idea that we could be due for lower interest rates in the medium term, as the Federal Reserve breaks something, is one that's starting to gather steam. For risk assets such as cryptos, a return of cheap(er) capital to the system could be the catalyst to drive valuations another leg higher. We'll have to see what happens in the months and quarters to come, but suffice it to say, there's plenty for investors to digest right now.  

This article was originally published on Fool.com. All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

Chris MacDonald has positions in Ethereum. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Bitcoin and Ethereum. The Motley Fool Australia owns and has recommended Bitcoin and Ethereum. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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