Bitcoin (BTC) faced a challenging third quarter, posting a loss of 11.1%, placing it just above long-term treasuries, which experienced a -11.9% loss during the same period.
The weak performance has puzzled both crypto analysts and investors, given the favorable fundamental developments that have been seen in the crypto space during this time.
Writing in a research note published last week, Greg Cipolaro, Global Head of Research at the Bitcoin-focused financial services firm NYDIG, highlighted Bitcoin’s lackluster performance despite several factors that could have driven its price higher.
These factors include favorable court cases such as Grayscale’s win over the SEC, macroeconomic changes related to a possible peak in interest rates, debates over government funding, discussions about U.S. debt, and ongoing efforts to secure approval for a spot Bitcoin ETF.
Despite these developments, Bitcoin remained stuck in its current range, which Cipolaro said has an upper ceiling around the $31,000 mark.
It’s worth noting that Bitcoin wasn’t the only asset to experience losses in Q3. Most asset classes, including gold, the U.S. stock market, and real estate, saw significant percentage drops.
Cipolaro indicated that this could be blamed on persistently high inflation, rising interest rates, recession concerns, and seasonality, while noting that the fourth quarter historically has been a strong quarter for Bitcoin.
Only four assets, including commodities and cash, saw gains in the quarter.
Meanwhile, economist Peter St. Onge, associated with the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation, told crypto news outlet Decrypt on Monday that Bitcoin’s underperformance might be attributed to a momentary pause in rising prices, driven by the perception of more controlled inflation.
However, he noted that this trend could change due to recent events in Israel, which often impact financial assets, causing hard assets to strengthen and risk assets to decline.
Despite its challenging third quarter, Bitcoin has demonstrated robust performance throughout 2023, gaining 65% year-to-date, outpacing most other assets.