When is the Next Crypto Bull Run? (Based on Previous Market Cycles)

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By Max
Estimated reading: 11mins

Are you ready for the next crypto bull run? If you’re waiting for price breakouts to buy, you’re probably late. At least when it comes to the best entry opportunities.

In a crypto bull run, it’s not whether your coins make profits or not, but whether you do first or last. If you’re not early, you may be late. And if you’re last, you also risk being late to get out.

But even if you want to never sell, would you rather buy at the top or before the bull run begins? This post will help you understand when it will happen to get in early, and if you already are, when to double down.

Quick Takes

  • There’s always another crypto bull run coming, and the longer the bear market, the more likely. Despite volatility and uncertainty, this market follows somewhat predictable long-term cycles.
  • Even though there are factors outside crypto that affect its markets, the Bitcoin halving cycle is still the most important one. Cryptocurrency prices increase before and after this event, followed by a bear and sideways trend.
  • Contrary to popular belief, cryptocurrencies are not a hedge for the stock market or the dollar. Quite the contrary. Unlike gold, Bitcoin and Ethereum have a positive correlation with the S&P 500 and NDX.

When Is the Next Crypto Bull Run?

Wherever the market is right now, there’s always some kind of rally every few weeks. All these spikes could mean the start of a bull run (or its continuation). You can use technical and fundamental analysis to better understand the chances, but until we see one week or more of price action, it could mean anything.

On a macro view, bull runs are more likely to start in anticipation of big events. It could be the Bitcoin cycle, the next Ethereum fork, the most bullish month historically (April, November…), or a streak of positive news (loosened regulations, countries adopting Bitcoin, or payment companies accepting crypto).

So the answer is complex and elusive. Many variables can speed up or delay the bull run start, and if there were a clear date that everybody knew, that awareness would also influence it.

With that said, the simplified answer is: about every four years. The Bitcoin cycles start the bull run, and it continues until either the market “overheats” or gets a streak of bad news. A bull run doesn’t mean that prices won’t move sideways most of the time, but compared by year, you could say markets go up for three and down for one.

What Are The Crypto Market Cycles?

There’s a lot of complexity when you’re trying to predict Bitcoin. Sometimes it seems arbitrary and incoherent with the markets’ sentiment, and you may not know what caused the price breakout even weeks after the fact. But if you take a step back and watch the overall history, there are repeating patterns to help you time the market. 

Or at least understand what you should be doing next.

Crypto Market Cycles

The first “pattern” is the Bitcoin halving. BTC reduces its supply and rewards about every four years, and traders prepare for it both before and afterward. And because Bitcoin dominates the markets and most tokens are correlated to it, the halving affects the entire crypto market.

This leads us to a second “pattern,” which is the flow of liquidity from top to bottom. Essentially whenever Bitcoin breaks the price trend (e.g. from $20K to $30K in one week), if it maintains the new one, the rest of the market will eventually follow it. Depending on the market size of the cryptocurrency, the delay time will be different.

Hypothetically if Bitcoin doubles and keeps that price, Ethereum and major coins will follow instantly. After a 3-7 day lag, all within the Top 25 by market cap do, and eventually, also smaller niche tokens from most practical to most speculative. Trading these tokens is essentially trading Bitcoin on leverage, as they magnify whatever Bitcoin does.

One reason for this is that traders reinvest profits on coins that haven’t pumped yet as long as the bull run continues.

By this point, Bitcoin loses some of its volume and soon its price. With similar delays, most coins follow it. The difference is that a 25% loss for Bitcoin could mean 50% for the top 25 and ~95% for coins outside the Top 100.

Those who invested in high-risk-reward coins now have to protect themselves from volatility. So they either exit or swap for Bitcoin and Ethereum. If this recovers the BTC price, the cycle repeats.

The simplified sequence is: Bitcoin/Ethereum, Top 25 altcoins, Top 100, micro-cap utility tokens, and speculative coins/NFTs.

But there’s another layer above Bitcoin.

The Stock Market and Crypto

Over the years, we’ve learned that Bitcoin and the traditional market aren’t so different. We like to think of the crypto king as a store of value or gold equivalent, but history shows the opposite. Bitcoin and Ethereum share ~0.5 correlation with the S&P 500 and NDX, especially in:

  • March 10th, 2020. The pandemic
  • February 24th, 2022. The Russo-Ukrainian War
  • March 10th, 2023. Shut down of Silvergate Capital and bank run at Silicon Valley Bank (SVB)

By contrast, gold has negative correlation values— goes up when stocks go down. Bitcoin doesn’t. If you’re using crypto to hedge against stocks, it’s like hitting the accelerator before running into a wall.

And because the stock market is much larger than crypto, whatever happens to the indexes will likely reflect on Bitcoin. You can use this direct relationship to anticipate certain movements.

Interest Rates and Stock Market

For example, the stock market has shown an inverse relationship with interest rates. High rates tend to discourage spending, reduce revenue, and therefore stocks. It also makes bonds preferable over stocks.

Central banks could also print more money and reduce interest rates (also called quantitative easing). The inflation that this causes can devalue debt and temporarily stimulate the economy.

Whether governments prioritize reducing debt or preserving currency value, the rate adjustment can affect both stocks and crypto. 

This macrocycle can take several decades since the debt accumulates until the money printing brings interest rates to 0%, followed by deleveraging.

Other Crypto Variables

If you invest based on all expected cycles, sooner or later you’ll lose money. Even though the odds should be in your favor long term, these models are still changing. Recently, for example, the designer of the Bitcoin Rainbow chart (halving cycle related) had to create a v2 because the v1 formula was no longer accurate after 2022.

Also, how long has crypto been around to be compared with traditional cycles, some of which take 50 to 100 years? Have we seen anything close to 2008 in the time Bitcoin has been around? Has crypto ever faced a real bear market?

Past performance isn’t indicative of future results. You need more context. Here are some relevant factors in no particular order:

  • Fundamental/ technology changes. Regardless of the market, whenever cryptocurrencies improve their technology, their economic value increases. This is relative to product-market fit but still affects both the short-term reaction and long-term valuation. Recent examples of this are the Bitcoin Taproot upgrade or the Ethereum Merge.
  • Stablecoin wars. While there’s a clear market leader (Bitcoin), it’s not so simple with dollar stablecoins. Stablecoins are usually 90% of the entire market’s daily volume, which helps crypto markets stay liquid and somewhat stable. It doesn’t help that the largest stablecoin is also the least trustworthy of the competition, and regulators have managed to shut down another few.
  • DeFi developments. Decentralized finance can change the way people value cryptocurrency. When you have full control and endless ways to extract value with your tokens, you remove the pressure to sell, if ever. This market could have very different prices and behavior.
  • Price discovery. As late as it feels sometimes, crypto is still closer to early adoption than mass adoption. Stocks have existed since the 18th century and weren’t fully adopted until 200+ years later. Obviously things move a lot faster with crypto, but until the growth of this market plateaus, price discovery will continue.
  • Consumer confidence. The occasional incidents in both CeFi and Defi can cause mass liquidity shifts. For example, the FTX contagion was one trigger for a mass exodus from centralized exchanges. But users could also leave certain blockchains due to bridge hacks, outages, or network congestion.

These factors not only help you anticipate the next crypto bull run but also know what to expect.

What To Expect From the Next Bull Run?

crypto bull run

Will we see a $1M Bitcoin? A $10,000 Ethereum? A $1 Dogecoin? It’s not whether it will reach those prices or not, but whether or not the bull run lasts long enough to get there. And the longer it does, the greater the selling pressure on market dips, or at least delay the price discovery.

Bitcoin first reached $60K on the one-year bull run of 2021. Unfortunately soon after, China decided to ban crypto mining, and the SEC announced interest rate hikes and stricter regulations planned for crypto. None of these “bad” events killed the bull run (Bitcoin beats the all-time high soon after), but had they not happened, maybe Bitcoin would have peaked around $100K instead of $67K.

Bitcoin’s lowest values since 2022 are still higher than a “good” month before the start of the bull run, currently between $20K and $30K. If the next run lasts three months or longer (very likely), it’s easy to expect frequent spikes over $50K, if not new all-time highs. And as you go down the cryptocurrency list, you’ll see similar moves but amplified from 2x to 30x (especially small viable projects that lost ~95% of market value after the bull run).

What’s certain is that the bull run will end sooner or later, usually when money moves from blue-chip currencies to speculative ones.

If you’re a holder, bull runs might not be the best time to buy— except for new tokens. Other than your favorite projects, there’s no point in investing with a long-term approach in a temporary, volatile market.

If you’re a trader, as long as you know the cycles, then buying is smart even if you’re late. If you can estimate and prepare for the end, you’ll be the first to keep more profits, possibly more than those who got in early but missed their chance to exit. 

FAQ

How long does the crypto bull run last?

From a micro view, the average bull run lasts less than one year, or at least the price discovery phase. If you only count the “effective” time after a bull run is confirmed, it takes only about 9 months to reach local or all-time highs, followed by a reversal, flash crash, and likely bear reset.

From a macro view, prices go up 2-3 years (one of them usually sideways) and down on the fourth.

Why is the crypto bull run every 4 years?

Crypto bull runs largely depend on Bitcoin because of its market cap and history. There’s also a Bitcoin halving cycle that occurs about every four years. As long as it’s the no.1 cryptocurrency, this event will continue affecting almost all other tokens.

Should I invest during bull runs?

There’s no reason not to invest during bull runs, although the best time to do it is months ahead. That’s when altcoin prices plateau near all-time lows and nothing is going on. A different risk is that that specific coin may not pump as much as others.

It’s never too late to invest, although it’s riskier the longer you wait, especially after all-time highs.

What crypto to buy for the next bull run?

Based on fundamental analysis, any valuable cryptocurrency can be profitable in the next run. One warning is that the smaller the project is, the longer the bull run needs to last to actually affect it. The first ones to pump are blue-chip cryptocurrencies, followed by the Top 50 by market cap, then niche tokens, and eventually speculative projects like NFTs, P2E game tokens, and memecoins.

Not only are those the most volatile, but usually by the time the smaller group pumps, the end of the bull run is imminent.

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Disclaimer:Please note that nothing on this website constitutes financial advice. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided on this website is accurate, individuals must not rely on this information to make a financial or investment decision. Before making any decision, we strongly recommend you consult a qualified professional who should take into account your specific investment objectives, financial situation and individual needs.

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Max

Max is a European based crypto specialist, marketer, and all-around writer. He brings an original and practical approach for timeless blockchain knowledge such as: in-depth guides on crypto 101, blockchain analysis, dApp reviews, and DeFi risk management. Max also wrote for news outlets, saas entrepreneurs, crypto exchanges, fintech B2B agencies, Metaverse game studios, trading coaches, and Web3 leaders like Enjin.

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