Ether’s price fell this week, and several data points are beginning to suggest that further downside could be in store.
On July 24, Ether (ETH) experienced a drop close to its monthly low, reaching $1,825 amid Bitcoin’s (BTC) negative price action, as uncertainty loomed over macroeconomic conditions and a potential whale sell-off.
Several on-chain and technical indicators point to further downside in ETH prices. However, the extent of this downward movement could be limited, considering the profit levels of existing holders and the decrease in ETH’s liquid supply.
ETH on-chain analysis suggests more downside
Since the beginning of 2023, Ethereum’s network value-to-transaction value (NVT) metric has indicated that the asset may have been overpriced.
Glassnode’s NVT signal gauges the relative value of the Ethereum network by comparing the market price to the volume of on-chain transactions. A higher NVT reading implies that ETH could be trading at a premium.
The NVT chart from Glassnode reveals that the metric typically fluctuates between 30 and 80. However, at the start of 2023, it surged to three-year highs of 120 and has maintained higher levels since then. This suggests that either a pullback in price or an increase in Ethereum’s on-chain activity would be necessary to trigger a reset in this metric.
Nevertheless, the profit levels of short- and long-term holders suggest that the downturn could be restricted.
Ether’s negative price action usually reverses when the net unrealized profit/loss (NUPL) metric of short-term holders is negative, meaning short-term holders are in losses. It causes some weak hands to panic sell, allowing buyers to scoop up coins at a cheaper price.
Currently, the short-term NUPL ratio is close to neutral levels. However, there’s room for some downside based on historic levels.
The realized profit/loss metric, which evaluates the relative profitability of ETH transfers, paints a similar picture. On-chain analytics firm Santiment wrote in its latest analysis that “the ratio of on-chain transaction volume in profit to loss is still favoring profit takes,” but not by much.
Santiment analyst Brian Quinlivan added:
“If ETH drops a bit more from here and threatens the $1,700-$1,800 level again, panic sells would come pouring in to justify the buys.”
Similarly, the NUPL ratio of long-term holders is also ranging near 2019 and early 2020 peak levels, suggesting that a pullback is likely.
The ETH supply on exchanges has dropped drastically since the Shapella upgrade in April. At the same time, the amount staked for validation of the proof-of-stake network has increased. The locked ETH in staking contracts decreased its liquid supply on exchanges, which is more susceptible to selling than staked ETH.
ETH’s realized price, which represents the fair value of the token based on the daily value moved on-chain, is currently at $1,507. In 2022, ETH quickly recovered below the realized price metric as the profit levels of long-term holders dropped into negative territory.
The on-chain metrics show that the price could suffer some selling pressure from short-term holders and panic selling from investors spooked by relatively lower levels of activity in 2023.
Nevertheless, the profit levels of short- and long-term holders suggest that the slump may not stretch far enough and the price could find support above the $1,500 level.
Related: Crypto investors cool on Bitcoin funds, turning to Ether and XRP
ETH/USD price analysis
Technically, the ETH/USD pair shows bearish risk in the short term with an impending death cross on the weekly scale.
Ether has witnessed only one death cross between the 50- and 200-period moving averages (MAs) on a weekly scale in the past in June 2019, after which its price dropped 60%.
On the daily chart, the ETH/USD pair threatens a fall toward the 200-day MA at $1,761, which also coincides with the lower highs from November 2022.
The derivatives data for ETH indicates that there has been no significant change in the open interest volume for futures contracts, which reflects the demand for these contracts. This suggests that traders are currently not showing much interest in the recent lackluster price action.
Looking at the options data from Deribit reveals that contracts worth $1.1 billion are set to expire on July 28. The positioning in the options market indicates a bullish bias, with a notable concentration of call options between $1,900 and $2,400.
As the expiration date approaches, it is likely that the price will remain subdued around the maximum pain level for options buyers, which is at $1,850.
Based on the on-chain and market indicators, it appears that Ether’s negative selling pressure could persist for a couple of weeks. However, there is potential for a strong influx of buyers, particularly at support levels of $1,700 and $1,500.
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