What does the term ‘bullish’ mean?


One of the most used terms in cryptocurrency by investors when they see a gem token or coin with a promising prospect is the term ‘bullish’. By that word, they mean that a particular coin/token has the tendency to spike in price and appreciate to stratospheric heights.

Bullish as an investment term is opposite to the term “bearish”. It is quite interesting that both these terms have their etymological meanings from animals. Let’s trace the history of how they came to be used in the investment world to mean two opposite cycles.

History of the Bull

Beginning with Bull, according to Investopedia,

A bull market and a bull (or “bullish”) speculator refers to speculative purchases made with the expectation of an increase in cryptocurrency prices.

This relationship to speculation seems to have at least partial origins from the gruesome blood sports of bull and bear-baiting. These contests began in medieval times around the 1200s and reached their height of popularity during the Elizabethan era. People would flock to the events and gamble on the outcomes, betting vast sums of money on a contest featuring a  bull or a bear. It’s not hard to see how this corresponds to the usage of the terms in today’s cryptocurrency market speculations.

Shakespeare’s plays make reference to battles involving bulls and bears. In Macbeth, the ill-fated title character says his enemies have tethered him to a stake but “bear-like, I must fight the course.” In Much Ado About Nothing, the bull is a savage but noble beast:

“I think he thinks upon the savage bull.

Tush, fear not, man; we’ll tip thy horns with gold

And all Europa shall rejoice at thee,

As once Europa did at lusty Jove,

When he would play the noble beast in love.”

History of Bull market cycles in the cryptocurrency market

Bitcoin has seen a great deal of action over its 12 year history. Created in 2009, the first purchase using Bitcoin exchanged 10,000 BTC for 2 pizzas, a laughable amount today. In 2013, Bitcoin rose to $1,000 before crashing to $300, a position it would take 3 years to recover from. As more banks, fintech institutions and other establishments came to accept Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency grew gradually while more coins entered the market. In 2017-2018, Bitcoin rose to over $19,000 before facing US legal trouble, which crashed the value by 70% in a year. Still, by 2019, Bitcoin outperformed even the best stocks, and last year, new cryptocurrency funds and futures attracted investors while the global economy slowed.

F0r context, everytime the bitcoin price plunged, mainstream media screamed ‘The bitcoin bubble has popped’ across the world. In fact, since 2010, bitcoin has been declared worthless over 411 times by major media news outlets such as Business Insider and Moneyweb . Yet for all its divisiveness, bitcoin has clocked a 210% compound annual growth for the last decade, making it the best performing asset over this period and the fastest asset ever to reach a $1 trillion market value. It did this in less than 12 years, whereas it took Microsoft 44 years to hit the $1 trillion market cap.

Bull market of 2021 and why it differs from other bull runs

Unlike the previous bull markets of 2013 and 2017 where bitcoin and other existing cryptocurrencies touched new all-time-highs then, the bull run we see in 2021 is different. The bull market of 2017 was fuelled largely by retail investors speculating on crypto prices especially from the Asian markets like Japan and South Korea who were ready to buy bitcoin at a premium price even while it was selling cheaper in other regions’ exchanges.

Fast-forward to four years later, companies like MicroStrategy, Tesla, Stone Ridge and Square have led from the front by converting some of their US dollar Treasury reserves into bitcoin as a way to hedge against expected inflation and depreciation in the value of the US dollar.

Do not forget that prior to the COVID market crash of 2020, BTC and other crypto asset prices were practically in losses from their all time high of the 2017 bull market. With governments of nations like China, Europe and the United States trying to prop up their markets by printing more fiat currencies, this signalled an impending inflation in the coming months to institutional investors. What that means is that their funds parked in bonds or saving deposits in banks face the risk of devaluation.

But these fears meant a bullish case for the digital gold and other top cryptocurrencies like Ethereum. Bitcoin’s attraction as a store of value lies in its hard cap of 21 million coins that cannot be inflated beyond this level.

Bullish bitcoin price prediction before the end of 2021

One key metric for bitcoin’s price prediction is the stock-to-flow ratio. This is the number of newly-mined coins being added yearly to the 18.8 million total coins in circulation. Stock-to-flow has proven useful in measuring and predicting bitcoin’s price. Recall that the rate at which bitcoin is mined is halved every four years, and this event has historically been followed by a rise in prices. The last halving event was in May 2020. Pantera Capital after studying stock-to-flow and the impact on price of bitcoin halvings suggests a target price of $115 000 before the end of 2021.

Two signs to watch out for in a typical Bull market

MVRV – Realized Value (RV) Cap is an alternative approach to Market Value (MV) Cap as a measure of network valuation. Rather than using the last traded price and multiplying by the number of coins in circulation as seen in Market Cap, Realized Cap approximates the value paid for all coins in existence by summing the market value of coins when they last moved on the blockchain. MVRV is simply the ratio comparing the two


DD – represents destruction days which always show the tendency to spike when longer-term holders (LTH) move their coins. Whenever LTH move their coins it is usually interpreted as a sign of taking profit which could tank the prices of cryptocurrencies.

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