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Jul 09, 2023

The ETH/BTC Ratio through time

The Ether to Bitcoin price ratio, or ETH/BTC ratio, is a metric that reflects the relative value of Ethereum to Bitcoin. It serves as an indicator of market sentiment, guiding investment decisions by showing which of the two leading cryptocurrencies is currently favored. The ratio may aid in portfolio management decisions, suggesting when to rebalance based on the relative performance of Ethereum and Bitcoin. It may also present potential trading opportunities when the ratio diverges from its historical average, providing insights into the market dominance between the two largest cryptocurrencies.

Over the past 5 years, several headlines and milestones can be highlighted:

1). In 2018, the crypto winter led to defensive price action, and the ETH/BTC ratio experienced a significant decline, reaching its lowest levels for that year. The ratio had been steadily decreasing since May, when it peaked at about 0.084. By December, the ratio was at about 0.026. This decline began to stabilize at the turn of the new year as bullish sentiment ignited the next bull-market cycle. However, the ratio remained suppressed due to a broader trend of Bitcoin steadily increasing its dominance in the cryptocurrency market.

2). In mid-2020, DeFi Summer formed a major catalyst for a turning point in the ETH/BTC ratio as the development of decentralized apps (DApps) provided a new fundamental driver for relative ETH strength. The emergence of more DApps increased demand for Ether, making it the most popularly used programmable blockchain in the world. The subsequent bull market run sparked further momentum. Ether's price continued to hold its relative value throughout 2021, reaching a new peak in the ratio value at approximately 0.087.

3). More recently, the ratio has been mostly range-bound. The announcement of Ethereum's network proof-of-stake update in mid-2022 lifted the ratio from the 0.05 area to a near-record high in September 2022. However, continued bearish price action throughout the remainder of the year led to some pairing of Ether's relative price gains.

As the industry prepares for the next wave of institutional adoption with the CME's launch of ETH to BTC Ratio Futures, this price ratio will continue to provide useful insights for practitioners and market participants.

Source: CF Benchmarks, Bloomberg, as of July 6, 2023

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