Bitcoin has had no shortage of good news in the past month – from the BlackRock bitcoin ETF application to the first case the SEC has lost in its efforts to regulate crypto by enforcement, and the somewhat comforting inflation data from June. Still, it just can’t seem to break above $31,000. It barely moved before or after CPI data was released this week – and for the third straight month. And while it rallied 4% after Ripple̵[ads1]7;s partial win on Thursday, it gave back all those gains the next day and ended the week just below the flat line – for its third consecutive down week. The dollar index, which typically moves inversely with bitcoin, also hit its lowest level in more than a year last week, and bitcoin didn’t budge. However, investor confidence is at a new high, but it is more than an adrenaline rush. Many traders draw parallels between bitcoin’s behavior today and its movements ahead of the last halving, when the coin was still recovering from the great crypto crash of 2018. “In 2019, we experienced periods of strength, followed by pullbacks.” said Andrew Lawrence, co-founder and CEO of custody firm Censo. “It wasn’t until the bitcoin halving a year later, in the spring of 2020, that we saw a market rally turn into a sustained rally. Something similar is playing out again this time, and next year’s halving will likely mark the beginning of the next rally.” BTC.CM= 1M mountain Bitcoin has struggled to make a significant break above $31,000 over the past month. The halving is an event that takes place when the reward for mining bitcoin is halved, as designed in the Bitcoin code, to reduce the supply of the cryptocurrency. It historically takes place every four years and has set the stage for new bull runs. The next one is expected to come in May 2024. “Bitcoin obviously bottomed out late last year and now we’re in something of both a recovery and accumulation phase,” Lawrence added. Q3 volatility and GBTC on deck The third quarter of the year is historically the weakest for bitcoin. The average third-quarter gain going back to 2014 is just 4.67%, according to CoinGecko, and it has produced a positive third quarter for just four of the nine in its lifetime. Bitcoin is about 95% off its 2022 low of just under $16,000, and it’s only two weeks into July. Investors tend to expect seasonal gains in the fourth quarter, which has seen bitcoin return 93.38% on average since 2013. Meanwhile, market observers expect volatility but say the trend points to strength. SEC vs. Ripple is a “watch series” whose outcome will be “instrumental in shaping future US crypto regulation” and provide a tailwind for the bitcoin price, Cantor Fitzgerald said on Friday. The increased regulatory clarity that comes from that could increase the likelihood of spot Bitcoin ETF approval, it added. The Ripple case also gives the industry hope that the SEC will “take its foot off the enforcement pedal,” Canaccord Genuity said. Investors also have the decision on Grayscale’s lawsuit – challenging the SEC’s decision to deny the conversion of the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust into an ETF – as another key catalyst to look forward to this summer. “With liquidity conditions still weak and the macro picture still uncertain, we wouldn’t be surprised to see crypto assets become more volatile in the near term, but any move to the downside should be seen as a buying opportunity for crypto assets and crypto-related stocks,” said Chase White, analyst at Compass Point, in a note Friday. Selling pressure from miners With the halving of Bitcoin – as well as an increase in price and activity – miners are racing to add more computational power, also known as hash rate, to their operations. To do so, they have sold bitcoin to finance their operations. In many cases, it is the best option for raising money, as share prices are relatively low and high interest rates mean that they are unlikely to want to borrow money. Last week, miner sales volume reached its highest level since March 2019 last week, according to Glassnode, and bitcoin’s hash rate hit an all-time high. “Bitcoin miners are prime suspects for pushing bitcoin’s upside potential as they have sent their bitcoins to exchanges at an unprecedented pace since late May,” said Yuya Hasegawa, crypto market analyst at Japanese bitcoin exchange Bitbank. “To make matters worse, bitcoin’s mining difficulty has hit an all-time high this week, making it harder and potentially less profitable to mine bitcoin.” Miners’ profitability depends on how difficult it is to mine bitcoin. The network has an algorithm to regulate this. “Until the next difficulty adjustment, which will happen in about two weeks, miners’ selling pressure is likely to continue,” Hasegawa added.