How the most popular Bitcoin price prediction models fared in 2020

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In a year of extreme volatility, Bitcoin price models have never had so much to prove — how did they do?

From $3,600 lows to all-time highs of just above $24,000, 2020 was the year that Bitcoin (BTC) surprised analysts like never before.

With predicting its next move becoming ever more difficult, there’s likewise never been more demand for an accurate Bitcoin price model.

Cointelegraph takes a look at how the best in the business fared this year, and what’s worth following as 2021 gets underway — possibly with $20,000 as a starting point.

Stock-to-Flow

No matter which way you look at it, 2020 was the year in which the stock-to-flow Bitcoin price model came of age.

Already one of the best known in the industry, stock-to-flow’s various incarnations tracked BTC/USD as it ranged to its dramatic yearly lows and shot back up again.

Best of all, Bitcoin’s entire program of behavior still fell within the models’ demands — as of December 19, it is following stock-to-flow to the letter (or digit).

The stock-to-flow ratio is based on the amount of an asset already in existence (the stock) versus the amount being added via creation (the flow). In Bitcoin’s case, this ratio is intrinsically tied to block subsidy halvings — these reduce the flow by 50% roughly every four years.

As such, with each halving, Bitcoin’s ratio becomes higher, and there is currently nothing in the way of it attaining and preserving the highest ratio of any known asset.

In terms of price, several variants of stock-to-flow-based prediction have been created by PlanB, the anonymous analyst who has become a household name among Bitcoiners.

Each model calls for different price targets to hit during the current halving cycle through 2024. The most conservative is $100,000 by the end of 2021.

Despite fielding major criticism of stock-to-flow this year, PlanB has defended his model, and his faith was justly rewarded when Bitcoin rose to exactly hit the model price last week.

Bitcoin stock-to-flow historical chart. Source: Digitalik

Elliott Wave Theory

It’s been a testing year for another popular Bitcoin price prediction tool. The Elliott Wave Theory — more of a price map than a strict set of targets — has had a difficult twelve months.

Not specific to Bitcoin, Elliott Wave delivers a multi-step market cycle which aims to track highs and lows of an asset.

Due to its nonspecific nature, however, those predictions are often huge, but Bitcoin has delivered before due to its inherently volatile nature early in its existence.

2020 likewise produced moments of clarity using Elliott Wave, but April’s prediction of a fresh retracement to $3,000 — matching the pit of the 2018 bear market — failed to come to pass.

Rainbow Chart

Lastly, a sight to behold at $23,000 is Bitcoin’s position on the so-called Rainbow Chart.

A light-hearted log chart of BTC/USD, Rainbow breaks down price levels into a series of buy and sell tips — roughly one for each color of the rainbow.

Ranging from red (“maximum bubble territory”) to dark blue (“basically a fire sale”), these tell investors and hodlers what to expect next from Bitcoin based on its upward or downward direction.

Right now, even at near all-time highs, BTC/USD is still heading upwards and is only in the light green band which the model describes as “still cheap.”

Bitcoin “rainbow” price chart. Source: Blockchaincenter.net

As with stock-to-flow, Rainbow thus predicts more upside potential for Bitcoin, now that $20,000 resistance appears firmly a thing of the past.

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