A further consideration is Bitcoin’s upcoming Taproot upgrade due to activate in November. It marks the first upgrade to the Bitcoin network since the Segregated Witness (SegWit) fork, which took place in August 2017. Of course,

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that was followed by an epic run up to a new all-time high of $20,000 in December 2017. It’s hard to know if history could repeat itself in this regard or if there’s even any direct correlation between the upgrades and the markets, but it’s worth bearing in mind.

Bears in the form of regulators
It’s beyond doubt that the biggest bearish forces shaping the markets over the last few months have been regulatory. Most notably, the Chinese government’s mining clampdown has created widespread uncertainty. Many large mining operations have been forced offline —

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in some cases permanently and in others temporarily as they relocated from China to new sites. This migration no doubt came at a significant expense, and in the meantime, Bitcoin’s mining difficulty has undergone its biggest drop in history, only confirming the impact that the clampdown has had on the network.

However, lawmakers from other countries have also recently started to take a closer look at crypto. India, which only relaxed its stance toward cryptocurrencies in 2020, could once again be considering a ban, although the situation continues to evolve.

The United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority also recently launched a campaign against Binance, ordering it to stop undertaking regulated activity in the country. Now, crypto firms are withdrawing licensing applications in the U.K., while users are finding themselves locked out of the exchange by their banks.

In general, Binance has been under regulatory pressure from all over the world, for a variety of reasons. In the meantime, it’s still not clear if regulators are going after Binance specifically or if the exchange is simply seen as a representative of the rest of the crypto industry.

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Related: Binance in the crosshairs: Are regulators paying attention to crypto?

Institutional analysts have also been making ominous predictions about Bitcoin’s price, with JPMorgan issuing a warning that the near-term setup for BTC continues to look unstable. While these developments aren’t likely to be as seismic as the Chinese mining ban, they haven’t helped market confidence.

Daniele Bernardi, CEO of fintech management company Diaman Group, believes that there are reasons to be cautious, telling Cointelegraph:

“If we analyze the Bitcoin price based on the S2F model, Bitcoin prices have the potential to triple in the short term. However, at Diaman, we’ve also developed a model based on the rate of adoption. Following this model, a $64k ATH is fair.”

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A stronger bull case?
As it has previously been suggested that most of the signals point to this bull market only being at a halfway point, is there enough evidence to reverse that direction? All things considered — and unsurprisingly — it’s too soon to say definitively. On one side, there is regulatory tumult and a substantial decrease in trading volume, suggesting an overall lack of interest and engagement.

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On the other, there are some telling on-chain metrics and indicators of investor sentiment that appear to stack up in favor of a continuing bull market.

Related: GBTC unlock edges closer as impact on Bitcoin price remains unclear

However, in practice, the regulatory issues continue to spook the market, proving that price models and VC funding aren’t necessarily able to assuage concerns. If there are further major clampdowns, then it may be that the bull market cannot recover after all.

The fact that prices have held above $30,000 thus far, despite perhaps the biggest test to mining security in history, is a testament to the bullish forces at play. If the current regulatory situation starts to calm, then there’s every chance that the bullish part of the market cycle could still play out to its predicted conclusion.