This indicator is derived from Market Value and Realized Value, which can be defined as:
Market Value: The current price of Bitcoin multiplied by the number of coins in circulation. This is like market cap in traditional markets i.e. share price multiplied by number of shares.
Realized Value: Rather than taking the current price of Bitcoin, Realized Value takes the price of each Bitcoin when it was last moved i.e. the last time it was sent from one wallet to another wallet. It then adds up all those individual prices and takes an average of them. It then multiplies that average price by the total number of coins in circulation.
By subtracting Realized Value from Market Value we calculate Unrealized Profit/Loss.
Unrealized Profit/Loss estimates the total paper profits/losses in Bitcoin. This is interesting to know but of greater value is identifying how this changes relatively over time.
To do this we can divide Unrealized Profit/Loss by Market Cap. This creates Relative Unrealized Profit/Loss which is very useful to track investor sentiment over time for Bitcoin.
The key principle of this tool is in the ratio between market cap and Bitcoin investors taking profit.
When market cap rises much faster than profit taking we see that the market is overheating, one could say due to investor greed (red band). For the strategic investor such times have historically been favourable to take profit.
We can break down different percentages of Bitcoin Relative Unrealized Profit/Loss to determine what stage of the market we are in. This can be advantageous for the long term strategic investor.
Here is the original publication by the team at Adamant Capital: A primer on bitcoin investor sentiment and changes in saving behaviour
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