After a stark plunge Thursday that wiped out $100 billion in market value, the world’s largest cryptocurrency is back near all-time highs Tuesday as corporations like Visa and PayPal join other institutional players in expanding their crypto offerings.
As of 4 p.m. EDT, the price of bitcoin has climbed 2% over the past 24 hours, pushing its market capitalization up to $1.1 trillion–about $40 billion shy from an all-time high on March 13 and pushing gains to roughly $144 billion since a sharp correction on Thursday, according to crypto-data website CoinMarketCap.
‘Analysts are pinning the resurgence to still-booming institutional adoption, including PayPal’s new cryptocurrency checkout service, which launched Tuesday and allows the company’s more than 375 million customers to shop using cryptocurrency at millions of online merchants (PayPal didn’t specify an exact figure, but says the program will expand in the coming months).
Qanda Senior Market Analyst Edward Moya calls the move “another massive cryptocurrency endorsement from Wall Street” and “further proof of mainstream acceptance” just one day after Visa said it will start settling transactions with cryptocurrency partners using a token built on the Ethereum blockchain, which underpins the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency, ether.
Moya notes that bitcoin, which is priced at about $59,080, could struggle to push past $60,000 again but says the recent developments “should be enough to keep the bullish trend going strong.”
Nigel Green, the CEO of $12 billion wealth advisory deVere Group, said in an email Tuesday that growing corporate investments from the likes of Tesla and billionaire Jack Dorsey’s Square are signs that institutions are employing the “buy the dip” mantra popularized by retail investors—meaning they’re loading up on bitcoin when prices plunge.
What To Watch For
Regulation. Though Wall Street is warming up to bitcoin, legendary hedge fund manager Ray Dalio warned last week that he thinks there’s a “good probability” bitcoin could be banned by the U.S. government, similar to how it banned gold nearly a century ago. The Securities and Exchange Commission has been slow to issue regulation for cryptocurrencies.
In an interview with Forbes, SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce said Gary Gensler, President Joe Biden’s nominee to head up the agency, would likely be “sympathetic to the call for regulatory clarity.” When nations like South Korea started cracking down on cryptocurrency three years ago, prices crashed as much as 80% over the course of one year, though it’s unclear how such a development could affect markets today.
Bitcoin prices have skyrocketed over the past year amid booming institutional adoption and inflation fears sparked by unprecedented government spending to combat the pandemic. Last week, billionaire Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla would start accepting bitcoin for vehicle purchases and retaining the cryptocurrency tendered, as opposed to converting it to U.S. dollars. Also this month, Fidelity Investments filed an application for its first bitcoin exchange-traded fund, and banking powerhouse Morgan Stanley said it would open up bitcoin exposure to its wealthy clients, though it’s limiting such funds to investors with “an aggressive risk tolerance.”
Bitcoin has surged nearly 800% over the past year. Its return of about 96% this year is more than any sector tracked by the S&P 500.
I’m a reporter at Forbes focusing on markets and finance. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I double-majored in business journalism and economics while working for UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School as a marketing and communications assistant. Before Forbes, I spent a summer reporting on the L.A. private sector for Los Angeles Business Journal and wrote about publicly traded North Carolina companies for NC Business News Wire. Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Bitcoin smashed through $40,000 to hit a new record high on Thursday helping to lift the total value of the entire cryptocurrency market above $1 trillion for the first time. The digital coin hit an all-time high of $40,367 at around 1:17 p.m. ET, just a few hours after blowing past the $39,000 level, according to data from Coin Metrics.
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The Netherlands leads the world when it comes to search interest for the term ‘Bitcoin halving’
The Bitcoin block halving is happening in just one week, and Google data shows that searches for the term ‘Bitcoin halving’ are surging in general. This data can also be broken down by country, and it reveals where people are most interested in the Bitcoin halving.
Specifically, Google gives countries rankings from 1 to 100 for interest in a certain search term such as Bitcoin halving, with a rank of 100 meaning that country has the most searches for Bitcoin halving relative to total searches.
Netherlands leads the world with a ranking of 100, followed by Cyprus, Slovenia, Switzerland, Austria, and Latvia, all of which are European nations. Notably, the United States is well behind most European nations with a ranking of just 39.
Thus, this data from Google suggests that the Bitcoin halving is garnering the most interest in Europe.
The Bitcoin ( BTC ) block subsidy halving is all anyone can talk about this week — but according to Google, it’s Europe that is most obsessed. Data from Google Trends shows that when it comes to searching “bitcoin halving,” western and central Europe is leading the way. As Cointelegraph reported , search interest can often translate into adoption through channels such as major exchanges. Purchasing volumes have increased conspicuously since mid-March. As of press time on May 5, these five countries generated the most requests regarding the largest cryptocurrency’s most important coming of age.
Bitcoin, ETH, XRP, and LTC prices, will be on a roller coaster for a long time. Traders and investors will make and lose fortunes in record time, betting on them. In the end, say some analysts, these cryptocurrencies will either die on their own, or be killed by the ‘establishment’ — big governments and big banks around the world that defend sovereign currencies.
Take the case for Bitcoin.
The “people’s currency” holds a great promise: to become the first true global currency, free of the control of central banks that print money and big banks that generate credit. But to do that, Bitcoin must gain the trust of the “general public.“ This means it must be adopted as a medium of exchange, standard of value, and store of value, replacing national currencies.That isn’t easy, given the many obstacles Bitcoin has to overcome. Like lack of awareness, familiarity, and stability, etc. And that makes some experts bearish about the future of Bitcoin.
Bitcoin Price YTD
Lars Seier Christensen, Chairman of Concordium, the next-generation decentralized world computer, is one of them. “In the longer term, I am bearish on bitcoin as I believe it does not have the necessary characteristics of a longer-term valuable asset and, eventually, that reality will catch up” says Christensen.“But in the short term, price movements will likely be random as Bitcoin is affected by low liquidity and unpredictable bigger trades.”
Unpredictability will make it hard for Bitcoin to gain broad adoption as a medium of exchange. And without broad adoption, Bitcoin will remain a play for speculators and true believers, and eventually die on its own.
But even if Bitcoin overcomes all these obstacles and gains broad adoption by the general public, and was in a position to replace national currencies — ie, become the new currency — what would happen then?
Bears argue that the “establishment” cannot afford to let that happen.
For a couple of reasons, including the loss of Seigniorage” — simply put, the profit made by the national governments by printing currency. Then there’s the profit made by banks helping circulate that money and create credit.
The establishment will do whatever it takes to defend these profits from Bitcoin and any other cryptocurrency that seeks to replace it.
Recent Congressional hearings on Libra attests to the determination of the establishment to protect the dollar from competing cryptocurrencies. In a rare display of unity, Democrats and Republicans opposed Libra, and had many unkind words for Bitcoin.
“Cryptocurrencies that are ONLY there as a currency substitute, however, have no real long-term future,” says Christensen.“They will be outlawed by governments wanting to control the money supply and taxation, and in any case, cryptocurrencies have no intrinsic long-term value of significance. Hence, Bitcoin will only survive as a fringe activity.”
Not everyone agrees with this gloomy assessment, however. Dave Hodgson, Director and Co-Founder of NEM Ventures, is one of them.
“In my opinion, Bitcoin will never die nor be killed by the establishment, despite some people’s efforts to the contrary,” says Hodgson. “The recent drop we have seen in Bitcoin is within the boundaries of what our analysts were expecting from technical analysis. However, the timescale has been slightly skewed in light of recent announcements, primarily from US government representatives.”
Corentin Denoeud, CEO and Co-founder of Blockchain Studio, is another .
“The fact that governments around the world are even talking about crypto is a sign of progress for the blockchain industry in general,” says Denoeud. “While countries such as India have called for the outlawing of cryptocurrencies, representatives from Germany’s Central Bank have responded favourably and advanced the view that cryptocurrencies are not a threat to global monetary stability. Even China, who has previously banned ICOs and cryptocurrency trading, has called bitcoin a ‘safe-haven asset’ (via its state-run media agency) and is now reportedly stepping up its own efforts to create its own cryptocurrency, following Facebook’s unveiling of Libra.”
While it’s still unclear which side is right, one thing is clear: Bitcoin (and ETH, XRP, LTC, etc) true believers who think that cryptocurrency will eventually replace national currencies, need a 101 lesson in Money and Banking.
I’m Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics at LIU Post in New York. I also teach at Columbia University. I’ve published several articles in professional journals and magazines, including Barron’s, The New York Times, Japan Times, Newsday, Plain Dealer, Edge Singapore, European Management Review, Management International Review, and Journal of Risk and Insurance. I’ve have also published several books, including Collective Entrepreneurship, The Ten Golden Rules, WOM and Buzz Marketing, Business Strategy in a Semiglobal Economy, China’s Challenge: Imitation or Innovation in International Business, and New Emerging Japanese Economy: Opportunity and Strategy for World Business. I’ve traveled extensively throughout the world giving lectures and seminars for private and government organizations, including Beijing Academy of Social Science, Nagoya University, Tokyo Science University, Keimung University, University of Adelaide, Saint Gallen University, Duisburg University, University of Edinburgh, and Athens University of Economics and Business. Interests: Global markets, business, investment strategy, personal success.
Bakkt – the cryptocurrency startup launched by New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) owner Intercontinental Exchange – just yanked the lid off the full range of its blockchain ambitions.
The firm announced today that it has acquired Digital Asset Custody Company (DACC) as part of its efforts to gain regulatory approval for its crypto products.
Reportedly, Bakkt is less concerned with merely building a Bitcoin exchange than they are with offering institutional custody and payment platform services, all of which still requires regulatory approval.
Bakkt Acquires Crypto Custodian DACC
Bitcoin startup Bakkt acquired a crypto custodian to help bring its regulated platform to market. | Source: Shutterstock
The company recently announced its application for a BitLicense, and it is also pushing to become a trust company in New York. The company’s efforts have been repeatedly stalled by regulatory delays, despite positive news around its partnerships with Starbucks, Microsoft, and others.
Coinbase previously acquired a trust charter with the New York Department of Financial Services. Becoming a trust can be a faster process than becoming a BitLicense recipient, which can take several years. Bakkt says in a new blog post that it’s applied for a charter, and recently we reported that they’re also seeking a BitLicense.
Bakkt wants to offer Bitcoin futures contracts that pay out in cryptocurrency, which would set them apart from other Bitcoin futures offerings. Bakkt has several other ambitious projects in mind, but it must get through several layers of red tape before it finally launches.
“To provide regulated custody, we have filed with the New York Department of Financial Services for approval to become a trust company and in this capacity serve as a Qualified Custodian for digital assets. […] It is with that same commitment to setting a new standard for securely storing digital assets that we’re excited to announce that we have acquired Digital Asset Custody Company (DACC). DACC shares our security-first mindset and brings extensive experience offering secure, scalable custody solutions to institutional clients. The team’s experience integrating multiple blockchains and operating cutting-edge consensus mechanisms is a valuable addition to our team and future product line.”
“From the ground up what ICE has been building for two years is the safest version of a custody solution for digital assets.”
Custody: The Key to Mass Bitcoin Adoption?
A lack of regulated custodians has kept many crypto-curious institutions out of the burgeoning asset class. | Source: Shutterstock
Bakkt and Coinbase have both claimed that offering secure, modern custodial solutions for cryptocurrency will encourage institutional investors to expand their portfolios to include the speculative asset class. Thus far, Coinbase and Circle’s offerings have yet to make a significant dent in the overall market.
Fidelity, a traditional assets management company, also nears completion of its custodial solution. A range of options doesn’t necessarily equate to investor interest, but their availability may play a vital role during any future bull run. Institutional investors will, at a minimum, have several popular options to choose from if they consider getting into the market, opportunities that didn’t exist in previous times.
Bakkt’s current push is three-pronged:
They’ve acquired a company already engaged in playing custodian to digital assets.
They’ve applied for a BitLicense.
They’re working to become a registered trust.
There are other avenues they might still pursue, such as operating without New York as an available market at first. What is clear is that the company is anxious to get into the game, and the recent bull market activity is probably not far from their mind.
I always write about this basic idea when it comes to any investing: which way is the market going, up or down?
If you know, you are in great shape; if you don’t, you should not be playing at all.
This is the question on bitcoin.
All last year I was saying, “It’s going down, hopefully to about $2,500.” It hit the low $3,000s.
Now bitcoin is going up and I will be saying “It’s going up.” I think it will hit $6,000 soon and go on to $10,000.
At $10,000 I will look to recalibrate.
For now the crypto winter is over.
Here is the chart:
This is a simple chart with some guidelines and there is a clear pathway upwards.
There is apparently a lot of China interest in crypto right now, with tether selling at a premium. This makes sense if the market considers a yuan dollar depreciation on the cards. Tether has been shown to be resilient, even if it is still a controversial coin. It remains a good place to stash capital from short-term moves, be that from bitcoin volatility or ‘fiat’ privations.
Money flowing into stablecoins is going to lift bitcoin because fundamentally money flowing into crypto is what sustains and raises prices.
Bitcoin and altcoins have to have positive money flow because they are “mined” and have their monetary bases expanded with every block. For bitcoin $9 million of new money must enter every day to match new supply. It’s not that straight forward because if miners hodl on to some or all of their bitcoin, less money needs to enter on a daily basis to prop up the price. In the end, however, supply and demand creates the price and for new supply to be matched at current levels, more than $3.3 billion dollars has to flow into bitcoin to make it go up.
That might seem a lot but it is not when you see the scale of modern markets. Gold production is $140 billion, so that’s the amount of fiat that most come into the system to keep its price around $1,300 an ounce.
Both assets have about the same emission as a percentage; the difference being the market cap of gold is about $5 trillion and bitcoin is $0.09 trillion.
Gold is the global asset to hedge against risk and investors are incredibly interested in it. It is a mainstream asset dwarfing equities and other assets in the mind of the man in the street as an “investment.”
Google searches for gold and bitcoin in the U.S.
When you drill down into mindshare, when you look at interest in the financial news, you can see what looks like bitcoin eating into the interest in gold, at least in the U.S.
If you look at the global picture this trend can’t be seen as clearly and when you appreciate global interest in gold is driven by countries with low tech penetration it suggests that as time passes, bitcoin and crypto will increasingly share the flight capital/risk asset crown with gold.
Google searches for gold and bitcoin worldwide
Even if bitcoin takes 20% of that market, bitcoin will be through its previous $20,000 high. That is without bitcoin continuing to be used for transactions or any other emergent use case or situation.
Bitcoin winter is over, the price is going up, the only question is how high. For now $6,000 is an easy target and $10,000 a coin this year is not such a hard target. I’m still accumulating.