Speaking to CNBC a day after Christmas, Julian Hosp, Bitcoin entrepreneur and founder of TenX, a platform that allows users to spend and exchange virtual currencies in real time, said that “I think we’re going to see bitcoin hitting the $60,000 mark, but I also think we’re going to see bitcoin hitting the $5,000 mark.”
Nick Colas, an analyst who’s been covering Bitcoin for more than 4 years, most recently for DataTrek Research, said recently that the alt-coin could trade in a range of $6,500 to $22,000 in 2018.
Colin First, an analyst with FX Empire, believes that the market will stabilize next year, meaning that bitcoin will trade in the $10,000 to $50,000 range, which is far less volatility (5x) than we’ve seen in 2017’s (22x). He attributes the slower pace in price increase to a maturing market, bigger diversification in the alt-coin category and policy makers getting involved in the market.
The pattern that is clearly emerging here is that Bitcoin is a very volatile asset and that it is highly-speculative. Colas added that he sees Bitcoin losing market share to competitors as one of the drivers and that he expects “at least four crashes” of 40 percent or more in the year to come.
Bitcoin started off 2017 at around $900 and rallied to a record high above $19,800 midway through December. The alternative currency then went on to lose a third of its value in a single day, briefly sinking below $11,000 before regaining some of the ground it lost.
So what is fueling this astronomical increase in prices?
It’s a lot of different things, including these:
- The tipping point has been reached for mass-market adoption. Coinbase, one of the largest U.S. exchanges, had signed up some 12 million customers by November 2017, surpassing the number of accounts at 46-year-old brokerage Charles Schwab;
- There is plenty of talk among many governments of adopting a Fedcoin-like instrument to combine the best of alternative currencies with the demands of central banking policy;
- Adoption in underbanked markets, including Venezuela, where buyers sought refuge from hyperinflation, and Africa, where mobile payment adoption is higher than anywhere else in the world, is exceeding adoption in more financially-mature markets;
- Lots of talk of government mistrust and cover-ups, along with chatter about a recession everyone seems to be waiting for since the last one was almost a decade ago, is fueling interest in alternative asset classes;
- Ransomware attacks demanding payment in Bitcoin has penetrated the public consciousness, along with other reports of the many creative applications of the asset.
Many experts, including Hosp, as well as famed economist Paul Krugman, are likening the current situation regarding Bitcoin to the Dotcom bubble of the late 1990s and we all know what happened then.
After a brief period of licking wounds and reorganization, the modern internet was born, with Google and Amazon both launching among the ruins of that period. Lots of people are predicting the exact same thing here. After a period of high volatility with many winners and even more losers, cryptocurrencies will take a permanent seat at the global economic table.