A slew of recent good news about bitcoin has failed to bring cheer to cryptocurrency markets. Bitcoin price, which rallied to surpass $8,000 last week, is back under $7,000. Even the news about Intercontinental Exchange’s (ICE) decision to launch a startup for bitcoin futures trading resulted in only a brief bump to the cryptocurrency’s prices. The SEC’s announcement to postpone a decision regarding VanEck-SolidX’s proposal for a bitcoin ETF has further cast a pall on cryptocurrency markets.
As of this writing, bitcoin is trading $6,470.88, down 3.5% from its price 24 hours ago. The cryptocurrency has lost more than 70% of its value since the beginning of this year. Cryptocurrency markets have fared no better. Their current market capitalization of $230 billion is a far cry from the highs of $828.5 billion earlier this year.
The Bear Case For Bitcoin’s Price
Economist and cryptocurrency enthusiast Tuur Demeester has a bearish prognosis for bitcoin’s price this year. His analysis is mostly based on fundamental reasons relating to the evolution of cryptocurrency markets. “Chances are high for this year to be remembered as a shakeout year: a lemon market in altcoins, regulators catching up and infrastructure growing pains,” he wrote in a recent Coindesk post.
Some of that is already happening.
Trading volume for cryptocurrencies has dipped to lows as bitcoin’s dominance of crypto markets has increased. Regulators have begun acknowledging and commenting on the status of cryptocurrencies and major players within the cryptocurrency ecosystem are establishing infrastructure guard rails for the entry of institutional investors.
In his post, Demeester also cites bitcoin’s NVM ratio (Network value Metcalfe ratio), which has plumbed new lows after reaching highs last year. The ratio, which has a positive effect on bitcoin’s price, suggests that network effects of bitcoin are amplified through daily use and transactions on its blockchain. According to Demeester, there’s “too little on-chain activity to justify bitcoin’s current market cap.”
While Demeester has forecast a bear market for crypto till the end of this year, Coindesk analysts state that the crypto market is set for a short-term bear market. Bitcoin’s recent price movement add credence to “the signs of a short-term bearish reversal: a bearish crossover between the 5-day and 10-day moving averages (MAs) and a downside break of the ascending trendline by the relative strength index (RSI).” In simple words, this means that bitcoin is clearing price levels which had earlier supported it from falling further. As the cryptocurrency clears further support levels, it will fall further.
The Bull Case For Bitcoin
Contrasting these assessments is the bull case for bitcoin made by noted cryptocurrency analyst Fundstrat’s Thomas Lee. During his last appearance on CNBC, he said miners would be responsible for a bump in bitcoin’s price. According to him, declines in mining profitability will likely push bitcoin’s price higher. But the crypto’s price will not take off until there is regulatory clarity, he said. Lee has forecast a price target of $25,000 for the cryptocurrency.
Noted hedge fund investor Michael Novogratz, who has started a crypto merchant bank, is also bullish on bitcoin’s price. “I do think we are building a nice bottom for the next move up,” he said at a cryptocurrency conference in South Korea. He identified custody solutions and regulatory clarity as key factors that will help bitcoin clear $10,000. Greater adoption of the cryptocurrency – whether in terms of people working in the industry or solutions being developed for it or money flowing into the ecosystem – makes it “more safe”, he said. “It’s (bitcoin’s price) going be a step function,” he said. “We are going to take out $10,000 first and then go right to $20,000.” The introduction of custody solutions by known names, such as Fidelity and Goldman Sachs, will reignite the animal spirits and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) again, he said and predicted a market cap target of $800 billion for cryptocurrency markets in the next 12 months.