Bitcoin has now soared over 20% since Black Friday’s close, hitting $10,000 for the first time in history from $9,000 in just two days, now up over 950% year-to-date.
The virtual cryptocurrency was priced at under $800 a year ago and its spectacular rise is driving a frenzy of hype, with very late adopters rushing to get in what feels like endless upside.
Bitcoin’s boosters are talking about the digital currency or commodity or whatever finally breaking through to the mainstream, and new users have been flooding exchanges and brokers as the price has surged.
To more measured observers, it has all the classic signs of a rapidly inflating bubble that will inevitably burst. And not surprisingly, believers are egging on the speculation with talk of revolutions, new realities and other hype words. It’s an environment reminiscent of the first dot-com boom in the late 1990s, the housing bubble that followed in the 2000s and, believe it or not, multiple Bitcoin price surges from recent years.
By the way, all that talk is not completely unfounded. Bitcoin and the technologies that built it, namely Blockchain, likely are revolutionizing the way data and transactions move around the world as we speak.
But that doesn’t mean that dropping your real coin on Bitcoin as an investment right now is a good idea.
Bitcoin began its current upswing in mid-2016, around the time that Brexit and Donald Trump’s march toward the Republican Presidential nomination and later the White House was helping to stir up all kinds of uncertainty around the world. A corresponding spike in the price of gold was observed in mid-2016, but nothing has performed quite like Bitcoin over the past 18 months.
It’s hard to know where to start breaking down all the red flags surrounding Bitcoin. Plenty of analysts can talk about the worrying lack of solid fundamentals behind it, or the fact that it’s ostensibly designed to be a currency yet is one of the most volatile assets in recent memory.
Recently, Nigeria’s central bank weigh in on the current desperation by Nigerians to invest in the growing trend of the exchange, warning investors against the use of virtual currencies, including bitcoin, ripples, litecoin.
As CoinTelegraph reports, the year has been filled with major announcements that signal the widespread acceptance and growth of Bitcoin. Extensive coverage by mainstream analysts was followed by huge growth in Bitcoin hedge funds and institutional investors.
Now the launch of regulated futures markets is imminent, and Bitcoin has become the investment du jour of the financial community. Whether they love it or hate it, big bankers can’t keep their mouths shut about Bitcoin.
The attention Bitcoin has garnered from mainstream media has been astounding. Only a year ago, news would spread of a local newspaper mentioning Bitcoin, and the community would be thrilled. Now, major publications mention Bitcoin daily, and no one is surprised. Bitcoin has literally gone viral.
Further, the growth in hedge funds that invest in cryptocurrencies has exploded as well. As early as August, the news that 70 new funds could be starting was a headline. Now, the existence of 120 new or modified crypto related funds barely warrants a head nod.
Another major contributing factor for Bitcoin’s sizeable gains is the reality that Bitcoin futures will soon be traded on major regulated markets.
Two of the world’s largest futures markets, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and the Chicago Board of Options Exchange (CBOE), will soon launch Bitcoin futures.
As adoption increases, the network is forced to keep pace. However, Bitcoin has continued to maintain a huge transaction volume as the price has increased. As shown below, the daily transaction volume is now over $2 bln.
As transactions continue to proliferate, Bitcoin mining has become increasingly profitable as well.Miners today make $1.5 mln in fees alone, not including block rewards. As the market has increased, the mining returns have increased exponentially as well.
All this growth in adoption is not localized either. The entire global community has begun to embrace Bitcoin, from Venezuela to Zimbabwe, and from South Korea to Switzerland. The international transactions numbers have been steadily rising since Bitcoin’s inception.
The numbers are staggering, but what is most encouraging is that the growth in markets has not been geographically localized. A simple perusal of charts from various countries around the world indicates that adoption is not localized, but global, and nearly uniform.
So what happens next?
Coinivore reports that Hong Kong cryptocurrency exchange Gatecoin’s marketing chief Thomas Glucksmann says that Bitcoin’s price is “highly undervalued” even at $10,000 per coin.
In a televised interview with Bloomberg, Glucksmann was asked about Bitcoin’s “fair value,” at a time when the price is nearing $10,000 – an incredible unheard of 10x gain since just this year.
When he was asked if it was “impossible” to determine Bitcoin’s fair value, Glucksmann replied:
“I would still argue that it is highly, highly undervalued. If you look at the long-term potential of the technology in the next 10, 20, 30 years, $10,000 is cheap in my opinion,” he said.
While Bitcoin is now starting to be seen in the mainstream as a store of value among retail investors, it remains a peer-to-peer decentralized electronic cryptocurrency, a fact Glucksmann pointed out. “Bitcoin is divisible up to 8 decimal places,” he said.
Finally, we leave you with this…
“In the long long run, cryptocurrencies could matter. They just don’t matter today.”
-Fed Chair Nominee Jerome Powell