Up or Down? The Difficulties in Predicting Where Bitcoin Will Go
In what should come as no surprise, bitcoin seems to be splitting people right down the middle. Some claim it’s the financial wave of the future, while others, like Warren Buffett, say bitcoin is a joke that shouldn’t be considered as a serious investment. Much like America’s political climate, cryptocurrency sentiment isn’t swaying in one direction but appears equally divided between opposing sides.
This has caused several issues, one being that it’s hard to predict where bitcoin will wind up in 2018. Some are bearish to the hilt; others say bitcoin is on the verge of exploding. This is no different from what analysts have been saying for years, only this time, the numbers couldn’t be further apart.
One source leans deep into the negative, predicting bitcoin will crash to $3,500 before starting a slow climb to $5,000, and it’s hard to dismiss the data outright. The source explains, “When the new price range between $20,000 and $3,500 is formally established, a first pullback-level would be considered at $10,000.”
This seemingly occurred just a few weeks ago. Bitcoin had hit a new high at the end of 2017, settling over $19,000 before falling hard in the new year. In February, however, bitcoin appeared to be developing new resistance at $10,000, just as the source predicted. The piece also mentions that the price would then fall towards $9,000 which we’ve also seen. At press time, bitcoin is trading for approximately $9,600, though it was trading for as low as $9,400 earlier this week. It has remained in this window for several days, though the source suggests a fall to $8,000 could occur, followed by the heftier drop to $3,500.
The first steps of what was suggested have taken place, making it hard to wave off the article’s remaining predictions, but bitcoin did briefly recover in mid-February after falling below $6,000. From there, the currency nearly reached $12,000 before falling to its present status. The probability of this move is not mentioned in the source, suggesting moves the analyst could not have predicted…
But he is not alone in his sentiment. In fact, some delve even further into the possibility of bitcoin’s fall. One source suggests bitcoin could drop as low as $1,000, which would virtually erase the bull run witnessed in 2017 from the history books, while other alleged experts, like economist Nouriel Roubini (known as “Dr. Doom” by most cryptocurrency fanatics for his pessimistic views), believe bitcoin could drop to zero, becoming an obsolete commodity. Roubini claims bitcoin is too vulnerable to market manipulation and calls it the “biggest bubble in history.”
Some are taking a “middle stance” on bitcoin’s price, saying it could reach solid highs before tanking in devastating fashion. One of these figures is former Wall Street trader Jordan Belfort. In a recent interview, Belfort compared bitcoin to what he called “blind pools” – systems of trading scams common in the 1980s. While he doesn’t feel bitcoin itself is a scam, he called the technology behind it “flawed,” and said the currency is a common target of con artists and intense market manipulation. He doesn’t presume to know when bitcoin will come crashing down, but he’s certain it will happen.
Some may find it difficult to believe the words of one who served nearly two years in prison for alleged penny stock scams, but Belfort’s statements are reminiscent of those uttered by cryptocurrency entrepreneur Julian Hosp. As the co-founder and president of TenX, a firm devoted to making virtual currencies easy to spend, Hosp boasts a strong background in digital assets. His predictions echo that of Belfort, who claimed bitcoin could potentially reach $50,000 before dropping hard. Hosp goes even further with his prediction, claiming that bitcoin could reach the higher number of $60,000 before full-on crashing and burning.
Interestingly, however, Hosp’s words are dated back to December 2017, just a few weeks before the occurrence of “Red Tuesday.” In early January, investors saw their earnings fall hard, with figures like the Winklevoss Twins of Gemini fame turning from bitcoin billionaires to millionaires in just a matter of days. Bitcoin fell by over 50 percent, dropping from the previous $19,000+ figure to just over $8,000 for most of the month. In many ways, one could take this as the crash having already occurred. Bitcoin later saw a brief period of ascension before falling back to the $9,000 range, which is still higher than where it stood a month ago. Given the present market climate, it may be logical to believe that Hosp’s predicted crash has already happened and that a rise to $50,000 or $60,000 may be the next step…
This is the sentiment of the “other half” of bitcoin experts, who feel bitcoin has paid its dues, withstood the falls and will now ascend higher than anyone imagined. Contrary to the previous figures, several believe 2018 will be a year when bitcoin reaches its highest potential and exceeds all expectations.
One such figure is Jamie Burke, CEO of blockchain investment firm Outlier Ventures. In a recent interview with CNBC, Burke specifically mentions that bitcoin and assorted altcoins will experience massive bull runs “after February,” thus pushing the cryptocurrency market beyond the trillion-dollar mark. With February in its final days, now may be the time to monitor the market closely.
Thomas Glucksmann, an executive with Hong Kong-based bitcoin token exchange Gatecoin, has similar thoughts. Thanks to ongoing regulatory practices, blockchain product launches and improvements in bitcoin’s transaction speeds, the currency could reach $50,000 without fail by the year’s end. Unlike Belfort and Hosp, neither Burke nor Glucksmann mentions the idea of a sudden crash, suggesting they feel assured bitcoin can travel northward without encountering further bumps.
Other experts are so enthusiastic about bitcoin’s alleged promise that they’re “doubling” up on Glucksmann’s and Burke’s predictions, saying the currency could go as high as $100,000 in the next ten months.
Saxo Bank analyst Kay Van-Petersen is one of those soothsayers. For many, Van-Petersen holds solid ground in the cryptocurrency arena due to his prediction of the bitcoin bull run in 2017. The analyst had suggested bitcoin would hit $2,000 during this time, which it did. The currency continued to move up from there, and as his previous suggestion had become a solid reality, many feel Van-Petersen will be right again and are readying themselves for a $100,000 boom. Now, to be completely fair, Van-Petersen suggests a final 2018 tally somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000, and a six-figure mark is not a firm prediction, but he believes it’s certainly possible. Like Glucksmann and Burke, Van-Petersen does not discuss the possibility of an upcoming crash.
So, who should we believe? Will bitcoin go up, down, or stay where it is? Financial experts seem to be caught in a mixed web of stamina and doubt, and with so many analysts going in different directions, it’s hard to pinpoint where bitcoin will stand in the coming months, but there are trends occurring that may offer a few hints.
Let’s look at September of last year. Following a steady rise beyond $4,000, bitcoin dropped to around $3,500. This put investors on edge, though their confidence was restored a month later when bitcoin jumped beyond $5,000. Two months later, bitcoin prices rose by over $10,000.
We are witnessing similar activity now. Bitcoin was at $8,000 in early February. It moved above $11,000 a few weeks later, then fell to its present price. This is similar to what we witnessed five months ago, and a reminder of bitcoin’s volatility. While the price isn’t where we’d like it to be, it’s still higher than where it was in January, suggesting that bitcoin is exhibiting necessary resistance and possibly even preparing itself for another (perhaps slow-moving) bull run like in September…
But when that bull run occurs is another matter. The latter half of experts suggest 2018 to be the year of that run, but let’s delve deeper. To do this, we need to go back to early 2015, when bitcoin experienced a massive drop from where it stood during the latter half of 2014.
Nearly four years ago, bitcoin was trading between $400 and $500. Its stance had taken a nosedive following the Mt. Gox debacle, but things were solid compared to where they would be just a few months later. In January 2015, investors saw more of their profits disappear after bitcoin dropped below $200. While a small jump occurred shortly after, bitcoin spent most of the year trading at approximately half of where it had stood in 2014. It wasn’t until November of that year when things began picking back up. Bitcoin jumped to $400, then $500 prior to the summer of 2016. Six months later, bitcoin would be trading at about $900, before going on its widely predicted bull run.
At the end of 2017, bitcoin appeared to have peaked, and a month later, prices radically dropped and bitcoin lost over half its value. This is exactly what occurred between 2014 and 2015, and we are seeing the same behavior witnessed three years ago (although prices are higher now). Should these trends continue and 2018 mirrors 2015, the bull run predicted by Glucksmann and Burke for this year may not happen until 2019 or even 2020.
We have witnessed the same fall this January as we did in early 2015. Thus, 2018 could be the year in which bitcoin decides to stay put before going on an “explosion run” in the final months. We would then witness steady hikes in 2019, followed by bursts (like those of 2017) occurring two years from now.
We certainly want the bull run Burke and his counterparts predicted to occur sooner rather than later, but bitcoin seems to be traveling in a circle and granted the before-mentioned behavioral similarities continue, a larger price rise may happen in the not-so-distant future rather than right away.
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