Bitcoin price has been soaring recently. For many Bitcoin enthusiasts, it would not be a surprise to see a market capitalization of over 200 billions in the next two years.
On April 24th, Erik Voorhees predicted a $300 billion market capitalization on Twitter: “Tokens as an asset class have surpassed $30 billion. I predict over $300 billion within 4 years.”
So what factors are contributing to driving Bitcoin price up?
Estimates and data are still showing that more than 85 percent of global Bitcoin trading comes from China. Other countries have a much smaller impact. Of course, with so many data coming from every directions, it’s hard to precisely get those numbers.
Market analysts, economists and financial experts, like CFA Prableen Bajpaiare, report current fears in China and Asia that the yuan could depreciate as reasons for increased investments in bitcoin.
Other analysts have the same opinion: “Signs indicate Bitcoin’s price has become linked to a number of macroeconomic factors in China,” said Vijay Michalik, research analyst for digital transformation at consultancy Frost & Sullivan.
“It highlights growing concerns about yuan currency deflation, as bitcoin’s appeal has grown as an alternative asset class for a population deprived of many investment choices.”
“The most likely explanation appears to be linked to market confidence in the Asia region, with low confidence in local currencies providing a major boost to bitcoin demand,” said James Lynn, U.K. managing director at investment company Billon Group, in a 2016 CNBC interview.
Another relevant macro indicator is that there is a big devaluation of currencies in other emerging markets such as India and Russia. For example, the Indian Rupee went down 20 percent in 2017 compared to the US dollar (USD).
Even if the USD is going up compared to other fiat currencies, people all over the world are looking for alternatives to the USD. Recently, Bitcoin is one solid contender for alternatives! On the other hand, Ripple, Ethereum and Litecoin have been boosting the altcoin markets. Between March 12 to May 12, Ripple (XRP)’s market cap went from $250M to 7.5B, a phenomenal 3000 percent increase. That’s right: if you had invested $10,000 in XRP two months ago, you would have $300,000 today.
Let’s be honest, this is completely insane!
We know that Russians were exchanging their depreciating rubles for Bitcoin in 2016. The ruble tumbled and billions of dollars were transacted in the latest months, which is big enough for the Russian Ministry of Finance to come up with statements about money laundering and the possibility to tax and regulate Bitcoin as an asset. Russia may recognize bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in 2018 as authorities look to enforce rules against illegal transfers, Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev told Bloomberg in an interview in April 2017. Mr Moiseev added that “The state needs to know who at every moment of time stands on both sides of the financial chain”.
Blockchain companies funding
Another important factor is the emergence of blockchain companies using tokens. Bitcoin start-ups, which have attracted huge investments in Bitcoin and blockchain companies with a total funding of $550 million in 2016, are now increasing the bitcoin demand in 2017.
Back to China
In a yuan currency deflation, Bitcoin is accessible and very appealing. Monetary policies and regulations also contribute to demand for Bitcoin in China. In fact, many Chinese companies and rich individuals want to hide their assets from the government.
Bitcoin is now less volatile and more stable than previously, so bigger investors are tempted by the cryptocurrency. It has a better historical chart now, so people have more confidence in it.
“The biggest driver right now is you’re starting to see institutional investors take a keen interest in the entire sector,” said Brian Kelly, founder of Brian Kelly Capital.
Japan, important growth
BitFlyer is the biggest exchange in Japan, with 70 percent of the market, but the country accounts for a relatively small world market slice of around 2.5 percent: $18,071,700 24h volume today. At the same time, there is a considerable increase in demand in Japan. In the last 6 months Japan represented 0.91 percent of the total bitcoin trading volume, but in the last 30 days there has been a surprising increase to 6 percent, based on unofficial estimates and data provided by coinmarketcap.com and data.bitcoinity.org. So, things start to get very interesting in Japan as well.
Koji Higashi, a writer that covers the Japanese crypto space, reports that a new wave of Japanese investors are boosting the price of altcoins.
Every thing is bright in the Bitcoin sky right now
What bad news could potentially derail this?
An increase in the price of commodities, especially gold, would hurt Bitcoin’s value, but this is not happening right now. Gold is down 4.58 percent in the last 30 days, almost -3 percent this year… and -22.32 percent in the last 5 years. This also goes in favor for Bitcoin. The Bitcoin / Gold chart is interesting.
A Bejing intervention could also halt the exchanges trades. While no one can predict what China will do this year, it seems plausible that at some point the government could take action. The trend toward higher transaction fees implemented by China’s biggest exchanges could continue.
Image from BTC Keychain/Flickr.