In an unpredictable turn of events, Bitcoin, the progenitor of digital currency, has recently hit its highest level in a year, marking a comeback for the cryptocurrency industry despite its year-long struggles. As the original cryptocurrency, Bitcoin has overcome several challenges and hit a 2023 peak above $31,013, its most elevated level since June 2022. At one point, the digital currency briefly soared to $31,410 before dialing back some of the gains.
This extraordinary upswing represents an almost 100% increase since the beginning of the year. However, it is worth noting that Bitcoin still languishes more than 50% below its all-time high of nearly $69,000. This resurgence in Bitcoin prices seems to have ignited a rally in other cryptocurrencies, with Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, following suit.
This recent surge in Bitcoin’s price is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of the crypto market, which many had prematurely written off following a series of high-impact scams and company failures. These unfortunate incidents, while posing significant challenges, had left the industry with a tarnished reputation among investors.
Strahinja Savic, head of data and analytics at FRNT Financial, offers a perspective on the current state of the market, stating that the industry’s woes are not just survived but capitalized upon. According to Savic, “From the ardent Bitcoiner’s perspective, the token’s most fundamental investment thesis is playing out: inflation, monetary mismanagement, banking crises, sovereign debt anxiety, US-dollar-reserve-status questions are all playing a role in giving Bitcoiners an ‘I told you so’ moment.”
One event that has reignited the crypto fervor was the unexpected filing by BlackRock Inc. for a US spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). Such a product doesn’t currently exist, but if regulators were to approve it, this would represent a significant victory for those who have been advocating for this type of investment product for years.
BlackRock’s ETF filing has been hailed as a game-changer for Bitcoin due to its strong track record with regulators and ETF approvals. The investment titan’s commitment to the filing suggests a strong belief in Bitcoin’s long-term strength, triggering optimism among crypto enthusiasts. An approval, if granted, would dramatically reshape Bitcoin’s market structure by lowering the barriers for financial advisors to offer exposure to Bitcoin through a trusted, accessible investment vehicle.
This rally has been further bolstered by other recent news. EDX Markets, a new crypto exchange backed by financial giants including Citadel Securities, Fidelity Digital Assets, and Charles Schwab Corp., has recently announced it has gone live. Furthermore, JPMorgan Chase & Co. has expanded its high-profile project to bring blockchain technology to traditional banking, introducing euro-denominated payments for corporate clients using its JPM Coin.
However, the crypto market still has to navigate the significant obstacle of regulatory scrutiny. The SEC has increased its focus on the crypto space following last year’s numerous instances of scams and the fallout of once-prominent companies, including FTX. This has led to a significant decline in retail investor participation, which has had a dramatic impact on trading volumes.
While this regulatory crackdown overshadows the industry, some crypto market experts still see reasons for optimism. Noelle Acheson, the author of the “Crypto Is Macro Now” newsletter, points out that “even a tiny uptick in large investor interest would be enough to move the price,” citing the thin liquidity and the relatively small amount of Bitcoin available to new investors.
This year has shown that, despite the challenges the crypto industry faces, it continues to demonstrate an impressive level of resilience and adaptability. While the hurdles are significant, the industry’s inherent resilience and renewed investor enthusiasm may just be the impetus it needs to thrive in the coming months and years.