Cryptocurrencies head into the weekend lower on the week, still under pressure from the Securities and Exchange Commission’s rejection of a bid for the first-ever bitcoin-related exchange-traded-fund. Some analysts anticipate a continued price slide into year-end.
Bitcoin () was trading at $7,414.82 around 4 p.m. EDT Friday, down 10.4 percent from a week before, according to ThirtyK data provided by . Bitcoin has been on a fast and furious ride this year, having fallen from a high for this year of more than $17,000 in January. It hit an all-time high of nearly $20,000 in December 2017.
For the long term, Mashinsky sees cryptocurrency prices pushing up, but in the short term he anticipates continued volatility.
Given lofty market levels, a correction makes sense, , a cryptocurrency analyst and trader and former analyst on Wall Street, tells ThirtyK. “Bitcoin got overbought,” he says. “People really want to believe it’s the future, and I agree with that.” The market, however, must face multiple hurdles before adoption can become widespread, he says.
Vays sees bitcoin plodding back down to the $5,000 level as soon as the end of August amid a price correction and as the market works through kinks, including the need for increased privacy. His most bearish view: Bitcoin will fall back to its April 2017 level of $1,300.
An ETF This Year?
In a dated July 26, the agency cited issues with fraud and investor protection. The SEC has yet to approve a cryptocurrency-based ETF, although at least two more proposals — from and a joint proposal from — remain under review.
Vays says investors need an alternative to the Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC), which is the closest product to a cryptocurrency ETF, but he doesn’t envision the SEC approving an ETF this year. Chris Dannen, founder and principal of , tells ThirtyK there’s a “stupendous amount of optimism around one of the ETFs passing.”
Fear of Fake Cryptocurrencies
Analysts also say the sheer number of new cryptocurrencies and blockchain projects — cites 996 initial coin offerings so far in 2018 — has overwhelmed investors, and the emergence of ICO scammers has created some anxiety.
This spring, a Chinese government-backed industry organization released a on fake cryptocurrencies, noting that, as of April, its platform had found 421 fake cryptocurrencies. The SEC itself a fake digital currency, , to warn investors about ICO scammers.
“That’s been the bugbear over the last six months, that 99% of what’s on the board is garbage,” Dannen says.
What’s more, several large companies this year have announced they will no longer accept bitcoin, a move that hasn’t inspired confidence. Digital payments giant Stripe gave up on bitcoin in January, followed by social media company Reddit in March and global travel website Expedia in June.
The Rising Tide of Newbies
Another major factor driving markets is a shift in investor base, Alex Mashinsky, a blockchain entrepreneur and founder of Celsius Network, tells ThirtyK.
“You’re seeing this rising tide of newbies coming in and taking over accounts all over the world,” he says. “There’s a handoff going on.” Market movements continue to be exaggerated by speculators, he adds.
For the long term, Mashinsky sees prices pushing up, but in the short term he anticipates continued volatility. He predicts widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies won’t come until there’s a catastrophic event in the stock, bond or real estate market.
“Until we see a mass exodus from other assets,” Mashinsky says, “it’s just going to be this gradual growth.”