Most major cryptocurrencies fell this week despite several pieces of news showing more signs of wider of digital currencies. Investors, however, seemed more focused on news surrounding U.S. dollar-backed token tether (USDT).
Bitcoin (BTC) bounced around the $6,500 mark for most of the week. Friday afternoon it was down 0.2 percent at $6,575.38. Ether (ETH) was down 0.3 percent to $223.23, while Ripple (XRP) was off 3.8 percent to 51 cents. Bitcoin cash (BCH), which rallied for most of last week, was down nearly 1 percent to $511.90 late Friday.
, a cryptocurrency analyst and trader, and former analyst on Wall Street, tells ThirtyK he doesn’t anticipate bitcoin will be able to climb above $7,000 anytime soon, a level it last surpassed in early September. Bitcoin soared over $19,000 last December.
“I’m still expecting that illusive drop to $5,000” as the bear market continues, he says. The digital currencies market as a whole has been trending lower since December, correcting from what many have called an overbought status.
All Eyes on Tether
Alex Mashinsky, a blockchain entrepreneur and founder of Celsius Network, tells ThirtyK he’s closely watching tether, adding that potential issues with the token could pull prices down across the market.
Noble Bank International, a Puerto Rico firm known for offering services to tether, has indicated on its website it used Bank of New York Mellon as its custodian. However, on Monday, reported a source saying BNY Mellon no longer has a banking relationship with Noble. For a bank, losing its custodian could have serious repercussions including reduced liquidity with its accounts and difficulties with liquidation.
A this week said new financial data from Puerto Rico suggest Tether may be diversifying to other banks. Bank deposits in the International Financial Entities (IFE) category, which includes Noble Bank, Bitmex reports, were down 18.4 percent in the quarter to $2.9 billion. That’s despite continued growth in tether.
“There’s never a dull moment in the cryptosphere,” Mashinsky said. “There could be renewed negative pressure on bitcoin and Ethereum as a result of doubts and issues with tether. Not everything that seems to be stable is stable.” Mashinsky expects to see pressure on the market over the next two to three weeks from news surrounding tether.
He also pointed to recent added pressure on litecoin (LTC) and ripple. “Many [hedge] funds still feel these coins are overvalued,” said Mashinsky, “and the projects have not necessarily delivered on what they promised to stakeholders. Right now, the industry is waiting for some good news to really change the momentum.”
Where’s the Momentum?
Gina Heng, co-founder and CEO of the Marvelstone Group, a private investment group based in Singapore, and founder of Miss Kaya, a money management tool for women, tells ThirtyK she believes bitcoin just doesn’t have the ability to break out of the $5,800 to $6,400 range it’s been bandying about. “Now, we observe short-term rebounds only,” she said.
“I’m not sure whether we have strong momentum to push the price up or even down,” said Heng. “We know that more institutions are coming into the game, so let’s see.”
Goldman had said it was looking into possibly starting a new trading operation for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Last month, Fidelity Investments CEO Abigail Johnson said the firm has cryptocurrency-related projects underway, which could be revealed by the end of the year.
Rising During A Recession
Investors this week were mulling over news late Wednesday that Gemini Trust Company, the digital asset exchange Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss founded, secured insurance for its digital assets. Analysts say the announcement could prompt more traditional investors to venture into the digital currencies market.
Meantime, investors digested a survey by Fundstrat Global Advisors that found nearly three quarters of institutional investors believe the value of cryptocurrencies will rise during a recession. And while a recession in the U.S. is likely not imminent, it may not be far off. A recent survey by the National Association for Business Economics found two-thirds of business economists in the U.S. expect a recession to begin by end 2020.
The Fundstrat survey also found that central banks are seen as the biggest factor influencing cryptocurrency prices. More than half of the institutional investors polled said XRP was the most polarizing virtual currency and the price of bitcoin has bottomed.
‘Cryptodad’ Chimes In
The crypto space also got another nod this week from Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Christopher Giancarlo. Giancarlo, who’s been dubbed “cryptodad” by the cryptocommunity for his support of digital currencies, said in a CNBC interview that he believes cryptocurrencies are here to stay.
Giancarlo said the asset class would not meaningfully challenge hard currencies like the U.S. dollar, adding that cryptocurrencies have a lot of potential in countries where the national currency struggles to hold its value.
In the past, he’s said his agency is falling behind in blockchain compared to other nations, specifically calling out the Bank of England’s blockchain efforts.