Investors, traders, and speculators are jumping into the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency markets again, sending prices soaring across the board.
Over the last seven days, Bitcoin has gained 25.74%, Ethereum 18.76%, Ripple 16.12%, and Litecoin 53.20%–see table 1. The rally was extended across the cryptocurrency markets, with 94 out of the top 100 cryptocurrencies gaining in price-see table 2.
7d Price Change For Major Cryptocurrenciess
Number of Cryptocurrencies That Advanced/Declined In The Top 100 Ranks
The recent Bitcoin rally has left left stocks, bonds, and the yellow metal in the dust, so far, in 2019-see chart.
What could explain the rally?
Several factors. One of them is the renewed interest by big money. “The recent surge in Bitcoin has been sparked by a large buy order – rumored to be around $100 million – that sent BTC straight through technical resistance ($4,235) that had been in place since the start of December 2018,” says Nicholas Cawley from the DailyFX team.” “The lack of volatility in Bitcoin over the last few weeks has kept prices in-check, and low volume markets are always more susceptible to sharp moves than more liquid markets.”
Kirill Bensonoff, a technology advisor, agrees. “The surge was obviously fueled by a very large order, in the tens of millions of dollars,” says Bensonoff. “This is another sign that institutional players are coming into the market.”
Then there’s the prospect of lower interest rates, which turns risk on again for all sorts of speculative investments.
And there are the “market technicals.” Market volumes are up 3 to 4 times normal turnover, exacerbating the sharp rally,” observes Cawley. “In addition to the clean break of resistance, the move also broke through the 200-day moving average around $4,650 with ease, enabling the rally to continue.”
How far will the rally go? Will Bitcoin ever reach the $20,000 mark again? It all depends on whether regulators will approve financial instruments that allow for broad investor participation in the cryptocurrency markets, like Electronically Trading Funds (ETFs), according to Bensonoff. “For Bitcoin to hit $20,000 in 2019, we would need a major catalyst, and I believe the only one with this much force would be ETF approval,” says Bensonoff. “Without it, we are looking at a $10,000 best case scenario.”
While it’s unclear whether which of the two scenarios will come true, one thing is clear: volatility will continue in the cryptocurrency markets, creating new winners and losers.