If you’ve been following the BTC/USD chart this year, you’ll see that a lot of bloodsheds has occurred for those who entered the market late in 2017.
The number one digital currency has fallen from highs of close to $20,000 down to a low of close to $6,000.
After a few flirtations around the $10,000 level, the price of BTC seems to have stabilized within a much narrower range.
Despite the dwindling prices, a load of innovation is still occurring in the Bitcoin and blockchain space.
Enhanced solutions from some of the crypto’s biggest players, additional trading platforms from established names, and the continued improvement of the second-layer protocols such as Lightning and Liquid networks strive to provide a more efficient user experience.
This can only bode well for Bitcoin’s long-term outlook.
Much of the bullish sentiment of late 2017 and early 2018 seems to have vanished from the typical channels of Bitcoin news and gossip.
Many believe that we’ve hit the bottom of the decline. Others think that we haven’t yet seen the worst of it, but a further retracement is warranted and, indeed, healthy.
After a violent upswing of around $800 in a matter of days, many on crypto Twitter and Reddit have started to make bold predictions based on fresh charts.
So, is Bitcoin’s upwards trend really back?
Bitcoin is Fundamentally Strong
As mentioned above, Bitcoin’s fundamentals seem strong.
Let’s look briefly at the technical, regulatory, and infrastructural advances that have been made in the last year.
Firstly, Segregated Witness is helping to alleviate congestion on the Bitcoin blockchain. The upgrade that was added to the network last August has helped reduce the size of many of the transactions occurring on the chain.
More can, therefore, be included in each block. Although the efficacy of the SegWit (nickname for Segregated Witness) update has yet to be fully tested since not every user is transacting with it and the transaction volume is considerably less than it was when fees hit their peak, the true power of SegWit will reveal itself during the next bull run.
Another pair of technological innovations that will help scale Bitcoin is Lightning and Liquid networks. These will help to facilitate a range of payments – from huge exchange transactions to micropayments for small items costing just a few dollars.
In terms of regulation, the future of Bitcoin also looks bright. This year, the US Securities and Exchange Commission stated categorically that Bitcoin is not a security. This means that it can continue to operate without falling under the remit of existing securities legislation. Many feared that such a change in the legal status of Bitcoin would be harmful to its price.
In other regulatory news, few governments seem intent on killing Bitcoin off as was once feared. Of course, China still expresses hostility towards technological innovation and has recently ramped up its offensive attitude. However, such an attitude from the Eastern power seems to be largely priced in and the recent news has not impacted the price whatsoever.
Bitcoin’s infrastructure also looks promising. Exciting announcements keep coming from established crypto companies as well as legacy financial institutions.
The recent news surrounding the soon-to-be-released Bakkt platform created by the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, Microsoft, Starbucks and others should provide better access for both retail investors and institutions looking to gain exposure to Bitcoin and other digital assets. This is a potentially massive development for the sphere and will provide more people with easy access to the crypto markets.
Elsewhere, the likes of Coinbase, Circle, and Blockchain are all exploring how to offer safe custody and a truly institutional level of service for the largest money managers to get into the market.
By offering to store and insure cryptocurrency holdings for their clients, these companies are removing as many of Bitcoin’s barriers to entry as possible for high net worth individuals and firms.
Not Everyone Thinks the Bottom is in
All this bodes excellently for the future price of Bitcoin. However, there are some who still believe a little more blood needs to be shed before the bottom is truly established and the uptrend can begin again.
The likes of Tone Vays with his controversial yet well-reasoned technical analysis of Bitcoin charts believes that the price is still heading for $3,000 to $5,000. Vays is a former Goldman Sachs trader with a long history on Wall Street before moving into the cryptocurrency space.
He is no bear when it comes to long-term price projections. However, he does believe that such a parabolic run-up last year needs to let off some more steam before the true accumulation phase.
Tone’s sentiments are echoed by other pro-Bitcoin thinkers too. The market is still hurting after many were burnt by the 2017 bubble bursting and prices dropping spectacularly. Once a true bottom is in, investors and the public will only need a small spark to set off the next bullish movement in price.
This could well be the launch of the Bakkt platform, which is planned for November. It could also be the approval of a Bitcoin ETF at the beginning of 2019.
Where Do We Go from Here?
Whether you think Bitcoin’s bottom has already been set and the price can only get higher from here, or if you believe there is more bleeding to come, one thing is certain: Bitcoin is not going anywhere.
However, the market is mostly driven by sentiment for now.