BITCOIN’S 40,000 MPH SPEED BUMP

If you didn’t check the price of bitcoin this week, you would be forgiven for thinking that nothing happened of consequence. However, it had a very volatile couple of days. After staying above $40,000 for much of January 10, by the next morning bitcoin was threatening to fall below $30,000. Additionally, this sudden fall led to double-digit drops in many altcoins, such as ether, litecoin and XRP. In what could only be considered perfect timing, the U.K.’s financial regulator issued the following statement, “As with all high-risk, speculative investments, consumers should make sure they understand what they’re investing in… If consumers invest in these types of product, they should be prepared to lose all their money.

That said, as it has done countless times in the past, by midweek the market had come back around. On Thursday bitcoin recrossed $40,000, albeit briefly, and ether started to threaten its all-time high price of $1,432. Now that crypto is back to the line of scrimmage, analysts are trying to determine what lies ahead. Many analysts are predicting that bitcoin will bounce around $40,000 until a new direction becomes clear. That said, crypto will probably get a short-term boost from additional stimulus coming out of Washington. 

BITCOIN HOARDERS HAVE THE LAST LAUGH 

Sometimes vindication is more valuable than material gain. But it does not hurt when it comes with a giant mountain of cash, or crypto. When the market crashed at the end of 2017, outside observers thought that crypto’s moment was over, destined for the dustbin with all the other bubbles that have burst over time.

However, as the world dealt with Covid-19, the industry roared back to life, richly rewarding many true believers that held and grew their holdings during the crypto winter. Now, some of crypto’s biggest backers are ready to take a victory lap, many as newly-minted billionaires.This 180 is probably sweetest for Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the founders of Gemini and early backers of Mark Zuckerberg, who each own more than $1.5 billion worth of crypto. 

Source: Messari. Prices as of 4:00 p.m. on January 15, 2021.

AN END TO THE ERA OF GOOD FEELINGS?

During an interview at a Reuters conference, the president of the European Central Bank (ECB), Christine Lagarde, noted that bitcoin had some “funny business” and asked for a global layer of regulation for bitcoin.This sentiment is not original. After all, crypto has had to deal with a perception that it is primarily geared towards illicit actors.  However, this statement came with some crucial context, principally that the ECB is making progress on its own digital currency. 

In fact, it came at the same time as the ECB releasing the results of the end of public consultation around the digital euro, as well as a statement from Christine Lagarde that the digital euro was likely to come about in the next five years. However, despite the open process being undertaken by the ECB, crucial questions remain about the level of privacy that will be protected by a digital euro, one of the key value propositions underpinning cryptocurrencies. 

BITCOIN BANKING BOOM COMING 

If the common saying that once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, thrice is a trend has any merit, then we can safely say that bitcoin banks have arrived. Just months after Kraken and Avanti received licenses in Wyoming to set up a new type of crypto-focused bank, prominent crypto custodian and infrastructure provider Anchorage’s national bank charter application has received conditional approval from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). 

In announcing the decision, the OCC said, “By bringing this applicant into the federal banking system, the bank and industry will benefit from the OCC’s extensive supervisory experience and expertise. At the same time, the Anchorage approval demonstrates that the national bank charters provided under the National Bank Act are broad and flexible enough to accommodate evolving approaches to financial services in the 21st century.” Finally, it is seen as a parting gift to the crypto industry from Acting Comptroller Brian Brooks, who stepped down this week to make way for his Biden-appointed successor. 

LIVE WEBINAR

As Bitcoin gains 400% from a year ago, surging past $35,000, many are wondering what’s next for the breakthrough currency and other crypto assets.

Join Forbes crypto experts Steven Ehrlich and Michael del Castillo on Tuesday, January 19th at 2PM EST for a live webinar where they’ll discuss what’s in store for bitcoin and alternative assets in the year ahead. 

ELSEWHERE

FinCEN Extends Comment Period for Controversial Crypto Wallet Rule [CoinDesk]

Miami Mayor Wants to Put Some of the City’s Treasury Reserves into Bitcoin [The Block]

Intercontinental Exchange’s Cryptocurrency Venture to Go Public Through a SPAC [WSJ]



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