Bitcoin investors will no doubt have vivid memories of the insane run this crypto had at the end of 2017. Buoyed by the tremendous rally Bitcoin enjoyed through 2017, many cryptocurrency optimists predicted big things for this premier digital asset. Starting at $963 on January 1, 2017, Bitcoin maintained the momentum and burst into a frenzied rally, gathering more than $1000k every month until it touched a peak of 19,118.30 on 19 December 2017. Bitcoin savant and eccentric millionaire John McAfee had predicted that Bitcoin would hit $1 million following the prediction of $7000 for 2017, which it breached by 3x.
The spate of upbeat predictions continues. Bitcoin maximalist Sonny Singh called BTC an “800-pound gorilla” set to reach $15,000–20,000 by Thanksgiving 2019, given the probability of crypto ETF looming large and a high influx of funding for startups. Some are even more optimistic on an early rally. Coinlist cites a new report in which cryptocurrency analyst and “crypto bull” Tom Lee predicts that Bitcoin will recover to $15,000 by end of 2018, although this is a cut of $10,000 from Lee’s initial prediction of $25,000 for the end of this year.
2018: Bad news galore
If Bitcoin had a dream run in 2017, 2018 was something of a reality check for millions of Bitcoin buffs. Bitcoin corrected through 2018 to a low of 3,609 as of December 10, 2018. Bitcoin prices struggled to find the floor amid regulatory concerns, and warnings and criticism from the traditional financial industry. South Korean exchange Coinrail warned its users that it is reviewing its system owing to a hacking attempt. Regulatory crackdown and probe by the US Security Exchange Commission (SEC) on allegations of BTC price manipulation were not good news for Bitcoin evangelists. Although 2018 was an anemic year for Bitcoin, crypto analysts justify the dull performance citing the plunge in tech stocks Amazon, Apple and Facebook. It was a dull performance in a dull year, they argue. However, even if Bitcoin does not meet predictions by 2018, the stage is no doubt set for a good score in 2019.
Why Bitcoin will soar in 2019
In an interview in August 2018, Litecoin founder Charlie Lee acknowledged that it was a depressing year for cryptocurrencies. However, he said that developers should put their heads down and focus on pushing the envelope and work on the maturation of the industry. Some innovators did just that. Although the biggest news of the year, Bakkt, did not do much for Bitcoin in 2018, the expectations are that it will spur a dream rally in 2019. In 2018, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) announced plans to launch a crypto-centric platform in collaboration with Microsoft, Starbucks, and a group of A-list firms and funds. The Bakkt platform, in anticipation of increased institutional, merchant and consumer participation in digital assets, is coming up with innovations that will turn the crypto industry on its head and pave the way for Bitcoin futures.
The regulatory landscape in the US is looking up too. The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws voted to approve the use and promotion of Bitcoin and blockchain. Elad Roisman, who is known to be supportive of cryptocurrencies, was appointed as Commissioner of US’ SEC. Bitcoin has captured the attention of the traditional financial industry’s biggest institutions, with admiration and acceptance replacing skepticism and intrigue. Morgan Stanley and Citigroup are in the process of launching futures and derivatives products based on Bitcoin.
Besides the interest of mainstream financial institutions in Bitcoin, exciting technological developments are underway. All these factors are expected to act as catalysts and propel the second Bitcoin bull run in 2019.