Bitcoin hit the $15,000 threshold for the first time today. The cryptocurrency has experienced an incredible surge in value; at the beginning of 2017, a single Bitcoin was worth under $800.
The new record high comes after the announcement last week that a US regulator agreed to let two traditional exchanges, CME Group and CBOE Global Markets, begin trading in Bitcoin-related financial contracts.
The announcement from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) that it will allow investors to buy and sell “future” contracts in bitcoins – an agreement to buy the crypto-currency, for example, in three months time at a certain price – was seen as a watershed moment for Bitcoin.
Cambridge Global Payments director of global product and market strategy Karl Schamotta said that announcement was behind the spike in value: “The perception in households around the world that the CME and the CBOE are providing legitimacy to Bitcoin is really what is driving the massive rally here.”
What happens next is anyone’s guess, and most analysts are united only in their uncertainty over the cryptocurrency’s future. Bitcoin ceased to be useful for actually purchasing things long ago (mainly because of it’s rocketing value and also because of the extremely slow transaction times) so the questions facing investors are: is this a bubble? And if so, when will it burst?
In a sense Bitcoin is undergoing a classic bubble. The rise in price has motivated more buying, which in turn raises the price. The rise in price motivates more buying, and this cycle continues for a time. Eventually the process will reverse. The price will ultimately reach a high that encourages Bitcoin owners to sell. When enough sell, the price will start to drop. The drop in price will motivate more selling, which will lower the price further.
Some traders figure we’re already getting close to this stage, and are preparing to short Bitcoin. “[It’s] one of the greatest shorting opportunities ever,” cryptocurrency Lou Kerner told Bloomberg earlier this week. “You have a lot of zealotry, and a lot of people, including me, who think it’s the greatest thing to ever happen in the history of mankind. You have a lot of people who think it’s a bubble and a Ponzi scheme. It turns out both of them can’t be right.”
Although the general trend for Bitcoin’s valuation is only up, the cryptocurrency has been extremely volatile. On November 29th, for example, its value fell 20 percent in less than an hour and half; dropping from over $11,000 a tick above $9000. For true believers, such blips are only temporary, but skeptics caution that any plunge could end up being permanent. After crossing $15,000 earlier today it’s value quickly dipped down to around $14,800.
If you’re thinking about investing in Bitcoin, or indeed the shorting of, contact the Kwanji team to see how we can help navigate the volatile currency markets and get the best deal on any foreign exchange.