April 13, 2024
Crypto

Bitcoin, After 18 Months Of Knockdowns, Enters 2024 Championship Round


If cryptocurrency were a sport, it would be boxing.

“And we’re in the championship rounds,” says Asad Saddique, CTO of Cryptonary, a media and research platform for 195,397 traders and investors established in 2017.

On October 1, 1981, Larry Holmes said, “Anything can happen in a fight between heavyweights.” And, much like boxing, cryptocurrency is unpredictable.

For the past year and a half, cryptocurrency has been much like the third match between England-born Tyson Fury and Deotany Wilder, full of dramatic knockdowns, shocking twists, and surprising turns.

Blow by Blow, Bit by Bit

“We’ve seen exchanges blow up, we’ve seen exchanges sued, and we’ve seen SEC sanctions on exchanges. We’ve had 18 months of price decline, 18 months of volatility, and 18 months of negativity,” said Saddique.

Like Fury’s sudden rise from the canvas, many investors continue to withstand the woes despite the flurry of blows to Bitcoin’s $831 billion market capitalization.

The most dramatic was on November 7, 2022, when Bitcoin hit its then-2-year low of $15,625 when the Binance acquisition fell apart. Two days later, FTX filed for U.S. bankruptcy protection.

Then Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX was charged and convicted of multiple fraud counts later that month in Judge Lewis Kaplan’s Manhattan federal courtroom.

Fast forward to November 2023, and Binance was ordered by the Department of Justice to pay $4.3 billion in fines and fees. CEO Changpeng Zhao pleaded guilty to one federal charge.

“Binance became the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange in part because of the crimes it committed,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland via the November 21 press release.

In another shake-up, just this past Friday, December 29, prosecutors elected not to pursue a second trial against Bankman-Fried.

Crypto’s Counterpunching

Despite the shake-ups, interest and investment is up. Google Trends search data for Bitcoin has increased by approximately 72.9% in the United States alone, from 48 to 83, and then, on December 8, 2023, Bitcoin’s price hit an 18-month high of $44,543.

And now, as the SEC’s January 10 deadline for approving a Bitcoin-focused exchange-traded fund is looming larger, Saddique is working harder.

Cryptonary hired five full-time team members in November, and the Google Analytics data Saddique shared shows a 108.8% user growth rate, up 56.5% from the previous 30 days. “The sentiment we share is we’re still here, and we’ll keep rising.” And Saddique isn’t the only one biting down on the mouthpiece.

Switching Stances: Advocates and Skeptics

Michael Saylor, executive chairman of MicroStrategy,MSTR is arguably the most prominent Bitcoin advocate today.

According to an 8-K form MicroStrategy filed with the SEC on December 27, 2023, MicroStrategy purchased 14,620 Bitcoins for $616 million. Their Bitcoin holdings now total 189,150, or approximately $8 Billion worth as of the purchase date, according to a December 27 story by David Pan at Bloomberg.

Saylor spoke about the pending ETF announcement with CoinDesk Daily host Jennifer Sanasie on December 23, 2023, and said, “It’s not unreasonable to suggest that this might be the biggest development on Wall Street in 30 years.”

In contrast, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan ChaseJPM, is one of the most prominent crypto skeptics in the spotlight. Dimon has long associated cryptocurrency with illicit dealings. “I’ve always been deeply opposed to crypto, bitcoin, etc,” Dimon said during his Wednesday, December 6, 2023, Senate Banking Committee.

“I’d close it down,” Dimon said.

Wincing And Clinching

But, despite his vocal reservations, JPMorgan Chase introduced JPM Coin in 2019, evidence of the bank’s practical engagement with blockchain technology despite Dimon’s critical views.

And then there’s Forbes Senior Contributor Billy Bambrough’s astute observation from October 21, 2023: Berkshire Hathaway’sBRK.B “bitcoin and crypto-friendly Nubank” was their best-performing asset in 2023, up 93% gain on its stock.

As for JPM Coin, Takis Georgakopoulos, global head of payments at JPMorgan, said during a Bloomberg interview on October 26, 2023, “We move $1 billion every day through JPM Coin for a number of large companies.”

Warren Buffet may be the most influential critic. Speaking to CNBC earlier this year, Buffet called it a “gambling token.” The psychographics are similar: If you bet on sports like boxing, you’re likely to invest–or bet–on cryptocurrency. And “that doesn’t stop people from wanting to play the roulette wheel,” Buffet said.

Then there are referees, represented by voices like journalist Michael Casey, who advocate for a more sustainable and regulated approach.

According to a September 2022 article for the International Monetary Fund’s Finance and Development publication, Casey wrote, “If we can’t regulate Bitcoin out of existence, the objective should be to steer it toward renewable sources.”

The 2024 Scorecard

Today, on New Year’s Eve, Bitcoin enters its “championship rounds.” Strikes win fights. Knockdowns elicit howls.

But it’s the display of resilience that wins respect from the crowd. And per the judges’ scorecards, Bitcoin is amid a Fury-esque rebound. Saddique forecasts a $15 million turnaround for Cryptonary in 2024.

But only time will tell if Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can stick around, retain, and defend their crown.

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