Bitcoin certainly celebrated the New Year right.
Crossing over into 2017, the original cryptocurrency topped $1,000 US in value, just in time for its birthday (yesterday marked the anniversary of the day the genesis block of the bitcoin blockchain was created by the still-elusive Satoshi Nakamoto.) This also marks the first time bitcoin’s price has been this high in three years.
Plus, the value is only going up: according to data from Coindesk, bitcoin is currently trading at around $1,083 as of 9:30 ET today. This is somewhat of a leap from its average value for 2016, which was about $415 US.
There are a multitude of reasons that bitcoin could have made this jump; according to cryptocurrency trader Jacob Eliosoff, the influence of Chinese bitcoin buyers could be a factor. Says Eliosoff:
The only factor I’ve seen convincing evidence for is that the buying is driven by China: this is clear from the unusually large price spread (+4%) that’s grown between CNY exchanges like OKCoin and USD exchanges like Bitfinex. But who’s buying in China, and why? There are various theories.
The still-increasing price of bitcoin could be summed up as the lure of a stable asset in tumultuous times, to put it simply—but it does pose an interesting question. If bitcoin is going to be treated as a traditional asset, can its price be predicted like one?
This is the question explored in a paper published by Chappuis Halder & Co on the very first day of 2017. From the report:
Despite resemblances, we conclude that bitcoin is not identifiable to any specific asset class. Thus, we implement a Time Series model, which uses past values of a series to predict future values. In this context, the model we build gives a value for tomorrow’s price of bitcoin thanks to the values of the three preceding days. However, the high volatility prevents the model from giving an accurate result.
The fact is that bitcoin itself is a little unpredictable; this is not the first time its value has topped $1,000, and it’s previously fallen from that high to prices lower than $170.
Of course, all currency fluctuates (the U.S. dollar is presently experiencing a high of its own) but most don’t do so over only three or four months.
On the more positive side, as noted by Coinbase co-founder Brian Armstrong on Medium, bitcoin is not a currency that appears to be transitioning well to a global—i.e., scaleable—payments system, so perhaps it’s actually more beneficial to the financial world as a trackable, predictable asset. We just need a little more tinkering to get there.1 - Reader Likes This Post