Bitcoin has continued its surge this week and is now trading for just under $44,000 a nearly 16% rise over the week. In the past month, it’s up 25%—enough of a jump that “digital gold” has now flipped Meta to become the world’s ninth most valuable asset by market capitalization.
But this is just the beginning, according to the analysts who spoke with Decrypt.
The asset’s current movements are “typical of bull markets”—just like the one of 2020, Amberdata’s director of derivatives Greg Magadini told Decrypt.
The reason for the quick price action, he added, is mainly down to excitement surrounding the potential launch of a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF): every day, news drops about the process of the long-awaited investment vehicle.
Bloomberg Intelligence and Grayscale analysts have said that it’s just a matter of time before a Bitcoin ETF finally hits the U.S. market. If it happens, a would at last provide an easy way for traditional investors to gain exposure to BTC without directly buying and holding digital coins—something that promises to bring an influx of fresh capital to Bitcoin.
But it isn’t just ETF hype driving the rally; there are other factors at play. The prospect of falling interest rates—which stood at historic highs last year and are soon expected to drop—are helping, too.
“Fundamentally speaking, lower interest rates helps gain value as well, since the opportunity cost of holding Bitcoin (a non-interest bearing asset) is diminished,” said Magadini.
The U.S. central bank last year started aggressively hiking interest rates to get sky-high inflation under control. The actions had a negative impact on risk-on assets like stocks and crypto, which typically experience big price movements. That’s because as interest rates rise, and money in a sense becomes more expensive to borrow, investors are more likely to hold onto their dollars instead of parking them in stocks or other similar assets.
But the beast might be tamed: Last week, Fed governor Christopher J. Waller said he was “increasingly confident” things were on the right track, hinting that the central bank might start slashing rates soon.
And this is likely working in Bitcoin’s favor, OANDA senior market analyst Craig Erlam told Decrypt.
And big money from institutional investors is helping push up the price, Messari research analyst Toe Bautista told Decrypt—noting that the nearly $20 billion in total futures open interest for Bitcoin is closing in on the peak levels of November 2021.
“The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) leads this trend with an open interest of $5.1 billion, suggesting strong institutional engagement, as evidenced by the increase in options’ open interest and inflows into traditional financial crypto instruments reaching yearly highs,” he said.
So, where does it go from here? As Decrypt previously reported, analysts say that a recession next year or spot Bitcoin ETF denials could slow things down and reverse gains.
But experts are optimistic. “As we’ve seen before, once Bitcoin gets moving, it can be hard to stop,” OANDA’s Erlam said.
The views and opinions expressed by the author are for informational purposes only and do not constitute financial, investment, or other advice.