Bitcoin had a stellar performance in the last quarter of the year. It doubled in value in less than two months and now topped $24,000.
An avalanche of good news led the rally. To start with, PayPal announced the introduction of crypto payments on its online payments platform. Next, Bitcoin gained more and more exposure to institutional portfolios. For example, Square invested $50 million in Bitcoin, while MicroStrategy, another public company, revealed over a hundred million dollars invested in the leading cryptocurrency.
Naturally, the accumulation led people’s imagination, and the next, you know, Bitcoin became the darling of online investments. What is interesting is that the more the price rose, the more news came out, revealing an even bigger interest from the institutional community.
Institutional Investors Piling in the Crypto Universe
PayPal and MicroStrategy seem to have started a race in the institutional investing space to gain exposure to Bitcoin. Viewed by many as a substitute for gold in a professional portfolio, Bitcoin benefits from one of the main gold’s characteristics – scarcity.
MassMutual Life Insurance, Guggenheim, and a ‘whale’ with the backing of Alan Howard are the new players in the cryptocurrency space. Only this time, we talk about billions, not millions, invested.
Moreover, Singapore’s largest bank, DBS, has recently announced the launch of a digital cryptocurrency exchange open to institutional investors too. It allows both retail and institutional clients to trade cryptocurrencies against four fiat ones – three Asian currencies (Hong Kong Dollar, Japanese Yen, and the Singapore Dollar) and the world’s reserve currency, the U.S. dollar.
What we witness here seems very different from the 2017 rally in the cryptocurrency space. In 2017 Bitcoin reached close to $20,000 on the back of ‘panic buying’ from the retail community. This time it appears that the institutional investors quietly built positions, accumulating in secret and then revealing their stakes.
Because of the earlier mentioned scarcity, the price topped $24,000 and remained bid on every dip. Also, considering the fact that most retail traders are hodlers (i.e., bought the coins with the intention to hold them for a long time just in case the bet pays handsomely), the scarcity becomes even more acute.
Extreme volatility has long been an issue for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Only that this year, other assets experienced similar volatility levels – think of the stock market crash in March or how Tesla’s volatility increased.
All in all, Bitcoin’s rally has a solid base. The bull run may well continue for some time yet.