Bitcoin and major cryptocurrencies including ethereum, Ripple’s XRP, bitcoin cash, and litecoin, could be primed for one of their biggest ever weeks as traders and investors gear up for the launch of the U.S.-based Bakkt bitcoin and cryptocurrency platform.
The bitcoin price, which has climbed some 200% so far this year, has been trading sideways over the last couple of months as market watchers eye global regulators, technology giants, and the likes of Facebook’s libra for possible signals of where the bitcoin and cryptocurrency market might be going next.
Bakkt, an Intercontinental Exchange-backed bitcoin platform, which was announced last year and boasted partners from computing giant Microsoft and coffee chain Starbucks, has been closely-watched by bitcoin and cryptocurrency traders and investors, with many hoping it will usher in a bitcoin bull run to rival the epic 2017 surge.
The bitcoin price climbed from under $1,000 per bitcoin to almost $20,000 between January and December 2017 as bitcoin mania reached fever-pitch and hopes institutional money was about to flow into crypto peaked.
After many banks and fund managers decided to take a “wait-and-see” approach to bitcoin and crypto, the bitcoin price plummeted last year, crashing to under $4,000 per bitcoin–down almost 90% from its all-time highs.
Ethereum, Ripple’s XRP, bitcoin cash, and litecoin, which along with bitcoin make up the top five cryptocurrencies by value, recorded even steeper falls and have failed to recover as strongly as bitcoin this year.
Now, Bakkt, which began allowing clients to deposit bitcoin into its warehouse at the beginning of this month, will launch its so-called physical bitcoin futures contracts on 23 September.
Some analysts and traders are expecting these physical bitcoin futures, which are contracts that pay out in the underlying cryptocurrency rather than in cash, to allow for unprecedented bitcoin and cryptocurrency growth.
“Physical” bitcoin futures mean that traders and investors are not able to sell more bitcoin than they actually have, while current bitcoin futures contracts allow more coins than there are in circulation to potentially be traded–something that some think can lead to market manipulation and traders betting against the market, known as shorting.
Bakkt, which has suffered numerous setbacks along its road to launch, initially planned to open its futures exchange in 2018 but was delayed by regulation and higher-than-expected interest.
In addition to recruiting Microsoft and Starbucks, Bakkt has partnered with Boston Consulting Group and global bank BNY Mellon while scoring investment from Fortress Investment, Eagle Seven, and Susquehanna International, as it eyes bitcoin mutual funds, pension funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
Heading into this big week for bitcoin, ethereum, Ripple’s XRP, bitcoin cash, and litecoin, technical bitcoin price data suggests a surge could be on the horizon.
A closely-watched bitcoin price indicator has turned bullish and appears to be echoing moves seen in 2015 ahead of bitcoin’s massive 2017 bull run, data from bitcoin and crypto exchange Bitstamp, first reported by cryptocurrency trade site Coindesk, showed.
The price of ethereum, Ripple’s XRP, bitcoin cash, and litecoin remain closely tied to the bitcoin price, with big bitcoin moves often quickly reflected across the crypto market.
Elsewhere, bitcoin and cryptocurrency bulls, including venture capitalist Tim Draper and Anthony Pompliano from Morgan Creek Digital, have continue to talk up the possibility of a fresh bitcoin bull run.
Draper has recently confirmed his earlier forecast that one bitcoin will be worth $250,000 by 2022.
“$250,000 means that bitcoin would then have about a 5% market share of the currency world and I think that may be understating the power of bitcoin,” Draper told Israeli news outlet BlockTV.
Pompliano meanwhile took to Twitter yesterday to claim bitcoin fundamentals are getting stronger.