As a who’s-who line-up of entrepreneurs, blockchain experts, artificial intelligence (AI) specialists and well-known economic and business figures were preparing to descend on Las Vegas for ChainXChange, an upcoming “blockchain and experimental technology”, they do so as the cryptocurrency market regains momentum with market capitalization once again exceeding $300 billion.
Now it is funny how things can almost turn on a sixpence in the capital markets. After reaching record highs of around $20,000 last December, when industry protagonists were positively salivating about the prospect of a $50,000 Bitcoin or even higher, the Big Daddy of crypto retreated to levels seen in the middle of last year just before the Chicago derivatives exchanges announced they would start to offer trading in Bitcoin futures.
Just when you think Bitcoin was on the ropes as well as other leading currencies, so to speak, the big hitter in the cryptocurrency space mounts a recovery. Volatile or what?
Crypto industry watchers were atwitter – if that is the right word – on Tuesday this week over the resurgence of Bitcoin (BTC), which vaulted past the $8,000 mark to a value of $8,435.16 – for a gain of over 7% on the day. And, at the time of writing the cryptocurrency was trading at around $8,230 a pop on exchanges – up 0.79%/$63.98 this Thursday (July 26).
Shortly before Bitcoin broke the $8,000 barrier with a BTC market capitalization of approximately $143 billion, the overall market capitalization eclipsed $300 billion, a feat that was previously achieved back on June 12 last year. This has once again stirred excitement that Bitcoin is entering a new bull cycle. Could they be right? Well, one wonders.
The three-day ChainXChange conference, which begins next month on August 13, is touted as serving as a gathering place where both “long-time industry titans and eager newcomers meet” to discuss this maturing market and how it will evolve in the months and years to come.
As a journalist I am in a fortunate position to attend industry conferences in London and further afield. Now there are many conferences that are held to debate matters in the equity and fixed-income trading spaces as well as the regulatory realm like TradeTech or SWIFT’s annual SIBOS event for payments and back office processes.
These conferences have certainly become a big business in their own right. And, these days hardly a week passes without another blockchain and cryptocurrency event in the ecosphere. How everyone copes with the plethora of industry forums is any guess.
I sometimes wonder whether the events are actually held for the actual benefit of the attendees or the conference organisers, given the tariff charged delegates to attend. That aside, they are a good way to hear the latest from the movers and shakers in the space, network, share ideas and sound out potential business partners. And, more business may in fact be done on the side lines of these events. So, perhaps I should not be too hard on them.
In fact, just this July I attended the CoinAgenda Europe (2018) conference at the Westin Hotel in St Julian’s, Malta, where delegates heard Joseph Muscat, the Prime Minister of Malta, make a Keynote speech in the wake of three new bills being passed by the Maltese Parliament for blockchain, cryptocurrency and digital assets.
He was among a whole host of Keynote speakers, panel debates, fire-side chats and Initial Coin Offering (ICO) presentations that had been organized by CoinAgenda – with this Maltese event being the second in Europe and ninth overall in the series. (Note: The next one will be held in Las Vegas around the ‘Money 2020’ event later this year).
In addition, delegates heard an engaging presentation from Simon Dixon, CEO and co-founder BnkToTheFuture, a global online investment platform that has invested over £415 million (c.$540 million) in fintech companies and funds on behalf of investors, who posited that “Bitcoin has the best shot at sound money.”
And, much food for thought was provided in a legal update on cryptocurrency regulation around the globe by Malcolm Tan, Chairman of Gravitas Holdings Singapore, who has advised a number of companies intending to ICO/ITO in Singapore.
In relation to China, Tan suggested that we could see some “regulatory clarity” in that jurisdiction during the first quarter of 2019 around cryptocurrencies and ICOs. How that could pan out will be interesting, should it come to pass.
Interestingly, whenever a CoinAgenda event has been convened the price of Bitcoin has always risen between the opening and closing day. Indeed, on the last day of the conference in Malta – Tuesday, July 17 – the price shot up some 10% (c.+$700). Now that came out of the blue, but was perhaps a sign of things to come – unless some ramping was going on.
So, you could say that the rise in the Bitcoin during CoinAgenda’s justified the investment in the airfare and the ticket price, assuming you held the cryptocurrency in the first place.
The feeling that institutional investors may finally be ready to jump aboard the cryptocurrency bandwagon comes just prior to the well-attended ChainXChange conference, which is set to take place at the Mandalay Bay Convention Centre in Las Vegas in two weeks’ time.
“The recovery of the crypto market back to $300 billion is evidence that markets are recognizing that dynamic growth and development is alive and well in blockchain,” said Tom Lee, managing partner and head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors, an independent research boutique based in New York that provides market strategy and sector research.
A former chief equity strategist at JP Morgan from 2007 to 2014, whose areas of expertise include market strategy, small/mid-cap strategy and telecom services, added: “Ultimately, we see a lot of potential for crypto-currencies and digital assets to ultimately become a part of every person’s daily life. And, conferences such as the upcoming ChainXChange are a great way for the community and seekers to keep up with developments.”
As well as a number of main stage guest speakers and seminars, next month’s ChainXChange will provide an opportunity for participants to converge in small groups to discuss the impact of blockchain and help steer future direction and promote consumer and business adoption of the technology. The first day, for example, sees a blockchain boot camp and an evening kicked off by top Wired and Wall Street Journal editors and venture capital (VC) panels.
The list of guest speakers spans a number of popular personalities, including Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder, Nicholas Thompson, Wired Magazine editor-in-chief, and Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize-winning economist.
Bitcoin’s Future & Elliott Waves Prediction
As to where Bitcoin and other leading cryptocurrencies could be headed going forward, Siim Ounap, an Estonian FX and crypto trader and COO of Savii Digital blockchain marketing agency, said: “Crypto markets are definitely showing good signs of growth, which is long expected by any investor or trader. It is difficult to predict what is exactly going to happen, but with many huge corporations such as Microsoft now accepting cryptocurrencies as payment, and banks getting ready by filing many collecting blockchain-related patents, we can safely presume that cryptocurrencies are about to go even bigger, and along with it their prices.”
Elsewhere, Maksim Balashevich, CEO and founder of Santiment, a firm providing insights into the crypto markets for traders and investors of any level, is predicting that there could be a significant uptick again in Bitcoin’s price going forward. This view is based on the Elliott Waves theory, a form of technical analysis used by traders to analyze financial market cycles and forecast market trends by identifying extremes in investor psychology, highs and lows in prices and other factors.
“We have likely made the top of the wave 3 back in January ,” said Balashevich. “And, the bottom for the wave 4 was likely around a month ago. Now we are in the fifth wave, which should us bring to somewhere between $25,000 and $50,000.”
It is certainly a bold prediction and everyone in this market has their own axe to grind. But remember it was Balashevich who correctly predicted the boom in the cryptocurrency market last year and which I wrote about on Forbes. Nevertheless, caveat emptor still holds. That is, unless one wants to throw caution to the wind.