The Latest Buzz in the Bitcoin World

There’s plenty being said in the press about Bitcoin this week, which is unsurprising given that it’s the world’s most popular cryptocurrency and is also under heavy scrutiny from financial experts and traders due to the recent downwards and sideways moves it has experienced.

Firstly, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, spoke at the 2019 WEF in Davos, Switzerland on 23rd January 2019. Although Dimon was one of the first public figures to publicly denounce the popular cryptocurrency when it was still in its infancy, called it a “fraud” and warning anyone who was “stupid enough” to purchase it would likely “pay the price one day”. When quizzed over Bitcoin’s current situation at January’s WEF, he told attendees that he “didn’t take any” satisfaction from his previous prediction.

While Dimon is unlikely ever to be an advocate of Bitcoin, his company (JP Morgan Chase) is far more supported of blockchain technology, which he described as “a better replacement for certain online databases” and allows JP Morgan’s buyers and sellers to interact directly while their exchange is recorded on a blockchain ledger.

In October last year, a research group commission by JP Morgan concluded that blockchain is an essential technology which needs to be incorporated into its development roadmap for the company to become a major digital bank.

Meanwhile the CEO of one of Bitcoin’s main competitors, Ripple, also appeared at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland this week, where he took part in a discussion about the future of cryptocurrencies.

One of the topics of conversation was Bitcoin, which Brad Garlinghouse believes is more likely to be considered a digital store of value rather than a real currency in future due to its “scalability problems”. He also admitted to still owning BTC in the belief that it may “become just a store of value”, yet he has more confidence in his own company’s cryptocurrency, Ripple, as he says that the XRP technology behind it is “extremely scalable”, “extremely low-cost, and extremely fast” in relation to how Bitcoin works”.

Over in the US, there are positive indications that investors would be open to a Bitcoin ETF (Exchange-Traded Fund) according to a survey carried out by Bitwise Asset Management. According to NewsBTC, 58% of US investors would prefer to invest in BTC via an ETF.

Earlier this February, Bitwise Asset Management, which is a leading provider of crypto-asset index and beta funds and based in San Francisco, announced plans to launch a physically-held Bitcoin ETF market. The company alleges that its proposed Exchange-Traded Fund would successfully capture the full value of a Bitcoin investment, inclusive of meaningful hard forks, by tracking the Bitwise Bitcoin Total Return Index.

Some experts believe that the unwillingness of regulators in the US to approve Bitcoin-related ETFs contributed to the cryptocurrency’s 80% loss in value during 2018.

Also appearing in this week’s financial news is Forbes’ report that Bitcoin volatility has fallen to its lowest since mid-November 2018. Blockforce Capital, a US asset manager, provided the data to back the numbers, and shows that BTC “has been consolidating around $3,500 since the sharp drop last November”.

By Laura Kilby