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Bitcoin hits $8,000 five days after cracking $6,000

Bubble Trouble — Most major cryptocurrencies are at or near 2019 highs. Timothy B. Lee – May 14, 2019 3:05 am UTC Last Wednesday we reported that bitcoin had risen to $6,000 for the first time this year. On Monday, just five days later, bitcoin reached a new 2019 high of $8,000. As I write…

Bubble Trouble —

Most major cryptocurrencies are at or near 2019 highs.

Timothy B. Lee

It took just five days for bitcoin to rise from $6,000 to $8,000

Last Wednesday we reported that bitcoin had risen to $6,000 for the first time this year. On Monday, just five days later, bitcoin reached a new 2019 high of $8,000. As I write this, one bitcoin is worth about $7,900.

Of course, bitcoin reached much higher levels in late 2017 and early 2018. Bitcoin’s current price just under $8,000 is less than half the all-time high of $19,500 set in December 2017. Bitcoin was last worth at least $8,000 in July 2018.

As often happens, bitcoin’s rise is part of a broader cryptocurrency boom. On Saturday, the price of ether—the currency of the Ethereum network—rose above $200 for the first time in 2019. Other cryptocurrencies, including Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Monero, and Dash are at or near 2019 highs.

Still, bitcoin has outpaced all of these alternative cryptocurrencies in recent weeks. Bitcoin’s price has doubled just since late March.

I wrote last week that there was no clear explanation for bitcoin’s sudden popularity with investors. That largely continues to be true today.

One recent piece of bullish news came from Bakkt, a digital asset exchange that shares a parent company with the New York Stock Exchange. Bakkt announced on Monday that it would begin user acceptance testing for bitcoin futures contracts in July.

It’s a step toward greater mainstream acceptance of the currency and could generate additional demand for bitcoin. But it’s hard to believe that this factor accounted for very much of the last week’s big price gains.

There are also some signs of increasing bitcoin purchases from large institutional investors. That may be contributing to bitcoin’s price rise, but it’s not clear why these buyers are suddenly interested in bitcoin.

While bitcoin’s price has been rising at a rapid pace in recent days, it has yet to reach the fever pitch of late 2017. In one 48-hour period days before the December 2017 peak, Bitcoin rose from $12,000 to $15,000 in less than 48 hours. A few days later, bitcoin hit its all-time record price of $19,500, then crashed—the start of a year-long slump that brought the price below $4,000 by December 2018.

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Traders are piling into bitcoin as a haven against volatile markets. This researcher warns they could get burned.

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images Bitcoin isn’t a ‘unique’ hedge as it’s vulnerable to the same market risks as conventional investments, according to a new study. It becomes more exposed to factors such as inflation expectations when its price is less volatile, the researcher found. The findings are a “cautionary note” for investors, writes author Dimitrios Koutmos,…

Traders are piling into bitcoin as a haven against volatile markets. This researcher warns they could get burned.

hedge mazeDan Kitwood/Getty Images

  • Bitcoin isn’t a ‘unique’ hedge as it’s vulnerable to the same market risks as conventional investments, according to a new study.
  • It becomes more exposed to factors such as inflation expectations when its price is less volatile, the researcher found.
  • The findings are a “cautionary note” for investors, writes author Dimitrios Koutmos, as they suggest bitcoin isn’t “a unique asset class whose price behavior is detached from economic fundamentals.”
  • Watch bitcoin trade live.

An escalating US-China trade war, the slowing Chinese economy, and a prolonged Brexit process have fueled anxiety in financial markets, boosting investors’ interest in bitcoin as a hedge against volatility.

However, new research suggests the cryptocurrency may have limited value as a hedge as it’s vulnerable to the same factors that move the prices of stocks and other mainstream investments. While it escapes some of those drivers when its price is especially volatile, the increased risk may outweigh the greater returns.

“Bitcoin prices, despite their seemingly attractive independent behavior relative to economic variables, may still be exposed to the same types of market risks which afflict the performance of conventional financial assets,” wrote Dimitrios Koutmos, an assistant professor of finance and technology at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, in a study titled “Market risk and bitcoin returns” published online in the Annals of Operations Research this month. 

Koutmos used treasury bill rates, the VIX and Deutsche Bank FX volatility indexes, treasury yields, forward inflation swap rates, equity indexes, and the difference between corporate bond yields and treasury yields as proxies for short-term interest rates, market-volatility expectations, and other factors that affect traditional financial assets. He examined their influence on daily bitcoin prices between January 2013 and September 2017.

His key finding was that several of these factors were “important determinants of bitcoin returns.” Specifically, short-term interest rates and investors’ expectations of stock-market and foreign-exchange volatility were significant determinants of the price of bitcoin during periods when it rose or fell sharply. Those three factors, along with general economic conditions and inflation expectations, influenced the price of bitcoin when the cryptocurrency was less volatile, according to the study.

The findings serve as a “cautionary note” for investors, Koutmos wrote, as they suggest bitcoin isn’t “a unique asset class whose price behavior is detached from economic fundamentals.”

They also indicate “bitcoin’s usefulness as a diversification instrument is time-dependent,” given the cryptocurrency was more susceptible to factors such as inflation expectations during periods when its price was less volatile. 

If bitcoin truly is a better hedge when its price is moving around, investors who bought into bitcoin’s price surge this month as a hedge against the sharp downturn in stocks might be feeling pretty smug. However, Koutmos also found that bitcoin’s superior returns during periods of high volatility weren’t high enough to offset the increased risk, meaning its returns during low-volatility periods were higher on a risk-adjusted basis. 

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‘Bitcoin Will Disappear,’ Craig Wright Rants in Blistering ‘Satoshi’ Manifesto

‘Bitcoin Will Disappear,’ Craig Wright Rants in Blistering ‘Satoshi’ Manifesto

‘Bitcoin Will Disappear,’ Craig Wright Rants in Blistering ‘Satoshi’ ManifestoSelf-proclaimed “Satoshi Nakamoto” Craig Wright published a blistering manifesto that predicted Bitcoin would disappear in “moments.” | Source: Crypto Strategies/YouTube (i), Shutterstock (ii). Image Edited by CCN.By CCN: Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright published a blistering manifesto that argues bitcoin (BTC) will eventually disappear because it’s being used to facilitate criminal activity. And that perverts his original vision for the cryptocurrency.For reference, Wright has repeatedly claimed that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious creator of bitcoin. He has yet to offer definitive proof.Civil War Erupts Between Warring Crypto FactionsWright is a proponent of Bitcoin SV (Satoshi’s Vision), which he insists is the “true bitcoin.”Wright and his ally Calvin Ayre claim BSV will supplant all other fake pretenders to the bitcoin throne and will crush rivals BTC and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) into the ground.Bitcoin Price Will Crash to Zero Says Bitcoin Cash Founder Calvin Ayre https://t.co/34ZrOZVJhu— CCN.com (@CCNMarkets) December 17, 2018‘Bitcoin Needs to Act Within the Rules’In a withering manifesto, Wright claims he created bitcoin to operate within the law and not to facilitate criminal activity like money-laundering.Wright then torched cryptocurrency evangelists who claim BTC is totally decentralized and therefore doesn’t need to play by any rules. However, Wright says they’re deluding themselves and need to be slapped awake.“I designed Bitcoin to be a system that worked within the rules.”“Bitcoin needs to act within the rules. If it does not, then the exchanges and systems that allow people to use Bitcoin act to stop it being widely used and disseminated and criminalise all of those in the system.”“If Bitcoin or any other monetary system seeks to act outside the rules, it becomes an outlaw system, and once it does, it is easy to stop.”“The majority of people want rules. They don’t want to fight in a world of uncertainty, and want to know that the contract that they have conducted will remain valid not just now, but throughout the term of the exchange — for which we need rules.”Craig Wright, the self-proclaimed inventor of bitcoin, says BSV will supplant BTC in due time.Craig Wright: Binance Facilitates CrimeMoreover, Wright insists that cryptocurrency exchanges are basically criminal enterprises that “facilitate money laundering.” Accordingly, he predicts that they will eventually go out of business “because crime will always fail.”Specifically, Wright accused Binance and Bitfinex of lying to their customers when they claim to be decentralized. He says they’re not. Wright also explained that the only reason why anyone wants a decentralized financial platform is so they can use it to hide or launder money.“Groups such as Binance who seek to facilitate money laundering and crime will always fail. They defraud you in telling you that they are decentralised and cannot be controlled.“Bitcoin is a system that was set in stone. If the protocol is changed, then it shows and demonstrates it is not Bitcoin. When those involved altered the rules, they impacted their entire ecosystem — it is a centralised power structure. They defraud you when they lie about decentralisation and tell you that they have no ability to change things but then alter the rules.”“When those in power are able to change the protocol, they can change the lives and the finances of those involved in the system at an arbitrary whim. It is why BTC is not Bitcoin.”Wright: Bitcoin ‘Will Disappear In Moments’Wright further claimed that because bitcoin has been manipulated, it will eventually disappear. And when that happens, he warned that it’ll vanish instantly.“Where a blockchain does not follow the rules…it is simple for government to stop. When the action happens, as it did with e-gold, everything invested in the system will vanish in a flash. When BTC disappears, it will not disappear slowly, it will disappear in moments.”Wright then concluded by promising that he’ll sign a Satoshi transaction after “I have definitively proven I created Bitcoin. Not before.” About The AuthorSamantha ChangSamantha Chang is a financial editor who writes about politics at BizPac Review, about business at CCN, and general news at HVY. She is a law school graduate and an alum of the University of Pennsylvania who enjoys finance, flowers, and fitness. You can find her on Twitter at Samantha_Chang.This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.
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