Bitcoin is on the run higher once again. The news propelling the crypto-currency has to do with China's exchanges coming to a conclusion over the withdrawal issue. The bigger exchanges had put a halt to withdrawals. The exchanges had put a 1-month moratorium on withdrawals over concerns of money laundering. That 1-month moratorium went in to effect in February. By removing the ban on withdrawals there is an added element of security for individuals owning Bitcoin. The past couple of days has seen the crypto-currency pushing towards the all-time highs. Whether that level is crossed any time soon or the currency fluctuates on any level, the long term prospects for the currency ultimately remain bullish.
As the chart above shows, the past 19 days has seen some intense buying. On the 16th of May, the currency was trading below $1,700.00. It then moved all the way upward to $2,900.00 in spectacular fashion; a 70% move upward in 7 days. But, then the currency fell back down another $1,000.00 in 3 day's time.
I had an expectation there would be a further easing of price. However, that was not to be; additional positive news prompted additional buying. The price of Bitcoin never hit the levels I had expected to see, a range of about $1,750.00 - $1,850.00. Instead, the constant drip of additional acceptance for the monetary alternative keeps drawing in more demand and continues to keep price moving higher and higher.
When you are in the midst of a long position on Bitcoin and there is a move upward, then right back downward, it can be disconcerting. But, there are option exchanges to allow for protecting your positions. A move of the magnitude that has happened, moving from $900.00 all the way up to $2,900.00 since the first week in April, and then back down to $1,900.00 in just days is a unique characteristic of Bitcoin.
There is a set amount of coins in the Bitcoin exchange system - 21 million. This means the currency is not going to get diluted because of a central bank's policies of inflation and constant printing. The world's currencies have an effective unlimited supply of money. This is why currencies typically move in tighter ranges compared to Bitcoin.
If you go long Bitcoin, I highly recommend your considering the most recent moves the coin has made. I typically trade with options because of the price movements that potentially could happen.
The recent moves are a good example of the potential for Bitcoin. The Chinese exchanges have begun allowing withdrawals. My initial thought when I heard this news was that price would come down. After all, this is a big issue that individuals were not able to withdraw their funds and now they can. If, all of a sudden you can withdraw funds, wouldn't there be selling and withdrawals?
Instead, this was viewed as being a positive enough development that the surge in buying sent the currency higher. The price movement showed me that any reluctance to get into the crypto-currency was greater than the amount of withdrawals that could have taken place.
I continue to point out all of the positive aspects of why Bitcoin is a far better choice than cash. Last year, in 2016, $500 billion was transferred from one country to another via intermediaries such as Western Union (NYSE:WU). For anyone wanting to transfer funds having to use an intermediary is time consuming and involves fees. Bitcoin, as a form of currency, offers an alternative and sending funds to someone on the other side of the world has never been less expensive nor immediate than it is now with companies building platforms on top of the crypto-currency blockchain.
The current market capitalization of Bitcoin is $50 billion. Given the total size of capital being sent abroad if there is continued acceptance and usage then Bitcoin has the chance to grab a good chunk of the market share of the intermediary money-transfer business.
If you were going to send money via these more traditional money transfer systems, the costs would starts at $4.99 for transferring $20.00. That very same cost via Bitcoin is relatively free in comparison starting at about .0002 per Bitcoin. At today's price of $2,400.00 for BTCUSD, $0.48… as in forty-eight cents.
The individuals who send funds via alternative methods, such as Western Union, tend to be poor without bank accounts, hence the use of an alternative money transfer system. These individuals are cost conscious. Saving as much as they could with an app that is free and a transfer system that is relatively free would be a high motivational factor to switch protocols.
Bitcoin is a relatively newer concept. The crypto-currency was invented in 2009. In less than 9 years the currency has gone from a market capitalization of zero to $40 billion in the course of that time. As more and more hurdles are crossed, the acceptance of the currency will grow. In the United States the underbanked and unbanked represent some 7%. This alternative to moving money to-and-fro for these individuals will mean an opportunity for the crypto-currency.
However, very few places accept Bitcoin. This is not a problem as your Bitcoin is stored on your phone via a mathematical equation. You can transfer your coins to a pre-paid gift card, a lot like you would find in a convenience store. This makes using the crypto-currency simple to actually spend. However, more and more, there are systems being put into place to allow for accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment.
As more and more individuals get involved in the currency, the long term prospects of drawing in larger and larger demand will dictate that the currency continues to move higher.
My long term projections for Bitcoin remain the same: I am bullish. I believe that acceptance of the new currency will continue. I see more and more little hurdles being crossed allowing improved and uninterrupted access for the crypto-currency. This will continue to create demand which will drive price upward.
I do not believe that price will move in a straight line. The past several day's worth of activity is proof of that. As a trader, this should be something kept in perspective. As an investor, buying the currency and walking away without looking for a very long period of time will reward the owner considerably. As a user of the coin, the ultimate purpose of the currency is a medium of exchange. Ultimately, the weight of the currency's actual purpose will continually propel Bitcoin higher.
Disclosure: I am/we are long BTCUSD, COIN. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.