Bitcoin has sent the cryptocurrency market soaring in recent weeks with the total value of the world’s combined cryptocurrencies adding an eye-watering $150 billion since the beginning of November.
The bitcoin price brushed $18,900 per bitcoin this week, coming within touching distance of its 2017 all-time high and helping other top five cryptocurrencies—ethereum, Ripple’s XRP, litecoin and chainlink—record massive gains. XRP has climbed over 70% this week alone, with ethereum, litecoin and chainlink all up between 22% and 36%.
Now, as traders debate exactly how far this bull market has to run, the bitcoin and cryptocurrency community are gearing up for a pre-Thanksgiving surge—and may get a boost from the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank (ECB).
Bitcoin’s 2020 bull run is so far thought to be more institutionally-driven than its 2017 retail boom, when global bitcoin mania pushed the bitcoin price to all-time highs of around $20,000 only for it to crash back to around $3,000 in 2018. But that retail demand could be just around the corner.
Even as the coronavirus pandemic prevents families from gathering to the same extent as they did pre-Covid-19, historical data suggests big U.S. holidays—and Thanksgiving in particular—usually send the bitcoin price sharply higher.
“Nothing like a pre-Thanksgiving bitcoin run,” Catherine Coley, the chief executive of Binance.US, a San Francisco-based bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange launched by Caymen Islands-based Binance last year, said via email.
“This year has been extremely unpredictable but bitcoin held on to its value through most of the year and the recent bullish momentum proves to many bitcoiners what we already knew: a global digital asset untethered to local fundamentals has extreme potential for global growth and adoption, especially in a time where nations are printing more of their currency to revive economic activity.”
Bitcoin has developed its reputation as digital gold this year, finding support from Wall Street and some big-name investors as central banks rev up their money printers in response to the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns put in place to contain it.
This week, investors in the U.S. and Europe will get a clearer picture of how seriously the U.S. Fed and the ECB are considering providing further stimulus in response to surging coronavirus cases around the world.
On Wednesday, the Fed will publish the minutes from this month’s monetary policy meeting where chairman Jay Powell said tweaks to the asset purchase programme to provide additional stimulus were discussed. Then on Thursday, the ECB publishes its October meeting minutes where investors will be looking for any further insight into the ECB’s options after it said it planned to “recalibrate its instruments.”
Equity markets, as well as bitcoin and cryptocurrency prices, have been propped up by global stimulus measures this year with investors cheering the seemingly limitless funds being deployed.
Elsewhere, the bitcoin and cryptocurrency market was last month set alight by the news payments giant PayPal would roll out bitcoin buying and spending services to its near-350 million users—giving many bitcoin developers and supporters long-sought validation.
“For 10 years, arguments against bitcoin have been the same and yet bitcoin has continued to grow its user base, infrastructure and value, despite the naysayers,” Danny Scott, the chief executive of Isle of Man-based bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange CoinCorner, said via email in response to legendary investor Ray Dalio’s recent Twitter thread on his “problems with bitcoin.”
“I feel that we’re almost at the point where the requirement for proof is on the sceptics as to why bitcoin won’t work rather than throw empty, uneducated arguments out,” Scott said, adding: “Bitcoin has been the best performing asset this year, not to mention the best performing asset of the last decade—stats speak louder than words here.”