The price of bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptoassets could be facing some headwinds in the coming months as central banks around the world one by one get ready to say goodbye to the ultra-loose monetary policies brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the first central bank in a Western developed nation to do so following the onset of the pandemic, Norway’s central bank, the Norges Bank, this week hiked its interest rate from 0% to 0.25%, citing a need to “begin a gradual normalization of the policy rate” as the economy is “normalizing.”
“The reopening of society has led to a marked upswing in the Norwegian economy, and activity is now higher than its pre-pandemic level,” Norges Bank further justified the rate hike. It added that the rate will “most likely be raised further in December.”
And although Norway’s rate hike may be insignificant in itself, central banks tend to follow each other when it comes to interest rate policies, as pointed out by Nik Bhatia, bitcoin advocate and author of the book Layered Money:
Also setting the stage for tighter monetary policies ahead, the Bank of England (BoE) on Thursday, while keeping rates unchanged, warned that “global inflationary pressures have remained strong.” It also noted that “cost pressures may prove more persistent” than previously believed.
Similarly, the US Federal Reserve (the Fed) this week also decided to keep rates unchanged, although it noted in its statement that “inflation is elevated,” and that it is “on track to moderately exceed 2% for some time.”
2% is the Federal Reserve’s stated long-term inflation target.
In comments to reporters, the Fed chair Jerome Powell said that tapering – meaning a drawdown of the central bank’s USD 120bn in monthly bond purchases to support financial markets – could start as early as the next Fed meeting in early November, provided that the job market remains “reasonably strong.”
With a rising inflation rate and tighter job market, some analysts say the market now almost appears relieved that the Fed is moving towards tapering and raising rates.
“The US economy doesn’t need large amounts of liquidity anymore. There’s almost a sense of relief that the Fed is getting on with it and going back to normal,” Paul Donovan, global chief economist at UBS Group AG Wealth Management, told Bloomberg on Thursday.
And while it is often assumed that high inflation is good for bitcoin, rising interest rates is seen as a headwind for hard assets like bitcoin and gold, given that it makes bank deposits appear more attractive again.
It should be noted, however, that with the Fed’s inflation expectations ranging from 2.4% to 3.4%, and interest rates potentially moving up a quarter of a percent from zero, real rates – meaning the interest rate received after adjusting for inflation – still remain deep within the negative territory.
Still, looking back at bitcoin’s recent price history, even talks about potential rate hikes, especially in the US, have led to losses for the number one cryptocurrency, with central bank meetings in April and June leading to selloffs of between 2% and 5% over the next day.
Following this week’s decision in the US to keep rates unchanged, however, bitcoin reacted by trading higher over the next two days, until a China-triggered selloff occurred on Friday.
At 13:41 UTC, BTC was trading at USD 41,554 and was down 6% in a day and 13% in a week.
Is Apple Planning For Bitcoin Payments! Will BTC Network Volume Eclipse Visa And Mastercard Payments?
In an acute inflationary atmosphere, numerous cryptocurrency projects seem to be more appealing to investors. Possible threats of US inflation and the prevailing pandemic situation prompt investors to espouse Bitcoin payments. On the other hand, the network has been thriving hard to outstrip the network volumes of Visa and Mastercard.
The global crypto market cap raised its bar to the new highs on, as investors gush into Bitcoin investments as Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell made remarks on tapering of monthly bond purchases to occur a couple of weeks before than expected. This move would further result in a hike in the interest rates, resulting in hyperinflation.
Apple to Adopt Bitcoin Payments?
The reputed tech firms might lookout for investment opportunities that would help manage their purchasing power. Notably, top companies with significant cash reserves such as Apple ($191 billion), Google ($168 billion), Microsoft ($137 billion), Amazon ($86 billion), Facebook ($86 billion), and Oracle ($39 billion) might shift their gears to Crypto investments. Moreover, crypto market insight platform Bitcoin Archive is been optimistic about Apple’s adoption of Bitcoin payments.
However, crypto analyst Venturefounds recently made remarks on loss of purchasing power by $102 billion in retaliation of record break inflation rate in the US. Hence, possibilities are quite high that top-tier tech firms would soon roll out a red carpet to the Bitcoin payment adoption.
On the other hand, the Report of Blockdata confirms Bitcoin’s progressive move against PayPal, Visa, and Mastercard payments. Bitcoin network acclaimed an evaluated average of $489 billion per quarter in 2021. Besides Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal payments have recorded network volume worth $3.2 trillion, $1.8 trillion, and $302 billion respectively. However, the platform has been optimistic about the massive growth of Bitcoin’s payment network.
Collectively, investors all across the globe appear to be FOMO-ing Bitcoin. Hence, the flagship asset and other revolutionary cryptocurrency projects would experience sustainable growth in the near future. Especially, the platform has dragged more than 60 to 70% of investments during uncertainties such as pandemic and global financial crises.
Bitcoin tests traders’ nerves as analyst reissues $400K BTC price forecast
Bitcoin (BTC) was on repeat on Dec. 2 as markets watched another attack on $60,000 end in defeat.
BTC/USD 1-hour candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: TradingView
“Nothing has changed”
Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView showed BTC/USD back at $57,000 Thursday, having come full circle in 24 hours.
The pair had briefly hit $59,000 into the Wall Street open the day prior, this failing to hold as another round of macro triggers skewed sentiment to the downside once more.
Bitcoin thus fell in line with stocks reacting, it seemed, to continued concern over the new coronavirus omicron variant. The S&P 500 ended the day down 1.2%.
With a sense of frustration pervading crypto markets, analysts took the opportunity to reassert a longer-range perspective.
“It’s very simple. Below $60K I’ve remained cautious/bearish as I’d like to see that area flip,” Cointelegraph contributor Michaël van de Poppe summarized.
“Levels to watch for buys; $53K-54K zone and $47-50K zones for Bitcoin. When to buy altcoins? December. Nothing has changed past weeks.”
Those buy target lows were accompanied by renewed predictions for this cycle’s bullish peak, which, as in April this year, place BTC/USD at up to $400,000.
Fellow analyst TechDev, eyeing Fibonacci levels on the two-week chart, also described Thursday as “another day to zoom out.”
Open interest stays near all-time highs
On exchanges, open interest, meanwhile, remained a source of concern due to its sheer volume relative to price action.
Data from on-chain analytics firm Glassnode showed open interest on Bitcoin futures recently matching its second-highest levels in history, nearing its April record.
“At some point, this open interest is going to get flushed out one direction or the other,” analyst William Clemente commented.
Bitcoin futures open interest 7-day moving average chart. Source: William Clemente/Twitter
With cyclical price action characterizing the week, the mood thus stayed favoring an ultimate exit up or down, with derivatives structures being “reset” as a result.
Funding rates were mostly neutral across exchanges Thursday.
Post-Twitter Dorsey Moves Deeper into Bitcoin ‘Spiral’ as Square Goes ‘Block’
The Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s payments firm Square has taken on an extra dimension – likely a crypto-themed one – as the company has changed its name to Block.
In a press release, the firm announced that “as a result of the name change,” its Square Crypto unit, a “separate initiative of the company dedicated to advancing bitcoin (BTC),” has changed its name to Spiral.
Its Twitter handle has also changed to @spiralbtc – a clear nod in the direction of bitcoin.
Dorsey stepped down as Twitter boss late last month.
The witty PR wordsmiths at Spiral rationalized the name change on Twitter, writing:
“Square Crypto is now Spiral. Since our formation, the spiral emoji has been a part of our brand lore, and given the opportunity to rebrand to CoinSomething or BitWhatever, we went a different way. Spiral looks and sounds cool. What other reason do we need?”
As for what the newly rebranded firm will do, the company explained in a blog post that it plans “to double the number of full-time [developers] working on projects under the Spiral umbrella in 2022,” adding: “We also plan to write more grants than ever in the coming year.”
“Square Crypto was never the best name for our team.”
The firm lamented the fact that its former name “drew a direct line between the corporate benefactor we are supposed to be independent of [namely Square] and us.”
Also on Twitter, the still-extant Square account noted:
“Obviously Square Crypto no longer makes sense, so the team is changing its name […]. This rebrand reflects their focus on bitcoin as it continues to grow like a spiral from a single point, encompassing more and more space until it touches everything.”
The bitcoiner and investor Stephen Cole noted the significance of the BTC in the @spiralbtc handle.
Dorsey has frequently made his views on bitcoin known online, often seeming to side with so-called bitcoin maxis and downplaying the potential of rival blockchain protocols – a fact that has often drawn ire from Ethereum (ETH)- and altcoin-centered communities.
In August, the Twitter founder appeared to “accidentally” share an ETH-bashing post from a bitcoiner, leading ETH advocates to accuse Dorsey of baiting them. He answered by claiming that he was “not trolling” or “fighting” rival “projects” but instead “agreeing” with the concept that ETH “wasn’t a good idea.”
Dorsey’s Block business empire also comprises TBD (TBD54566975), a planned decentralized bitcoin exchange project.
As for the main Block/Square company and brand, the firm explained that Block had not entirely squashed Square, noting:
“The Square name has become synonymous with the company’s Seller business, which provides an integrated ecosystem of commerce solutions, business software, and banking services for sellers, and this move allows the Seller business to own the Square brand it was built for.”
However, away from the world of BTC-themed symbolism, some expressed tongue-in-cheek reservations about the name change. Another sharp-witted soul, this time a Redditor on the r/bitcoin sub, pointed out that while spiral might sound cool for bitcoiners, in the world beyond crypto, it can often have negative connotations. The poster remarked:
“Spiral is a terrible name for a financial company.”
Meanwhile, Square/Block’s Cash App mobile payments app has started supporting Taproot.
Taproot is considered to be Bitcoin’s largest upgrade in more than four years. Finally activated on November 14, it came with Schnorr, a soft fork that improves privacy, scalability, and speed, and encodes multiple keys into one.
All @CashApp customers can now send #bitcoin to Taproot-enabled wallets. 🥕
Fun Easter egg at 0:13… #709632
Tick tock, next block. Block by block.pic.twitter.com/98OiPFaBq2— Michael ₿. Rihani 🇺🇸⚡️🇱🇧 (@MichaelRihani) December 2, 2021
If you're not in crypto, you're not in tech.
This was once true of the Internet — if you weren't working with it in some way, you were on your way to irrelevance.
Now, it's happened a second time. https://t.co/GyHL7thl9e— Mark Jeffrey ⚡️🚀 (@markjeffrey) December 2, 2021