Another day, another high-profile analyst going bullish on Bitcoin with what many would argue is a high Bitcoin price update forecast. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It is happening with increasing frequency, as the gurus of the investment world start recognizing publicly that Bitcoin and its cousins are here to stay. Research analyst Ronnie Moas was quoted recently (July 5, 2017) as stating it could double by the end of the year, hitting $5000 US. A recent outlook report from Goldman Sachs indicated that the currency is in a corrective “fourth wave” following on a pattern that started in late 2010, setting the stage for a fifth wave in early 2018, with a potential price of $3900.
Goldman on Bitcoin price update
Specifically, Goldman technical analysts opined in a recent note regarding forecasts for Bitcoin price update:
The market is in wave IV of a sequence that started at the late-’10/early-’11 lows
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Wave III came close enough to reaching its 2.618 extended target at 3,135. Wave IV has already retraced between 23.6% and 38.2% of the move since Jan. ‘15 to 2,330/ 1,915.
It’s worth keeping in mind that fourth waves tend to be messy/complex. This means that it could remain sideways/overlapping for a little while longer. At this point, it’s important to look for either an ABC pattern or a more triangular ABCDE. The former would target somewhere close to 1,856; providing a much cleaner setup from which to consider getting back into the uptrend. The latter would hold within a 2,076/3,000 range for an extended period of time.
Either way, eventually expecting one more leg higher; a 5 th wave. From current levels, this has a minimum target that goes out to 3,212 (if equal to the length of wave I).
There’s potential to extend as far as 3,915 (if 1.618 times the length of wave I). It just might take time to get there.
View: Could consolidate sideways for a while long. Shouldn’t go much further than 1,857. Eventually targeting at least 3,212.
Not every watcher and investor is so sure. Many have written its epitaph, citing its volatility, the fact that it is tied to no goods, services or assets, and the tedious transaction wait times. In March, the Winklevoss brothers lost their ETF filing, which caused a temporary plummet, but further reviews are pending. More significantly, however, its mortal weakness might be the humans behind the code. Disagreements and factionalizing further contribute to its instability as a currency.
But history and mathematics appear to side with the survival of Bitcoin and its continued increase in value, and this, too may come down to human nature.
What Bitcoin actually is?
Firstly, there is the fundamental error of thinking about Bitcoin as a currency. Yes, it is compared to fiat money for valuation, and yes you can buy things with it. But currencies spring from society. They grow along with the populations that use them. Many traditional “old world” currencies are variations on the word for its weight in precious metal. Think lira, pound, shekel, and even carat (the weight of a carob seed). Even the U.S. dollar can trace its etymological roots back to coins from a silver mine in the Czech Republic. They represent the history of commerce and of the people who conducted it – even down to the ribbed edges of coins, designed to prevent people from slicing off pieces of the gold and silver coins before passing them on.
Bitcoin is not a currency. It is more like electricity. It is a power that rides the rails of blockchain technology. Vitalik Buterin, inventor of Ethereum, describes Ether (the “money component” of Ethereum) as its fuel. As electricity, it grows as the grid grows. Its success it tied not to the economy of any single nation state, but the global acceptance of blockchain technology as the new platform for all types of transactions. It benefits from Metcalfe’s Law which describes the productivity or usefulness of a communication technology as a square of the number of users. For example, there was a time when email had no purpose, until enough people started using it.
Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ether all stand in very good stead for continuing to grow in value. In the case of Bitcoin, there is the brand presence. It was, for all intents and purposes, first-to-market. Even without an inventor’s face to stamp on the “heads” side of its imaginary coins, Bitcoin has panache and is inspiring the curiosity of amateur investors along with the pros. Easy-to-use wallets like Bread, and exchanges like CoinBase have made small-time investing easy, and the sending and receiving of Bitcoin is becoming less rocket science and more like a Starbucks app.
The “yes but” argument could state, “Yes, but Bitcoin could fail regardless of the success of blockchain,” and indeed it could. But its history to date has been one of a slow and steady rise, marked by troughs, but still heading generally upwards.
The contentious issues of governance – like fine-tuning the blocks and increasing scalability, the economics of mining, and the concentration of power, loom large. But history has already shown that when its cousin Ether hit a fork after the DAO attack, the majority of investors stayed with the historically-adjusted version of that currency, leaving the more “pure” Ethereum Classic far behind.
These actions within the history of Ethereum may have no bearing on the future of Bitcoin, but then again, they might, because their common denominator is people. People like working with things they know. They like things that win, and this enthusiasm tends to eclipse logic very regularly.
In addition, there is the suspense factor of the 21 million. This hard stop is rapidly approaching, and it leads us all to ask, what happens then? Will the value of Bitcoin soar to unimaginable heights, even briefly through the frenzy of scarcity? It makes the currency interesting in a way that most paper money is not.
Such assessments may digress from classic economic theory, but they take into account and increasingly sophisticated customer base. People all over the world can access currency of all types through their phones. They can buy Bitcoin as easily as downloading a Kindle book, and look what Kindle has done to the centuries-old book printing industry.
As Ronnie Moas states, there will be many losers along this path. It is not a guaranteed win for everyone, especially those who buy too late and sell too early. But in just the same way Tesla is tipping the scales irreversibly towards reliable battery power in houses and cars and away from fossil fuels, so this latest iteration of internet technology is already starting to change the course of commerce, and it will take a huge event to push Bitcoin overboard.