“The blockchain is real. You can have crypto yen and dollars and stuff like that,” said the 61-year-old CEO of JPMorgan, Jamie Dimon, on Tuesday – an expression of his “regret” at calling Bitcoin a fraud last September. Since those comments, which many perceived as damaging to the prospects of the leading cryptocurrency, Bitcoin has more than tripled in value.
However, Bitcoin’s upward trend has been distinctly muted this year. Although it shot up briefly towards the $17,000 mark earlier this week, it has fallen back to the $15,000 region and continues to trade sideways. The overall cryptocurrency market, as usual, has trended in line with Bitcoin’s own price swings and reached an all-time high of $850bn before falling to the $750bn region.
Ripple has been one of the biggest stories of the year so far. Indeed, many mainstream media outlets have christened it the “new Bitcoin” or the “Bitcoin killer”, revealing that their journalists might not appreciate that Ripple’s XRP was initially released in 2012 and that it has been in free fall this week (albeit from recent extraordinary highs). It is currently trading around 50% less than last week at the $1.90 level.
The past seven days have been a blessing for Ethereum maximalists – those who believe that it will dominate Web 3.0. Ethereum shot past the $1000 milestone and posted a new all-time high above $1400 yesterday. Some pundits predict that ether still has a way to go, and feel that Ethereum could easily triple in value this year. After losing the number two spot to Ripple last week, Ethereum has retaken its former position and piled on a roughly $40bn lead on its challenger.
The so-called Chinese Ethereum, NEO, has also performed exceptionally well. Following more talk from the Chinese government about banning Bitcoin altogether, the Chinese cryptocurrency has shot up in value. In the last two days alone it has piled on around 25% in value to reach a new high of $125, up from a mere $30 a few weeks ago.
Overall, however, the cryptocurrency market appears bearish. Many altcoins that rallied as much as 1000% since November are taking a hammering, lending ammunition to those who believe the entire crypto ecosystem is no more than hot air. TRON has shed around 25%, while Cardano and Stellar Lumens have each lost about 15% in the last 24 hours.
Regardless, Bitcoin bull and Wall Street trader Mike Novogratz has announced that he is starting a merchant bank dedicated to blockchain-based initiatives. The new bank, Galaxy Digital Holdings, will be funded primarily from Novogratz’s own crypto holdings, stakes in blockchain companies and ICO tokens, which are rumoured to be worth around $400m. The firm will engage in trading, advisory and asset management; but will it live up Novogratzs’ dream of being the Goldman Sachs of the crypto world?
Time will surely tell.
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