Bitcoin’s recent price increases continued unabated on Wednesday, as the world’s most well-known digital currency roared to new highs above $14,000. In the last twenty-four hours alone, Bitcoin has repeatedly set new record highs, breaking through the $12K, $13K, and $14K price barriers. The gains increased Bitcoin’s total market capitalization to more than $246 billion.
The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) announced Monday that it will begin to offer Bitcoin futures trading options to its customers on Sunday evening. The CBOE announcement said that futures trading will launch at 5:00 p.m. CT on December 10 to coincide with the start of Global Trading Hours, with the following day marking the first full day of trading.
According to a written response to Parliament from Lord Michael Bates, Minister of State at the Department for International Development, the UK government appears to be moving closer to issuing regulations for Bitcoin and other digital currencies. Bates issued a statement answering questions from Parliament Member Lord Jonathan Harris that covered topics ranging from crypto use for tax payments to regulation and banks that refuse to provide account services to cryptocurrency businesses.
In Thursday’s White House press briefing, Fox News’ Washington Correspondent Blake Burman asked Press Secretary Sarah Sanders about President Donald J. Trump’s awareness of Bitcoin’s dramatic increase in value, and his thoughts on possible regulatory action from the government:
Foreign Minister Arun Jaitley declared on Friday that the government of India does not recognize digital currency as “legal currency.” The Economic Times reported that Jaitley also suggested that the government has yet to formulate an official position on Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. In response to a question about the Indian government’s position, he noted:
The Internal Revenue Service won a victory this week in its battle to force Coinbase to provide information about the company’s customers. On Tuesday, a judge issued an order requiring the digital currency exchange to hand over details that identify a total of 14,355 customer accounts – information that the tax agency hopes will help it to collect any unpaid back taxes related to those customers’ Bitcoin transactions.
The last month saw much attention turning towards Bitcoin Cash’s meteoric rise from a relatively irrelevant Bitcoin sibling, trading at around 0.085 / BTC to rally by a factor of six to an all time high of 0.53 / BTC, before retracing back by 70% to 0.16 / BTC at press time. The megalithic bull run coincided with the announcement that the Bitcoin2x fork planned for November 16 would be suspended — with the Bitcoin2x developers citing disruption to community cohesion as the reason for the cancellation.
The value proposition debate between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash has centred around each network’s ability to scale the number of transactions they can simultaneously process, the speed at which transactions are verified, and the security risks from centralization that may result from their respective approaches in doing so. The security provided by the distributed nature of blockchains remains Bitcoin’s best differentiator and value proposition compared to mainstream payment vehicles, and any upgrades that might threaten Bitcoin’s decentralized nature — reducing the number of nodes, or moving payment information off the blockchain onto secondary layers – will be fraught with controversy.
Tokyo-based Bitcoin exchange bitFlyer has announced the launch of bitFlyer USA, which will provide digital currency trading services to customers in the United States. The company announced that it has been approved for a New York BitLicense, and has obtained licenses to operate in 40 additional US states and the District of Columbia.
Bitcoin extended its rally this weekend, as it continued to set new price records throughout the day on Sunday. Earlier in the day, the world’s most well-known digital currency surpassed $9,000 for the first time ever. Hours later, that price stood at above $9,700. At press time, that price still hovered near those lofty heights, at $9,674.
During an event this week, the Chairman of the Swiss National Bank offered a cautious assessment of digital currencies. According to a report from Reuters, Chairman Thomas Jordan suggested that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies should be viewed “more as an investment than a currency.” He also confirmed that the central bank is currently examining digital currencies:
Despite JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon’s harsh criticism of digital currency, the bank is reportedly looking at options that could provide its clients with access to CME Group’s proposed Bitcoin futures contracts. According to an unnamed source, JP Morgan Chase is currently taking stock of client demand and evaluating possible risks that might arise if the bank were to help its clients make those trades.
Less than a month ago, Standpoint Research analyst Ronnie Moas revised his Bitcoin price target to $11,000. As Bitcoin opened the week by hitting new highs above $8,200, Moas has again revised his estimates for 2018. He’s now predicting that the world’s most popular digital currency will increase in value to $14,000 by the end of next year.
The Supreme Court of India has submitted notices to several government ministries, seeking a response to a petition that calls for Bitcoin regulation. The notices were sent to three ministries – Finance, Law and Justice, and Information Technology – as well as to the nation’s central bank (RBI) and market regulator (SEBI). That petition cites Bitcoin’s perceived anonymity and lack of accountability, and references regulatory actions that have been taken by other countries around the globe.
LendEDU recently published new data that offers some key insights into Bitcoin investor expectations. LendEDU conducted several surveys over the last several months, questioning Americans about their attitudes toward Bitcoin, ICOs and a few other digital currencies. Those surveys revealed a consistent level of excitement for cryptocurrency’s potential as a currency and investment prospect.
The Square Cash app is now testing support for Bitcoin, and has provided a select group of customers with the ability to buy or sell the cryptocurrency within the app. The new feature is part of an effort by Square to explore how the company can improve the Bitcoin buying experience for those who want to invest in the world’s most well-known digital currency:
The European Commission recently announced the launch of a new 250.000€ study designed to evaluate the potential for creating an EU-wide blockchain infrastructure. The Commission’s goal is to set the “right conditions for an open, innovative, trustworthy, transparent, and EU law compliant data and transactional environment”
The government’s views on Bitcoin were one topic of discussion during U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s interview with Yahoo Finance markets correspondent Nicole Sinclair on Thursday. The Secretary offered few specifics and no timetable for announcing an official position, but did note that he remains concerned about the cryptocurrency’s potential for facilitating illegal activities:
The planned SegWit2x upgrade for Bitcoin was called off on Wednesday after developers announced that they would wait for the community to come to a broader agreement on the matter. That upgrade was originally scheduled to go into effect November 16, but saw support for the plan diminish in recent months.
In an interview with Reuters, CME Group Chairman Emeritus Leo Melamed predicted that the derivatives exchange’s planned Bitcoin futures launch will help to ‘tame’ Bitcoin, by regulating it. He also suggested that the world’s most famous cryptocurrency is rapidly becoming its own type of asset class, which will enable it to be more properly regulated and traded by large investors.
Is the world about to see the beginning of the end of the current fiat currency system? That’s the question posed by a new research paper from Deutsche Bank strategists Jim Reid and Craig Nicol, titled “The Start of the End of Fiat Money?” In the paper, the analysts examine the current fiat money system, discuss emerging trends that threaten its viability, and consider potential replacements – like Bitcoin.