The price of Bitcoin, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, has grown four times from nearly US$5,000 in March 2020 to an all-time high of over US$20,000 in December 2020. The changing monetary policies, rising inflation and the impact of COVID-19 pandemic has shifted investors’ focus to alternative asset classes like cryptocurrencies to secure the value of their capital, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Kiran Raj, Principal Disruptive Tech Analyst at GlobalData, says: “Unlike Bitcoin’s previous surge in 2017, which was driven by the hype among retail investors, the latest increase is a result of institutional investors, public companies, major banks and payment companies turning their investment focus to digital assets like cryptocurrency.’’
Institutional investors such as Ark Invest, Addison Capital and Horizon Kinetic have recently invested in Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, a cryptocurrency investment trust from NY-based Grayscale Investments, which now manages over US$13bn in crypto assets.
Public companies also piqued their interest in American financial services, merchant services aggregator Square, Inc., which has recently converted US$50m worth of cash into Bitcoin to represent about 1% of its total assets.
Big banks like Citibank and Bank of America are increasingly positive about crypto assets. Analysts at Citibank forecast Bitcoin’s price to cross US$300,000 by the end of 2021 and refer it as the 21st-century gold.
Online payments company PayPal recently introduced a new service allowing its merchants and end-users to buy, sell, hold and accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Other reasons for the price appreciation of Bitcoin include the continuous rollout of financial stimulus by various governments to help overcome the COVID-19 pandemic-induced economic crisis. These packages reduce the dollar’s purchasing power and increase inflation, which is increasing the investor appetite for alternative investment assets like cryptocurrency.
Mr Raj concludes: “Given its inflation-hedging potential, increasing confidence of institutional investors and banks, growing adoption as a mainstream payment method, and the rise of decentralized finance, Bitcoin’s massive rally will be sustained through 2021.”