Crypto Outlook: Big Hack, Yellen Coming Around and Bitcoin to $500,000?
The S&P Cryptocurrency Broad Digital Market Index (SPCBDM) ended the week at 3,925.70. It’s down 5.6% for the month of April, and 13% on a year-to-date basis.
Even so, investors are striking a positive tone about the cryptocurrencies going forward.
“Last week, a new poll from Quinnipiac University showed that Americans below 50 are increasingly “bullish” about cryptocurrencies,” TheStreet Crypto’s Sabrina Toppa noted this week.
The survey is loaded with data, most of it signifying a “thumb’s up” for the sector.
“Among the nearly 2,000 Americans polled, 55% of 18 to 29 year old’s were optimistic about crypto’s future,” the survey stated. “Older Americans, however, had the most negative outlook on digital currencies, with only 21% of Americans 65 or older believing that cryptocurrencies would be a dominant economic force in the coming years.”
The number ticked upwards the more youthful a polling group was, with 53% of 30-to-49 year old’s and just 40% of 50 to 64 year old’s believing in crypto’s future.
Additionally, according to the poll, 74% of polled Americans said they had never purchased crypto, while 8% said they previously owned crypto but no longer own the digital assets.
“Even though most people under 50 haven’t heard a lot about cryptocurrencies, a majority of them see crypto becoming a dominant economic force in the future,” said Dr. Osman Kilic, Quinnipiac University School of Business Professor of Finance and the Director of GAME Forum.
“That signals the marketing is working as crypto companies target sports advertising in a push to go mainstream,” he added.
Kilic is referring to crypto companies’ marketing blitz during high-profile sports events like the Super Bowl. Downloads of crypto apps spiked dramatically following this year’s Super Bowl, showing a 279% bump in downloads.
Even with a bullish sentiment, the crypto industry has an uphill climb persuading investors to actually buy bitcoin, ethereum and other blockchain tokens.
“Cryptocurrencies may be becoming more well known, but there’s still a lot of skepticism about actually owning them, including among young people who are the most bullish on crypto’s future,” added Kilic.
“A lack of interest and understanding is holding them back, and there are also concerns about crypto’s price volatility and just how secure crypto is.”
With crypto’s sliding in value this week, here’s the latest industry news roundup from TheStreet.com.
Bitcoin to $500,000
Bitcoin evangelist sees bitcoin rising to $500,000. Former Goldman Sachs banker Mike Novogratz continues to beat the drum for bitcoin .
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This week, the billionaire finance wizard called for bitcoin to rise to $500,000.
“The billionaire is convinced that bitcoin will experience a new Golden Age soon,” notes TheStreet’s Luc Olinga. “There is no doubt for him.“
According to Novogratz, once the Federal Reserve takes a break from its monetary tightening, bitcoin will resume its march forward. , Novogratz’s company, Galaxy Digital, invests heavily in digital currencies and the crypto sphere in general.
As the economy slows down and the Fed steps back, “bitcoin goes to the moon,” Novogratz said at the “Bitcoin 2022” conference in Miami, according to Bloomberg.
“Bitcoin goes to the moon,” is a popular crypto catchphrase. Evangelists and fans of the cryptocurrency love to repeat it when they discuss bitcoin’s future prospects. The same phrase often accompanies every bitcoin price jump.
“I go to bed and I pray that the stewards of the U.S. economy don’t screw it up,” Novogratz said, adding that he has Russian friends who have gone “bankrupt” recently.
“And so I really do pray that the dollar is going to be strong and it doesn’t go to infinity because bitcoin going to infinity means the rest of the Western world has really fallen apart,” he said, though bitcoin can reach his price targets “with stability in the West.”
Novogratz also repeated his call that bitcoin will reach a price of $500,000 and eventually $1 million.
Last month, the former banker said during a broadcast interview with Bloomberg that bitcoin will be valued at $500,000 per coin in five years.
“To get there, bitcoin has a long way to go,” Olinga noted.
Ronin blockchain hack
TheStreet’s Rob Lenihan points to a growing problem in the crypto sector – lax security.
“Like any frontier, cryptocurrency has its share of danger,” Lenihan reported last week. “Investors traveling through this territory can fall victim to scam artists if not careful.”
According to Lenihan, these cryptocurrency scams are among the most sinister hacks the industry has experienced – and they won’t be the last.
1. Ronin: the blockchain underlying Axie Infinity, said hackers had stolen roughly $625 million from the play-to-earn online game. “The heist occurred on March 23, but Sky Mavis, a Vietnamese studio that developed Axie Infinity, discovered the breach on Tuesday,” Lenihan reported.
2. Poly Network: On Aug. 10 2021, Blockchain site Poly Network said that more than $600 million was stolen by hackers who exploited a vulnerability in the global cross-chain protocol’s system.
3. Coincheck: In January 2018 hackers hit the Japan-based crypto exchange and took about $530 million in NEM tokens. “The hack led two of Japan’s crypto-currency trade groups to merge into a new self-regulatory agency,” Lenihan stated.
4. Mt. Gox: In 2014, an estimated $450 million worth of bitcoin was stolen by hackers from the Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange which once handled 80% of the world’s bitcoin trade. “Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy in early 2014,” Lenihan added. “Former CEO Mark Karpelès recently said certain users will be eligible to receive commemorative non fungible tokens, or NFTs.”
5. Wormhole: last month hackers stole more than $323 million from the DeFi protocol that links blockchain Solana with other decentralized blockchain networks.
6. Kucoin: the Singapore-based crypto exchange said about $275 million worth of cryptocurrency had been stolen. CEO Johnny Lyu said users were paid back via the recovery of $239.45 million through law enforcement and other exchange platforms, and $45.55 million from the company’s insurance.
7. BitMart: In December 2021, hackers relieved cryptocurrency exchange BitMart of $196 million of crypto lucre by purloining a private key that gave them access to two BitMart wallets. “Hackers took $100 million worth of various cryptocurrencies on the ethereum blockchain and $96 million on Binance Smart Chain,” Lenihan reported.
8. Bitgrail: The small Italian exchange lost about 17 million Nano tokens in a hack that cost them around $170 million. “The founder of the company, Francesco Firano, was accused of taking over customer funds prior to reporting the theft of crypto from the exchange,” Lenihan said.
9. Boy X Highspeed (BXH): Hackers hit the decentralized cross-chain exchange for $139 million in November 2021. “CEO Neo Wang stated the hack was probably the result of a leaked administrator key,” Lenihan noted.
10. Cream Finance: In October 2021, hackers stole an estimated $130 million worth of cryptocurrency assets from Cream Finance, a decentralized finance platform. “The hacker exploited a pricing vulnerability by repeatedly taking out flash loans across different ethereum addresses,” Lenihan said.
EU Regs crimping crypto prices? Lenihan’s also on the case over the European Union’s heavier hand on crypto regulations.
Pointing to a downturn in bitcoin prices last week, Lenihan said cryptocurrency prices were off as investors reacted to regulatory efforts in both the U.S. and Europe.
He cited Winston Ma, managing partner of CloudTree Ventures, Author of The Digital War – How China’s Tech Power Shapes the Future of AI, Blockchain and Cyberspace”, who said “the European Union’s forthcoming crypto regulation is likely to have a significant impact on crypto trading and is worth watching closely.”
Ma noted that the EU recently moved forward with measures to ban anonymous cryptocurrency transactions and possibly prohibit crypto exchanges between the EU and tax havens. He also said the adopted text represents the draft mandate for members of the European Parliament to negotiate the final shape of the legislation with EU governments.
“Currently there are no rules in the EU allowing crypto-asset transfers to be traced and providing information on the originator/beneficiary of such crypto-asset transfers,” Ma said. The EP as a whole is expected to vote on the measure during the plenary session in April.
Ma noted that the legislation is part of the new EU anti-money laundering (AML) package, “and the sanction issues rising from the Russia-Ukraine war probably served as a catalyst for this AML-related crypto regulation, just like the recent Biden executive order calling similar crypto regulation.”
“Meanwhile, back in the States, Ryan Grace, Chief Market Strategist at Tastyworks, said the de-leveraging and liquidity draining impact of the Fed’s policy shift will likely cap any serious rise in crypto prices, but long-term investors can get excited about Biden’s executive order and “continued signs of growth across the Bitcoin network,” Lenihan reported.
“The President’s order related to crypto regulation is a meaningful step towards providing the industry with much-needed clarity and should be perceived as a positive development for crypto,” Grace said.
He said that this will “inevitably result in a framework for crypto-focused companies to operate within.”
“It will also encourage participation from firms that have previously shied away from the space due to a lack of regulation,” he added.
Grace said bitcoin is likely to struggle short-term, due to second-quarter market conditions, but “long-term bulls should take solace in the positive developments regarding the bitcoin network, especially the regulatory clarity offered by the recent U.S. Executive Order.”
David Lesperance, managing partner of immigration and tax adviser at Lesperance & Associates, the crypto exchange community is lobbying hard for the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC’) to handle regulatory duties, rather than the Securities and Exchange Commission.
He noted that crypto exchange FTX.com founder Sam Bankman-Fried was recently seen hosting a Washington “networking party for congressional aides, financial lobbyists, and former regulators.”
“The SEC is run by crypto expert, Gary Gensler,” Lesperance said. “Although he has a fascination with crypto’s underlying blockchain technology he hasn’t been an industry booster.”
Instead, he added, Gensler has scared a number of exchanges by warning them that they’re violating the law by selling coins that he views as unregistered securities.
“Lack of registration means steep fines if he is ultimately right,” Lesperance said.
Yellen coming around on Cryptocurrencies.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is softening her tone on cryptos, but she’s not doing handstands over the sector, either.
The U.S. Secretary of Treasury recently sat down with CNBC and admitted that her current outlook on cryptocurrency is not completely negative, which is quite a shift from previous comments when she disclosed she wasn’t the biggest fan of Bitcoin.
According to Ross Mac of Maconomics, Yellen “does, however, reserve some skepticism around consumer protection, illegal use of crypto, and overall financial stability,” Mac said. “And, unlike some on Wall Street, she admitted that some digital assets are not fads.”
How Yellen’s comments play into the Treasury Department’s regulatory framework on crypto is still unknown.
“That said, her assurance that her task force will focus on recommendations on a “regulatory environment where there’s healthy innovation” gives crypto investors insight on regulators’ mindset moving forward,” Mac noted.