Bitcoin’s start to 2019 has been largely inauspicious. The recent jump to the $4,200 area is the highest price we’ve seen since we waved a thankful goodbye to 2018, with the majority of the past eight weeks being stuck in a $500 range. However, the recent volatility, alongside two potentially major catalysts, could see March being the month when Bitcoin really welcomes 2019.
In September of 2018, the crypto world was abuzz with news that Fidelity, one of the largest asset management firms in the world, was stepping into the crypto arena. Details were thin on the ground at the time, although flesh was put on the bones the following month when it was revealed that hedge fund managers and institutional investors would be able to use some of the fund’s $7.2 trillion in assets to trade Bitcoin and Ethereum. Fidelity operates the United States’ top 401(k) retirement savings plan, and is one of the largest 403(b) retirement plan providers for not-for-profit institutions, all of which means that (partial) crypto pensions are imminent.
In late January it was announced that Fidelity was targeting a March launch, and nothing we have heard since suggests that they have experienced any delays in their plans, meaning that the crypto community is waiting with bated breath for official confirmation of when trading will begin.
Everyone in the crypto world first heard of Bakkt back in August last year when it was announced that ICE, the owner of the New York Stock Exchange, was teaming up with Starbucks, Microsoft, and others to create a physically-backed Bitcoin futures platform. The news, and the names attached, sent crypto into a tailspin of excitement and rocket emojis, but three successive delays have somewhat dampened the enthusiasm of many investors, although the latest delay was largely down to the recent government shutdown.
Bakkt still needs to gain CFTC approval, and the latest word is that this should be achieved next month, after which there should be nothing standing in the way of the launch, with the platform presumably having been ready to go for some time. Arguments still persist whether futures markets and Wall Street’s entry into the ecosystem will be good or bad for Bitcoin in the medium to long term, but many will simply be hoping that a March launch will bring the prices out of the doldrums, at least for a short time.
Cambridge’s rec of crypto, Fidelity and Bakkt (ICE) are the 3 most bullish things to happen for $btc. You’ll see real institutional investments in btc over the next 24 months. And $6B of cash in exchanges/ stablecoins/ cryptoVC’s NOT invested yet. $20k+ by EOY 2020 #herdiscoming
— Finance2Crypto (@Finance2Crypto) February 20, 2019
Hope Rather than Expectation in the Markets
With Bakkt and Fidelity both having kept quiet for some weeks on their respective crypto ventures, there is a sense of ‘we’ll believe it when we see it’ among many in the community with regard to both projects launching within the next four weeks. Should they do so however, the news of confirmed launch dates, coupled with the very encouraging volume that was behind last week’s market breakout, could indeed signal a green March for Bitcoin and crypto as a whole.