Bitcoin Rebounds as Fears of a Clampdown Subside

Martin Green

Monday, February 19, 2018 1:15 PM UTC

Monday, Feb. 19, 2018 1:15 PM UTC

The price of Bitcoin surged past the $11,000 mark for the first time since January as fears over tighter regulation began to subside. 

The price of Bitcoin surged past the $11,000 mark for the first time since January as fears over tighter regulation began to subside. A violent sell-off at the start of this month greeted news that nations around the world were considering a clampdown on the cryptocurrency. There were also rumors of price manipulation and hacks, sparking a fire sale among investors. But those fears have died down over the past couple of days and confidence is seeping back into the market. Over the weekend it broke through the $11,000 barrier and a slight dip to $10,789 on Monday morning was not enough to dampen the optimism among its advocates. The currency is now up more than 80% since it bottomed out at $5.947.40 on February 6.

As a convenient and anonymous currency that easily transcends national boundaries, Bitcoin is perfect for sports betting, but it is subject to the vagaries of all markets around the globe, making it volatile. The recent devaluation was caused by worries of tighter regulations in South Korea, a key market for Bitcoin, but it turned out to be a lot less severe than anticipated.

Investors are now in bullish mood. New York-based analyst Tone Vays said he believes Bitcoin will double in value by the end of 2018, arguing that it should be around the $25,000 mark by the end of December. His view was echoed by Tom Lee, Bitcoin’s earliest and most enthusiastic forecaster on Wall Street, who also said $25,000 is a realistic value by the end of the year. That is because when the price drops, it sparks aggressive buying. Lee expects Bitcoin up to $125,000 by 2022, an opinion seconded by Kay Van-Petersen, an analyst at Saxo Bank.

But for every evangelist, there is a naysayer. James Rickards, strategic director at financial analytics firm Meraglim, said: “I don’t know how anybody could set and justify a price target that high for this year. I think Bitcoin is going to go to $200. The only residual use is for criminals, and it will keep grinding down.” V

italik Buterin, founder of Blockchain network Ethereum warned that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are “hyper-volatile” and “could drop to near-zero at any time”. He added: “Don’t put in more money than you can afford to lose. If you're trying to figure out where to store your life savings, traditional assets are still your safest bet.”

For sports bettors who want to take advantage of the speed, ease of use and anonymity that Bitcoin offers, quickly converting winnings into dollars or other fiat currencies seems like the safest strategy right now. But many people have become rich by holding onto their Bitcoin, and one of them is Bodog founder Calvin Ayre.

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My new project.

— Calvin Ayre (@CalvinAyre) February 19, 2018

The self-styled “His Excellency”, who was previously on the run from US authorities, is building a $100 million five-star resort on Antigua that he says is totally funded by profits from digital currencies. Canadian-born Ayre has been appointed Antigua and Barbuda’s special economic envoy, and has already begun work on the Valley Church beach resort. It will accept Bitcoin cash at terminals throughout the resort and on its online booking engine.

Ayre joins the likes of Jay-Z, Nas, Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent who are all investing in and advocating the merits of Bitcoin, while Ellen DeGeneres also performed a crypto skit on her show. Bitcoin is invading popular culture, and even Starbucks is mulling over whether or not it should start accepting crypto payments. It seems highly likely that the price will continue to fluctuate throughout 2018 amid contrasting opinions about its long-term viability, but it is not going anywhere any time soon.

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