BTC/USD weekly chart, January 02, 2017

Is Bitcoin Ready to POP!?

Bitcoin managed to find its feet in the 2nd half of the day on Tuesday, rallying from an intraday low $12,910.58 to $14,848.91 by the close, shy of an intraday high of $15257.53.

The upside through the day came following some sideways moves through the turn over the year, with the cryptomarkets considering the possibility of the South Korean government shutting down the country’s crypto-exchanges.

On Tuesday, the South Korean government provided a further update on its intentions, stating that the opening of anonymous crypto-exchange accounts would be banned from the 3rd week of January, on or around 20th.

Exchanges will be required to bring on board KYC processes similar to those carried out by banks, while anti-money laundering rules will also need to be improved and, in some cases, incorporated.

There was no suggestion that there would be an outright shutdown of exchanges, though a failure to adopt the new regulations may well result in suspension or closure once enforced.

Adding to the upside in the last 24-hours was news of the Founders Fund’s holdings in cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, with the Fund reportedly having bought between $15m-$20m of Bitcoin, which contributed to the hundreds of millions of dollars in cryptocurrencies held by the Fund.

The smart money also responded to the news through Tuesday, with Bitcoin Futures on the rise, supporting Bitcoin investor sentiment, with the pair having been tracking each other through the morning.

Things are not too dissimilar in the early part of the day today, with Bitcoin up 3.15% to 15,141.53 at the time of writing and Cboe’s Bitcoin futures January contract up $375 to $15,430.

Bitcoin may have eased back from an intraday high 15,500, but with the current spread favouring Bitcoin futures’ January contract, there will likely be some more upside for Bitcoin through the afternoon, though the futures markets will need to hold on to current levels.

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Looking at the Cboe’s February and March contracts, pricing has improved with Bitcoin expected to see upward momentum through the 1st quarter, though there are certainly no hints of a rally to the dizzy heights of $20,000.

This will continue to be an issue that Bitcoin will face and may ultimately lead to a further decline in Bitcoin’s market share. Unless the smart money is willing to bet that Bitcoin is going to make more sizeable jumps intraday, as it has been known to do through its relatively short history, investors may well look elsewhere for the exponential gains that are still likely to be delivered by some of the more than 1,300 cryptocurrencies in the market today.

Lumen (XLM), for instance, is up 22% this morning and up by 94% in just the first few days of the year, compared with Bitcoin’s 9.09% year-to-date gain. That’s quite a difference in return, with even Ripple delivering more than 20% through the first few days. Some will sit tight, hoping that Bitcoin can make its 2017 jumps through the year, with the knowledge that even the 9.09% gain is well ahead of any of the global equity markets and will likely to remain ahead over the near-term at least.

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