Fundstrat founder Tom Lee's prediction that the bitcoin price would see "new highs in July" appears unlikely to materialize, but there's no denying that the market has been showing signs of emerging from the seven-month bear market that drove cryptocurrency valuations down approximately 70 percent from their mid-December peaks.
Tuesday evening, that rally took another step forward, as the bitcoin price barreled through $8,500 for the first time since May 21. On Bitfinex, the flagship cryptocurrency marched past this threshold at approximately 23:45 UTC, ultimately inching up to $8,503 before ebbing back to a present value of $8,446.
Many analysts have attributed the market's bull pivot to an uptick in interest from institutional investors, as evidenced by both hard data and anecdotes. To date, the cryptocurrency market has been largely retail-driven, and insiders such as Abra CEO Bill Barhydt have said that "all hell will break loose" once institutions begin taking this ecosystem seriously.
Cautious observers, on the other hand, fear that the market has already priced in a bitcoin ETF approval on the part of U.S. regulators, an event that has not yet occurred and remains far from guaranteed -- at least in the short-term. If the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) asks another round of crypto ETF applicants to withdraw their applications or even issues flat-out denials, it could give the bears a chance to find their footing.
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Last modified (UTC): July 25, 2018 1:33 AM