Bitcoin to Climb to $5,000; Tech Leaders Say Fork May Increase Volatility

An independent stock research analyst has said that the price of bitcoin will increase to $5,000, ethereum will double to $400 and litecoin will jump up to $80 from $40 by 2018.

Ronnie Moas, Standpoint Research founder, made his predictions in his report on digital currencies – the first two parts of the 122-page report were recently published – where he wrote:

“In my view, the genie is out of the bottle, and cryptocurrencies will continue to rise and take market share away from stocks, other precious metals, bonds and currencies.”

He added:

“I think investors should take a shot on this and hold for a few years. If you lose a few bucks, at least you took a shot. In life, you miss every shot that you do not take. It will probably be more upsetting to watch it (from the sidelines) go up another 1,000%.”

According to Moas, bitcoin will rise to $5,000 while the second most popular digital currency, ethereum, will double its value to $400. Litecoin, currently ranked number five, behind ripple and bitcoin cash, will increase its price to $80.

These predictions were made before the launch of the newest coin on the block, bitcoin cash, so it’s not clear where his position lies with that digital currency.

Moas, however, states that he has bought 10 of the top twenty digital currencies by market capitalisation. This is the first time he has done so and is confident as to where they are going.

He adds:

“In my view, 10-15 years from now, the charts on a few of the top 20 names will look like the Amazon, Apple, Tesla, Facebook, Netflix and Goggle charts look today.”

In July, Moas said that he expected the price of bitcoin to increase to $5,000 ‘in a few months.’ He also mentioned that had recently bought bitcoin, ethereum and litecoin.

Speaking in an interview at the time, he said:

“$5,000 could happen in a few months. It’s only starting to gain traction right now. It’s starting to spread like wildfire right now.”

He believes that its value will increase to new heights because the amount of bitcoins is capped at 21 million. As the number of bitcoins reaches its limit, it will increase demand, which in turn will push its price up.

At the time of publishing, the price of bitcoin was trading at $2,727, according to CoinMarketCap. The digital currency has seen as 0.49 percent rise over the past 24 hours and a 6.14 percent increase in the last seven days. Its market cap is worth just under $45 billion.

Ethereum is up at $221. Even though it saw a 1.62 percent decline in the last 24 hours, it has risen 8.31 percent over the past seven days. It now has a total cap value of $20.7 billion.

Bitcoin cash, which now takes third place among the top 10 digital currencies, is currently trading at $449. It has risen 5.41 percent within the past 24 hours and 3.14 percent in the last seven days. Its market value is worth $7.4 billion. Its value puts it comfortably in front of ripple with a market value of $6.5 billion and litecoin, which is currently worth $2.2 billion.

Could Bitcoin Split Increase Volatility?

On the 2nd August, the bitcoin community saw a bitcoin fork take place. This created bitcoin cash. Now among the top 10 digital currencies, the new coin has helped to push the total market value up to over $100 billion. Prior to the fork, that figure was resting at $91 billion. It remains to be seen whether the market will continue to rise or if it will return to pre-fork levels.

For the moment, though, the launch of bitcoin cash doesn’t appear to be producing too much impact on the price of bitcoin. Since its launch, the number one digital currency has remained stable. This could be indicative of its growth and market value.

And yet, despite this, some are claiming that the fork could increase volatility and hurt wider adoption.

While the creation of bitcoin cash is designed to increase bitcoin’s transaction capability, Vinny Lingham, CEO of tech startup Civic, believes that it could damage bitcoin’s long-term prospects.

“My biggest concern with bitcoin being split at this point is just the brand dilution of bitcoin.”

He adds because there are two coins it may prove confusing to consumers. This may certainly be true for those who are just entering the digital space and don’t know which coin to use. This in turn could hinder wider adoption efforts.

Ryan Taylor, CEO of Dash Core, said that BCH has some issues:

First, Bitcoin Cash has not solved scaling. It has merely kicked the can down the road with slightly larger blocks, but still lacks a credible technology to scale to massively larger numbers of users. Second, Bitcoin will retain the network of integrated services that make the Bitcoin network useful to businesses and consumers. With no substantial enhancements compared with Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash is unlikely to be integrated into those same services, given the substantial expense for businesses operating them to do so.

However, while there are people against the split, some are supportive of it.

Anatoliy Knyazev, co-founder of investment company Exante, said this is how digital currencies are supposed to work.

“(This is) decentralized governance in action. Anyone can try to lead and the market will figure it out.”

Many people who are able to access both BTC and BCH may be holding on to the new coins. They may be doing this until they can dump them when their value increases. As a result, experts are saying that traders should hold on to them.

Meanwhile, according to Erik Vooheers, CEO of ShapeShift, he took to Twitter to say he will be dumping his.

In his opinion the SegWit proposal has ‘overwhelming support’ and he will be standing by his support of it. This is true.

At the last check, support for SegWit remains at 100 percent from the mining community. SegWit2x has a support rating of 89.9 percent. Bitcoin Unlimited (BU), another proposal for the bitcoin upgrade, is trailing significantly behind with 35.5 percent support. At this stage it’s unlikely that BU will come to fruition.

For now, all the community can do is wait and see what happens.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Russian Airline Uses the Ethereum Blockchain for Flight Tickets

Russian airline S7 has revealed that it is now utilising the ethereum blockchain to sell flight tickets with backing from the country’s largest private bank.

Reported in regional newspaper Kommersant, Russian airline PJSC Siberia Airlines, known as S7, and Alfa-Bank started using the blockchain to sell flight tickets on Monday 24th July. The report states that one of the key benefits was faster settlements.

However, this is not the first time that S7 has experimented with the blockchain. In December, the airline undertook the first-of-its-kind payment service with the ethereum blockchain smart contracts through a letter of credit with Alfa-Bank.

Services giant Deloitte, who acted as the advisory consultant to the airline, said in a statement that:

“Legally, this transaction meets all the requirements for a letter of credit as a form of bank settlement, and demonstrates the potential of smart contract application in the framework of Russian legislation.”

Aeroflot, Russia’s largest airline, is also conducting research into the technology, namely digital currencies and how they can be used for flight ticket payments.

The experiments with S7 and Aeroflot are expected to end the 10th December, 2017.

Airlines Turn to Bitcoin

S7 is not the first airline carrier to embrace this innovative technology. There have been several airlines to do so before.

The most recent is low-cost Japanese airline Peach Aviation Ltd., which announced earlier in 2017 that it was to start accepting bitcoin as a form of payment for flight tickets. After the recent interest in the digital currency, which has seen rapid growth in Japan in recent months, it is hoped this will provide an attraction to tourists to visit the country.

Shinichi Inoue, chief executive officer of Peach, said:

“We want to encourage visitors from overseas and the revitalization of Japan’s regions. This is a real first step in partnerships for Japan and we are aiming for more company and service tie-ups.”

The heightened interest in bitcoin in Japan is due to the fact that in April regulations were changed which now see the digital currency as a legal form of payment for goods and services.

As a result, it’s expected that by the end of 2017 there will be as many as 300,000 stores in Japan accepting bitcoin for payments.

Aside from Peach other airlines have also embraced the most popular digital currency for their services too.

These include Latvian airline airBaltic, LOT, the Polish airline and Washington D.C.-based airline Universal Air Travel Plan (UATP).

Three years ago, airBaltic revealed that it was to begin accepting bitcoin payments in an attempt to focus more on the customer. By taking this step the airline became the world’s first to accept the digital currency for its tickets to 60 destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

In 2015, LOT announced that it was going to start accepting bitcoin for its flights to over 60 destinations as well.

UATP also revealed in 2015 that it had joined up with Bitnet as a payment processing partner. As a result, the U.S. airline now has the opportunity of providing its network of over 260 airlines the option of accepting bitcoin for flight payments.

These are just a few of the airline carriers which are embracing the digital currency who see the benefits it can provide to customers. This is in contrast to Morgan Stanley’s claim that bitcoin acceptance among top merchants is in decline.

Russia and Bitcoin

While Russia appears to see many benefits with the blockchain – after all, ethereum’s founder, Vitalik Buterin, is reported to have met with Russian President Vladimir Putin – the country is still sitting on the fence when it comes to bitcoin.

However, its current stance is somewhat different from where it lay in 2016. Last year, a new amendment to the Criminal Code by the Ministry of Finance in Russia saw the regulator proposing a seven-year prison sentence for management and executives of banks and financial services firms for the use of bitcoin. The sentence was less for everyday people caught using it at four years.

Fast-forward to 2017 and the country has shifted gears after the central bank’s governor revealed that the authority is ‘analyzing’ the possibility of regulating the digital currency.

Yet, Elvira Nabiullina, governor of the Russian Central Bank, stated that she views bitcoin as a ‘digital asset’ instead of a currency.

She said:

“We don’t consider that bitcoin can be considered as a virtual currency. It’s more digital assets with the regulation of assets.”

She also claimed that there were some doubts as to what benefits the digital currency could bring to the economy.

While it’s not clear as to what Russia’s next move will be, in an April Bloomberg report Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev said that the Russian authorities hope to regulate digital currencies such as bitcoin by 2018 as they undertake steps to enforce rules against illegal transfers.

This will no doubt help bump the price of the digital currency up while also increasing its user base in the currency.

Bitcoin’s Price Slumps

As of the 26th July, the price of bitcoin has dropped to $2,490 with the total market cap of all currencies down to just under $85 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. In a 24-hour period, the price of bitcoin dropped by 2.14 percent while the market cap has yet to climb back up to $90 billion.

It’s thought that this recent slump is down to caution among investors in light of the potential Bitcoin Cash (BCC) hard fork that is expected on the 1st August.

With many people in the bitcoin community not happy with the SegWit2x solution to scaling issues, proponents are venturing to create their own coin, called Bitcoin Cash. Roger Ver, a self-described bitcoin evangelist and a supporter of Bitcoin Unlimited (BU), was reported as saying that a coin split would be ‘a good thing.’

Now supporting Bitcoin Cash, Ver claims that projects such as Omni and Counterparty would choose Bitcoin Cash.

Yet, while SegWit2x is gathering support, one person said that if SegWit2x didn’t activate a lot of people would lose their faith in the currency:

“Not because I have any particular support for 2X or any particular problem for Segwit, but because it shows fickleness and underhand moves based on politics not sensible technical decisions.”

Featured image from Flickr via Takashi Nakajima.