Bitcoin hits B2m amid crypto boom

Bitcoin hits B2m amid crypto boom

Institutions and retail investors behind rise

The price of Bitcoin topped 2 million baht on the Bitkub digital asset exchange as global prices spiked to a new high of US$59,000 on Wednesday afternoon, amid institutional buying of spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and growing retail investor interest in cryptocurrency.

Udomsak Rakwongwan, co-founder of FWX, a decentralised derivatives platform, and a lecturer at Kasetsart University's Department of Mathematics, said Bitcoin has enjoyed a remarkable rise, almost tripling within a year, ahead of the expected halving in April.

The industry is in the pre-halving recovery stage, he said, while the trend has remained unbroken over Bitcoin's lifespan.

"Conversations with industry leaders at many global crypto events I attended reveal a consensus on market recovery timelines and behaviours," said Mr Udomsak. "This has resulted in strategic Bitcoin accumulation and increased marketing expenditures by crypto giants, both of which amplify demand."

With current trends pointing towards increased money supply and potential economic stimulus in the US, especially prior to the next presidential election in November, this alignment could propel Bitcoin's value further, he said.

BlackRock and Fidelity, two of the world's biggest mutual fund companies, have amassed more than $12 billion in Bitcoin ETFs. Consistent inflows signal robust confidence from traditional and institutional investors in Bitcoin's future, said Mr Udomsak.

Global investment bank JPMorgan Chase noted the resurgence of retail investor interest was the main driver behind the recent surge in popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

"The revival of the retail impulse in February perhaps reflects the anticipation of three main crypto catalysts over the coming months: the Bitcoin halving event, the next major upgrade of the Ethereum network, and the prospect of approval of spot Ethereum ETFs by the US Securities and Exchange Commission in May," JPMorgan strategists said in a report.

The strategists pointed to recent reports from Paypal, Block Inc and Robinhood Markets Inc showing net positive Bitcoin purchases by their customers in the fourth quarter of 2023. This surge in retail activities coincides with Coinbase, a major US crypto exchange, reporting the highest quarterly Bitcoin trading volume in two years.

Bitkub Capital Group Holdings said cryptocurrency market capitalisation has surged to more than $1.8 trillion, and investors should be cautious with investments in Bitcoin because of the rapid rise in prices.

Mr Udomsak said the prime buying opportunity before the halving has already passed, but the pattern suggests room for growth in the post-halving year. Despite sound reasons for the pattern, the influence of each halving diminishes with more investors.

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