Bitcoin bears have been in retreat this week as crypto bulls send the bitcoin and wider cryptocurrency market higher by some $12 billion in less than 48 hours, potentially ending six months of consecutive losses and bitcoin’s longest losing streak since 2014.
The bitcoin price has soared from under $3,600 per bitcoin on Sunday to almost $3,900 today, according to the latest prices from the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange.
Ethereum rival EOS has led the gains, adding around 25% over the last two days as ethereum rose almost 10%, along with similar gains for Ripple’s XRP.
A rise in the ethereum price sparked the minor bull run on Sunday as traders and investors look towards the delayed Constantinople upgrade to the ethereum network.
The upgrade, which is expected to speed up processing times, improve the way the network monetizes data storage, and reduce mining rewards from three to two, is due next week (February 27) and is part of ethereum’s move to a proof-of-stake consensus algorithm later this year, from the more energy intensive proof-of-work it currently uses.
“The crypto market’s impressive price surge has sustained momentum over the last 24 hours. Investors are questioning whether or not the bear has finally retreated as bitcoin tests $4,000, XRP climbs 7% and other coins follow closely behind,” said Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst at broker eToro.
“These gains are clearly creating a wave of optimistic sentiment throughout the crypto community, with market volume up by $8 billion in the last 24 hours. Market volume is now above $36 billion and we haven’t seen these levels since April 2018. But, until bitcoin breaks above the much-needed psychological level of $5,000, the bear market is still very much in play,” Greenspan added.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrency volume has this month reached its highest levels since May last year as bitcoin transactions approach their all-time highs, according to CoinMarketCap data.
Despite bitcoin’s on-going 13-month bear market some of bitcoin’s biggest supporters and cheerleaders last week predicted a return to the heady days of 2017.
“As far as I’m concerned, bitcoin has won the race to be digital gold,” Digital Currency Group and Grayscale Investments chief executive Barry Silbert told CNBC. “[I’m] as bullish as [I’ve] ever been.”
Meanwhile, long-time bitcoin bull and Galaxy Digital Holdings founder Mike Novogratz has predicted institutional money should start to flow into cryptocurrencies within the next year, which he expects will trigger the next bitcoin price rally.
“A small amount of institutional assets is a lot of money,” Novogratz told the Bloomberg newswire service, predicting the bitcoin price will rise to $8,000 within the next 12 months.
The bitcoin price bear market, labeled “crypto winter” for its debilitating effect on the nascent industry, has seen some $400 billion wiped from the value of the world’s cryptocurrencies as investors get cold feet, worrying that long-awaited institutional investment and mainstream adoption will fail to materialize.
Some have also suggested that major U.S. bank J.P. Morgan’s announcement last week that it’s developing its own private cryptocurrency to speed up and reduce the costs of international transfers has also added support for bitcoin and cryptocurrency prices.