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Bitcoin to Outshine Gold as Ultimate Store of Value Predicts Analyst

source-logo  coinpaper.com 25 April 2024 10:40, UTC

In recent developments across the cryptocurrency landscape, a series of pivotal events are shaping the future of digital assets. From the significant challenges faced by Bitcoin miners following the latest halving event, which slashed their earnings but stabilized network hash rates, to the exciting launch of the first spot Bitcoin and Ether ETFs in Hong Kong, the global crypto market is witnessing transformative changes.

These ETFs, approved by Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission, promise to offer investors regulated, convenient, and innovative investment avenues into digital assets. As these events unfold, they not only affect the operational dynamics and profitability of mining but also broaden the scope of cryptocurrency adoption and integration into mainstream financial systems.

Bitcoin's Bull Run: Analyzing On-Chain Metrics and Comparing to Gold

In a recent newsletter, Charles Edwards, the founder of Capriole Investments, provided a detailed analysis indicating that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies might have significant room to grow in the current bull market. Drawing from various on-chain metrics, including transaction fees from the recent launch of Runes and the long-term impacts following Bitcoin's halving event, Edwards suggests a promising outlook for cryptocurrency prices, notably Bitcoin.

Bitcoin's Halving and Its Impact on Supply

Bitcoin recently underwent its fourth halving event, which historically has been a catalyst for significant price movements. This halving cut the rate at which new Bitcoins are generated by 50%, effectively reducing the supply growth rate of the digital asset and making it scarcer than before.

Post-halving, the Bitcoin inflation rate now sits impressively below gold’s, with Bitcoin’s inflation at about 0.83% compared to gold's increased rate of 3% per annum. Edwards highlighted this point, declaring, “Bitcoin is now harder than gold,” bringing attention to the cryptocurrency's appeal as a robust store of value amidst continuous currency debasement and high inflation rates.

Market Reactions and Predictions

Market intelligence firm Glassnode supports Edwards' analysis, noting that Bitcoin's issuance scarcity has decisively surpassed that of gold due to the halving. This milestone is seen as a historic shift, marking Bitcoin as the scarcest asset globally.

On the other hand, Arthur Hayes, an American entrepreneur and former CEO of BitMEX, suggested that traditional government currencies would likely depreciate due to ongoing excessive money printing. This environment, according to Hayes, sets the stage for Bitcoin to become the "hardest money ever created."

What’s Next for Bitcoin?

Looking forward, Edwards outlined three potential scenarios post-halving:

1. A significant surge in Bitcoin prices.

2. Approximately 15% of Bitcoin miners may cease operations due to profitability challenges.

3. Transaction fees could remain elevated above average levels.

Edwards anticipates a combination of these outcomes, expressing confidence in a bullish future for Bitcoin, “Bitcoin’s days under $100K are numbered.”

However, Glassnode advised caution, pointing out that while historical data following past halvings shows a clear pattern of price increases, the variance in returns is significant. They noted that each halving event unfolds within a unique market context, which could lead to different outcomes than those observed in the past.

The 2024 cycle, for instance, has already diverged from previous patterns by breaking the all-time high before the halving, spurred by factors like tight supply and high demand from new financial products like spot ETFs.

The Road to $1 Million

While predicting the exact trajectory of Bitcoin’s price is complex, both Glassnode and Hayes acknowledge the potential for significant growth. Hayes, in particular, sees a pathway for Bitcoin to reach as high as $1 million, bolstered by macroeconomic factors such as the potential bursting of the sovereign debt bubble.

As Bitcoin continues to establish itself as a formidable asset in the financial world, investors and analysts alike remain keenly focused on how it navigates the evolving economic landscape. Whether or not Bitcoin will live up to these bullish expectations remains to be seen, but the current sentiment and analysis certainly paint a hopeful picture for its future.

Post-Halving Reality: Challenges and Changes in the Bitcoin Mining Landscape

Following the excitement and profitability witnessed on the day of Bitcoin's latest halving, cryptocurrency miners are now grappling with a new set of economic realities. The event, which saw Bitcoin miners' block rewards halved from 6.25 BTC to 3.125 BTC, has introduced significant shifts in revenue and operational dynamics within the sector.

Declining Hash Prices amidst Steady Hash Rates

According to data from the crypto analytics firm CryptoQuant, the hash price—revenue earned per performed hash—has plummeted to its lowest since October 2023. From nearly $0.12 in early April, the hash price dropped to just $0.07 following the halving, a stark contrast to the $0.19 peak recorded on the day of the halving itself. This decline reflects the reduced block rewards available to miners post-halving, a fundamental change meant to control Bitcoin’s supply inflation.

Despite the drop in block rewards and hash price, the total network hash rate has shown remarkable resilience, remaining stable post-halving. This stability suggests that mining operations continue to be profitable, albeit less so than before, at current Bitcoin prices which have stayed above the $64,000 mark since Apr. 19.

Operational Costs versus Profitability

The operational costs for miners have become a critical concern, especially with the reduced income from mining activities. CryptoQuant’s CEO, Ki Young Ju, noted that the cost of mining using Antminer S19 XPs is expected to rise from $40,000 to $80,000 due to the halving. This significant increase places additional financial pressure on miners, pushing them to seek more efficient technologies or cheaper energy sources to maintain profitability.

Transaction Fees and Revenue Dynamics

On the day of the halving, transaction fees surged to record levels, at one point constituting 75% of the total miner revenue, which amounted to approximately $80 million. However, this proportion has since decreased to about 35% of the total miner revenue. This fluctuation highlights the variability and unpredictability of mining revenue streams, which now more than ever depend heavily on transaction fees due to the reduced block rewards.

Industry Adaptation

While the immediate post-halving period has shown stability in hash rates, the long-term implications remain uncertain. Historically, such periods have led to a shakeout of less efficient miners who find the reduced rewards unprofitable against their operational costs. The future of the mining industry will likely hinge on several factors, including further movements in Bitcoin’s price and shifts in global electricity costs, which could significantly impact the profitability margins for mining operations.

Industry observers and participants will continue to monitor these developments closely, as the new economic environment post-halving could lead to significant changes in the composition and strategy of Bitcoin mining operations. As the industry adjusts to these new realities, the resilience and innovation of miners will be key to navigating the challenges posed by reduced rewards and increased operational costs.

Hong Kong Ushers in New Era with Launch of First Spot Bitcoin and Ether ETFs

Hong Kong's financial landscape is poised for a significant transformation with the upcoming introduction of the first batch of spot Bitcoin and Ether exchange-traded funds (ETFs), set to begin trading on Apr. 30. This development marks a major milestone in the integration of cryptocurrency into mainstream financial systems in Asia.

Approval from the Securities and Futures Commission

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong announced on Apr. 24 that it had officially approved the launch of these pioneering ETFs, which include products from China Asset Management (ChinaAMC). These ETFs represent a notable advancement in offering regulated, transparent, and efficient investment options in the digital assets space.

Features of the New ETFs

Unlike traditional ETFs in the United States, which operate on a cash-creation basis, Hong Kong’s spot Bitcoin and Ether ETFs will utilize an in-kind creation model. This model allows for the creation of new ETF shares through the direct deposit of Bitcoin and Ether, enhancing the flexibility and appeal of these products to both retail and institutional investors.

Thomas Zhu, head of digital assets and head of family office business at ChinaAMC, emphasized the benefits of this approach in the official announcement. He noted that the in-kind feature is particularly attractive to current coin holders, offering them an easy way to convert their holdings into regulated ETFs managed by professional fund managers and regulated custodians.

Market Impact and Investor Interest

The launch includes three Bitcoin-based and three Ether-based spot ETFs. This variety ensures that investors have multiple avenues to engage with these leading cryptocurrencies under a regulated framework, which is expected to foster greater security and convenience for investors.

Rebecca Sin, a Bloomberg ETF analyst, highlighted the potential of Hong Kong's in-kind ETF model to significantly boost assets under management (AUM) and trading volumes. This innovative approach contrasts sharply with U.S. models and is anticipated to provide substantial market opportunities in Hong Kong.

Competitive Fee Structures

As the ETF market in Hong Kong heats up, competition among issuers is expected to intensify, particularly around fee structures. James Seyffart, another Bloomberg ETF analyst, speculated in an Apr. 24 X post about a potential "fee war" due to the attractive fee rates being offered. Initial fees are set at 30 basis points (bps), 60 bps, and 99 bps, which are considerably lower than anticipated, indicating a competitive market environment.

Eric Balchunas of Bloomberg noted that the lower-than-expected fees are a "good sign" for the market, suggesting that they could drive wider adoption and increase the attractiveness of these ETFs to a broad spectrum of investors.

Broader Implications for the Crypto Market

The introduction of these ETFs is likely to have a far-reaching impact on the cryptocurrency sector, not only in Hong Kong but globally. By providing a regulated avenue for investments in Bitcoin and Ether, Hong Kong is setting a benchmark that could influence how other global financial markets integrate cryptocurrencies into their regulatory and investment frameworks.

As the Apr. 30 launch date approaches, the financial world will be closely watching Hong Kong’s pioneering move into cryptocurrency ETFs. This event not only represents a significant advancement in crypto financial products but also reinforces Hong Kong's position as a leading global financial hub, innovating at the intersection of technology and finance.