Bitcoin

Bitcoin Tracker: An Outrageous Prediction

The second week of December saw bitcoin sit pretty solidly in the 750s and 760s after last week’s high point of $777 — on trend for relatively stable (by cryptocurrency standards) growth upward since dipping down into the 550s this past summer. At the time of writing, bitcoin was valued at $769.89.

There’s a new number on the tip of the tongues of some bitcoin aficionados — $2,000.

Danish bank Saxo recently released its annual financial predictions for 2017. Well, its “Outrageous Predictions,” to be more accurate (its qualifier, not ours). For context, the Outrageous Predictions also divine that the U.K. won’t actually leave the EU.

Saxo Bank predicts a nightmarish scenario where, in 2017, President-Elect Donald Trump “pulls out all the stops and jumps on a fiscal spending binge, further increasing the circa $20 trillion of U.S. national debt.”

Saxo wrote that this would then lead to a tripling of the U.S. budget deficit and subsequent massive inflation. The effect would snowball globally, leading consumers, banks and governments to seek out alternative currencies decentralized from any nation-state. Enter bitcoin, which Saxo “outrageously” predicts could see at least 165 percent gains to over $2,000.

Don’t go building a backyard bunker and stocking up on cryptocurrency just yet. The predictions are on the fringes of what’s plausible, and the legal disclaimer at the end of Saxo’s document is considerably longer than most of the preceding predictions. Still, it’s fun to consider what could happen. (Well, maybe “fun” isn’t the right word in this case.)

And while the $2,000 value isn’t an unrealistic expectation for bitcoin in the future — it was trading near $1,200 before Mt. Gox fell, after all — this scenario probably isn’t the way it will happen.

In cryptocurrency developments a bit more grounded in reality, Mexico is seeing a surge in bitcoin purchases in the months and weeks before a Trump inauguration — a reaction to the Trump administration’s proposed crackdown on Mexican remittances.

Pablo Gonzalez, CEO of Mexican bitcoin wallet and exchange Bitso, was quoted as saying: “Nov. 8 was our highest-volume day historically, with about 13.5 million pesos [$664,000 or about 860 BTC] in purchases.”

Trump’s campaign had written on his website back in April that it would attempt to limit the flow of money transfers as part of his pledge to make Mexico pay for the building of a wall. Many worry that limiting remittances would augment the black market conduit for money transfers between the U.S. and Mexico.

In Bulgaria, regulatory pressure has led to the closing of peer-to-peer bitcoin lending platform BitLendingClub. The lending platform will restrict its website, closing down new registration, loan requests and user verification within the next few weeks. Users will be able to repay loans, make deposits and withdraw funds until Aug. 2017.

Regulatory pressure may have got the best of BitLendingClub, but elsewhere in Eastern Europe, bitcoin regulatory attempts are stalling — namely in Russia. Reports from the Finance Ministry website show that Russia will have to wait until at least the fall of 2017 to see a cryptocurrency bill.

Since 2015, Russia has been working to draft a bill that would focus on regulating the creation and proliferation of “money surrogates,” a broader category that would include cryptocurrencies. Even earlier attempts to ban bitcoin have been proposed and subsequently withdrawn. In the meantime, Russians can buy coffee with bitcoin — enjoy it while you can.

But this week’s Bitcoin Tracker isn’t all about doom, gloom and impending regulatory woes. Two new institutions added bitcoin functionality this week — one in the U.K., the other in Germany.

The former saw In Front Digital, a digital marketing agency, announce that it will now accept bitcoin as a supported payment method.

Matt Day, managing director at In Front Digital, said in a press release: “We have been following the trend and usage of cryptocurrencies over the past 18 months and see bitcoin is gaining in strength, popularity and use. We want to be the first agency to bring this option to our customers.”

Current and future In Front Digital clients can now pay for their digital marketing services, including SEO and PPC, with bitcoin — alongside bank transfer and card payment options. By offering alternative payment options, the agency hopes to expanding its client base and to quicken payments for existing clients.

In Germany, the European School of Management and Technology (ESTM) in Berlin announced it would accept bitcoin as a general means of program and tuition payment. ESTM, which offers an MBA program, is the first institute of higher education in Germany to accept cryptocurrency as payment.

Other universities across the globe, including Cumbria University in the U.K. and King’s College in New York City, among others, have started accepting bitcoin payments for tuition in recent years.

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