Bitcoin may have had a wild ride in 2017, but investors should brace for more volatility in 2018 if DataTrek Research co-founder Nick Colas’ forecast proves true.
In a research report from Wednesday (Dec. 27) covered by USA Today, the Wall Street analyst wrote that bitcoin could trade in the range of $6,500 to $22,000 next year. That would create a lot of volatility for a cryptocurrency that has already surged more than 1,600 percent this year alone. It was trading around $19,000 late last week, only to plunge into the double-digit percentage range. On Wednesday, it recouped some of its losses and was trading at around $15,700.
"Bottom line: Bitcoin can rally to $22,000 and still be reasonably priced, or plummet to $6,500 and also be correctly valued," Colas wrote in a note to clients. "We expect to see bitcoin trade for both prices in 2018." The analyst thinks a midpoint range of around $14,000 would be fair for the wildly popular cryptocurrency.
According to Colas, it will continue to be difficult to value bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which will result in continued volatility. Still, this year's rise of the market can’t be understated. According to CoinMarket Cap, there are 36 cryptocurrencies that have market capitalization of more than $1 billion, noted the report.
"Bitcoin's primary 'real' use case right now is personal asset protection," Colas wrote. "Yes, that includes money laundering and tax evasion. But it also incorporates the legitimate desire of honest people living in countries with less-than-exemplary rules of law to shield some of their assets.”
Colas said that the only way for bitcoin to surge substantially higher is if a person or company comes up with a “large-scale” business for the cryptocurrency—which he noted could come in 2018. “For now, that scalable use case is asset protection, so that's how we value bitcoin today," he wrote.