Supported by upward momentum established by the lock-in of the Bitcoin Core development team’s scaling solution Segregated Witness (SegWit), bitcoin today achieved a new all-time high price of US$4,168.
Earlier in August, the activation of SegWit was essentially finalized through the lock-in of Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) 141. As a result, the activation period of SegWit was initialized and according to various data analysis platforms, SegWit is expected to activate on August 22.
Upward momentum of the bitcoin price set by SegWit was carried by the rising demand from institutional investors such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. Earlier this week, Goldman Sachs, the $90.4 billion U.S.-based investment banking conglomerate, encouraged its investors, clients and portfolio managers to consider investing in bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, considering the market’s increasing confidence in bitcoin.
More importantly, Goldman Sachs analysts, along with JP Morgan researchers, told their clients in official corporate letters that regardless of their lack of understanding of the technical intricacies of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, the US$135 billion market cap of cryptocurrencies cannot be ignored.
JP Morgan analyst Robert D. Boroujerdi stated:
“With the total value nearly $120 bln, it’s getting harder for institutional investors to ignore cryptocurrencies. There are currently over 800 cryptocurrencies out there, though just nine have a market cap in excess of $1 billion.”
Other analysts including CNBC’s Brian Kelly attributed the elimination of uncertainty in bitcoin’s ability to scale, increasing adoption of bitcoin in regions like Japan, and rising demand from institutional investors as the core three factors behind the recent rally in the bitcoin price.
Tom Lee, a major Wall Street strategist from Fundstrat, also told CNBC in an interview that he expects bitcoin to continue its strong rally throughout 2017 and outperform all U.S.-based stocks by the end of this year.
Lee, emphasizing the value and importance of bitcoin as a robust store of value, stated:
“I think bitcoin is an under owned asset with potential for huge institutional sponsorship coming. It has a lot of characteristics that are very similar to gold that I think will make it ultimately attractive as an alternate currency. It’s a good store of value,” said Lee.
Lee further emphasized that the integration of bitcoin by the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), the largest options exchange in the U.S., through its partnership with Gemini will lead to a surge in demand from institutional investors.
“Institutions have to directly buy the coin today through a broker, but both the CBOE and the CFTC have opened up options futures trading, so I think it’s going to grow in holdings,” said Lee.
He also noted that he prefers bitcoin over gold, would “easily” rather invest in bitcoin than stocks, and strongly believes bitcoin will become the best performing asset of 2017.
In upcoming weeks, as SegWit activation nears and the market continues to demonstrate confidence in bitcoin’s ability to scale, analysts predict the bitcoin price will rise to US$5,000 without even a minor correction.