Bitcoin has proved to be a volatile commodity, not a haven, with a major potential benefit.
Writing to clients in “Flows & Liquidity,” one of the flagship publications of JPMorgan, the authors said that it is more fitting to classify bitcoin as a risk asset rather than a stable asset based on the increased positive correlation of the leading cryptocurrency with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index since March.
The role of Bitcoin as a risk asset is possibly more a reflection of the need for an alternative currency than of the need for a stable asset or hedge.
This is also true of gold to some degree, although the yellow metal volatility is notably lower than that of bitcoin.
How investors currently view bitcoin’s value implies that over the coming years, the analysts wrote, it will compete more vigorously with gold as an alternative currency. Millennial investors’ interest in cryptocurrencies intensifies Bitcoin’s role as a gold competitor, and the certainty of the population of younger investors becomes a more significant component of the investor universe over time.
The market capitalization of Bitcoin will have to increase by a factor of 10 before it could equal the overall investment in gold by the private sector, adding that even a small crowding out of gold as an alternative currency over the longer term will mean doubling or tripling bitcoin’s price from here.
The note highlights the value of corporate and legacy investor interest that gives bitcoin legitimacy as an investment tool, beyond Millennial investor interest. Another huge move towards corporate support for bitcoin is PayPal’s Wednesday declaration of consent for bitcoin and alternate cryptocurrencies (altcoins).
The authors also recognize a significant increase in the interest of institutional investors in bitcoin suggested by CME futures and options markets activity.
Nevertheless, utility as a store of value is not the only catalyst for future upside. According to the writers, if adopted as a means of payment, bitcoin and altcoin’s price may appreciate significantly.
Ultimately, while bitcoin looks overbought for the near term, the authors reiterate that bitcoin’s potential long-term upside is considerable.