As Price Eyes $10,000, Bitcoin Faces ‘Mainstream’ Moment

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“Unfortunately, I don’t have anything interesting, intelligent or even funny to say.”

That’s no small statement from Wences Casares, the man often credited with waking up Silicon Valley to the opportunity of cryptocurrency. Indeed, Casares’ loss for words appears to be one shared by early adopters and long-time technology enthusiasts as the price of bitcoin approaches $10,000.

 A milestone long trumpeted as inevitable by the bitcoin faithful, those surveyed by CoinDesk expressed a range of emotions on what it would mean if and when bitcoin tops the key psychological barrier.

Charlie Shrem, entrepreneur and bitcoin advocate, responded by calling the prospect “amazing,” while Zane Tackett, a veteran of the exchange sector called it simply “insane.” Others sought to put meaning to the charts, suggesting that bitcoin’s likely milestone signals a shift in the mainstream understanding of cryptocurrencies.

 Jeremy Allaire, founder of bitcoin broker and blockchain payments startup Circle, for instance, sought to frame the price increase as an early signal for institutional investment in cryptocurrencies, a development he framed as beginning in earnest.

He told CoinDesk:

“It certainly feels like we are seeing a decisive shift from the early adopter phase of digital currency into the mainstream phase.”

Others, like author and investor William Mougayar, called bitcoin’s growth “expected” given its positioning as an “entry point” into the world of cryptocurrencies for many investors, though he said interest is likely to spread into an increasingly diverse market.

“Bitcoin has had an incredible momentum that is both psychological and technical. This might be the tipping point for mainstream adoption,” he said.

Though most of those queried by CoinDesk suggested that they see the rising price as positive, there was also a sense – notable among experts – that the market is moving into a phase destined to buck predictions.

Thomas France, a multi-year veteran of the industry and co-founder of the Ledger wallet, didn’t even go so far as to call himself a market expert in remarks, emphasizing that whatever might be said about the cryptocurrency, the numerical evidence is perhaps enough.

“I see the global market cap of crypto as very, very small compared to its true potential,” France said.

Too much too soon?

Still, less common were those who sought to suggest that the surging price of bitcoin, up nearly 900 percent on the year, may trigger increasing scrutiny on its markets and practices.

Guy Corem, a long-time bitcoin mining company CEO and the founder of a new alternative cryptocurrency startup, DAGLabs, couldn’t quite shake his bad feelings about the market even with the $10,000 level in the offing.

While he acknowledged his excitement, and what he called the “clear demand” of new buyers seeking to allocate capital, Corem worried about possible reactions.

“I am just worried that the rate of growth is too fast and may trigger government’s response,” he added.

In particular, he hinted at fears that cryptocurrency exchanges could be cut off from access to U.S. dollars, or other major fiat currencies that currently provide the avenue for onboarding to new users.

Micky Malka, a veteran investor in the sector and former board member of the non-profit Bitcoin Foundation, also struck a subdued tone, calling $10,000 largely a “symbolic number” – though one he said has arrived faster than his expectations.

“[I’m] already surprised with the speed, especially knowing that it’s still not ready for every person in the world to access it,” he said.

Too early to count?

That said, more active traders were perhaps less convinced $10,000 will be a benchmark exceeded with any degree of ease, owing to the fact it has loomed so large in the sector’s psyche.

Arthur Hayes, founder of bitcoin derivatives platform BitMEX, said he believes that the price barrier is likely to be significant for traders because of this, and thus, is not one that will be breached lightly.

“I don’t expect it to be convincingly taken on the first attempt. That being said, I do believe that by year-end, it will fall,” he said.

BTC VIX, organizer of the bitcoin trading forum Whale Club, expressed his belief that the market is in “bubble times,” and hinted that he is looking to assess the next assets traders may identify in order to increase gains in the market.

Others, however, appeared content to let the market evolve come what may.

When asked if a push above $10,000 was likely, trader Tuur Demeester responded succinctly:

“I wouldn’t bet against it.”

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Circle. 

Bitcoin and gears image via Shutterstock

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