At press time, bitcoin is trading at the $7,700 mark. This is the highest it’s been in several days after suffering through several small, but noticeable drops that brought it down to $7,300 during Tuesday’s early morning hours.
One of the biggest bitcoin pushes recently came from an unlikely source: the SEC. Chairman Jay Clayton is insisting that while specific altcoins (which ultimately went unnamed) are classified as securities, bitcoin is, and always will be, a commodity.
Bitcoin is designed to serve as a “monetary replacement” of standard fiat currencies such as USD, the yen and the euro, and in so doing does not fall into the securities category despite investors being able to garner profit and capital from bitcoin.
The primary pressure now lies on the altcoin space, as many currencies have been distributed through initial coin offerings or ICOs. Clayton explains that any coin distributed through a fundraising effort means that the goals of both the investors and the organizers alike were to garner profit from potential returns. This classifies these cryptocurrencies as securities, which inherently places them under strict SEC guidelines.
One of the big questions is whether this idea could potentially affect ether, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency and the number one competitor to bitcoin. In its earliest days, ether was distributed as a presale (now known as an ICO) token, but has become so decentralized in recent years that giving it “security status” isn’t likely to make sense. Granted ether is labeled as a security in the future, its price could be largely affected, and investors may see the numbers going down very quickly.
At press time, Ethereum is back over the $600 mark, though some analysts believe the SEC’s stance on ICOs could bear short-term negative consequences on the altcoin space.
In the meantime, bitcoin is expected to incur a solid break out in the coming weeks, and financial experts are reforming their year-end predictions. David Hanson, a blockchain expert and CEO of the gaming platform Ultra, explained in a recent interview that bitcoin could see an additional $1,000 added to its current price sooner than anticipated. Speaking with The Independent, Hanson stated:
“I believe bitcoin’s price will continue to fluctuate between $6,500 and $8,500 in the coming weeks. In the medium-to-long term, bitcoin’s value should go up, as big institutions enter the crypto space in a bid to gain first-mover advantages, further legitimizing the market.”
UK managing director of the investment platform e-Toro Iqbal Gandham holds similar sentiment. He believes ongoing institutional capital trickling its way into the cryptocurrency space will bring digital assets the attention they deserve, and likely cause bitcoin to once again spike beyond the $10,000 mark by the end of summer.
“As the regulatory landscape clears up, we can expect far more investors, including big ticket institutions, to make their first cryptocurrency investments,” he confidently explained. “For the first few months of this year, the crypto industry has been jogging along at a relatively slow pace, waiting for the opportunity to stretch into a sprint. This may be that moment.”