Bitcoin was lower for a second day, dropping below $19,000 after bulls failed to push prices past the psychological $20,000 threshold.
In traditional markets, European shares slid, led by travel-related companies, and U.S. stock futures pointed to a lower open as investors worried over the impact of rising coronavirus case numbers. The British pound weakened for a third day as optimism over a Brexit breakthrough faded, according to Bloomberg News. Gold was little changed at $1,863 an ounce.
One theme comes up repeatedly in conversations with crypto insiders: just how fast the industry is moving. Even jaded pros are sometimes astonished (and annoyed) at how much new information they have to process each day.
Contrast that dynamic with the pace of progress in the U.S. stock market, where lately economic stimulus seems to be the only real thread in the news. There are reports of proposed stimulus bills from Congress, speculation over who might benefit most from stimulus and analysis on whether the stimulus is already priced in. Even last week’s disappointing report on U.S. jobs growth served to drive up stock prices, based on the topsy-turvy logic the prospects for more economic stimulus had increased.
Bitcoin prices have stagnated around $19,000 since surging last week to a new all-time high, yet the industry developments show no signs of slowing. Monday alone brought news of the cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex looking to list tokenized versions of stocks like Apple, Amazon and Tesla and an announcement by the digital-asset fund Arca of new custodial support for a tokenized U.S. Treasury bond fund. On the regulatory front, G7 finance ministers during a closed-door virtual session reportedly discussed the need to implement new rules for digital currencies, perhaps looking to slow things down.
There has certainly been no slackening in the pace of newcomers from traditional finance nudging into the crypto space or simply commenting on the bitcoin craze.
On Monday, a unit of Wells Fargo, the giant (and, at least for the past several years, beleaguered) U.S. bank, published a seven-page report devoting a full page to bitcoin.
“Cryptocurrency investing is a bit like living in the early days of the 1850s gold rush,” according to the report from the Wells Fargo Investment Institute. “As we roll into 2021, we’ll be discussing the digital-asset space more – its upside and downside.”
That’s an explicit indication that even more attention is coming the way of cryptocurrencies, not less, as the calendar year rolls over.