In Brief

Bitcoin price: is the cryptocurrency heading for a bull run?

J.P. Morgan’s new virtual coin appears to be reigniting investors’ faith in the market

Bitcoin is on course to breaking a six-month stretch of continual losses, as analysts predict a cryptocurrency bull run on the horizon.

Since July, bitcoin prices have tumbled from a peak value of $8,160 (£6,310) to $3,480 (£2,690) at the end of January 2019, according to ranking site CoinMarketCap

The digital coin has been gaining momentum over the past few weeks, however, with prices sitting at around $3,920 (£3,030) as of Tuesday morning.  

If values remain at or above their current levels until the end of February, bitcoin will score its first positive month since values began plummeting last summer.

Mati Greenspan, senior online market analyst at trading platform eToro, told The Independent that bitcoin’s recent gains “may well suggest that the long-awaited bull market is not far away”.

But “until bitcoin sees a strong breakout above the psychological level of $5,000 (£3,860), the longest bear market in cryptocurrency’s short history continues”, he added.

What’s behind the sudden gains?

Most analysts believe bitcoin’s climbing values are the result of banking giant J.P. Morgan’s decision to launch its own cryptocurrency.

The firm’s “JPM Coin” is based on blockchain technology, the same architecture used by the likes of bitcoin, and will be used to facilitate “near-instantaneous” settlements of money transfers, the Financial Times reports. 

Although the newly announced cryptocurrency will be used only for internal online payments at the bank, and is not available for public trading, the move indicates that the wider financial sector is ready to adopt the controversial tech.

“At the end of the day, the fact is that JPM using the digital coin for cross-border payment only strengthens the entire space” and “fosters the very concept that these digital coins are the future”, says Forbes.

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