A new study from Juniper Research (www.juniperresearch.com) has found that the total value of Bitcoin transactions is expected to exceed $92 billion this year, up from less than $27 billion in 2015. The research found that transaction volumes continued to be concentrated overwhelmingly on the exchanges, with Bitcoin now trading at values almost 50% higher than at the beginning of the year.
According to the new research, the rise in values could be attributed to three key factors:
° Uncertainty over Brexit – the research argued that Bitcoin’s value is to a significant extent dependent upon economic uncertainty and political instability as investors seek safe havens for their assets. Bitcoin’s price rose in the weeks leading up to the referendum, dipped briefly but sharply when it appeared that Britain would vote to remain in the EU, before recovering when the true result became apparent.
° The continued weakness of the Chinese economy – the overwhelming majority of Bitcoin trading occurs on Chinese exchanges, while the continued weakness of the Chinese economy has seen investors using bitcoin as a haven against expectations of a further fall in the value of the yuan.
° Reduction in money supply – the imminent ‘halvening’ whereby the amount of Bitcoin being introduced by mining in a set time period will halve is also pushing its price upwards.
According to research author Dr Windsor Holden, concerns around the prospects of a Trump Presidency in the US were also likely to cause further spikes in trading and Bitcoin value later in the year.
“If Donald Trump becomes President of the US, there is the very real prospect of turmoil on world markets – the Economist Intelligence Unit ranks his Presidency within the Top 10 global risks,” he said. However, Bitcoin trading would thrive in such an environment, at least until the impact on major fiat currencies becomes clear.”
The research also argued that bitcoin adoption in the retail space was likely to remain limited to a niche audience, with only a small number of websites seeking to offer it as a payment option.