FLASH: Bitcoin (BTC) was on life support 6 months ago, with prices at about 20% of their record highs, disappointing the world of cryptocurrency enthusiasts who had grown use to extreme moves North and South in the virtual currency.
Then last week’s Asia Blockchain Summit in Taipei highlighted how volatility is back, reviving the excitement around crypto trading.
“Bitcoin is fun, but it is a hell of a lot more fun at 100X leverage,” said Arthur Hayes, the founder and CEO of the exchange BitMEX. “That’s what people want to see in crypto, they want that high volatility,” he said. “At the end of the day, we are all in the entertainment business of traders.”
The Taipei conference was the 2nd annual iteration of an Asia forum that brings investors together with start-ups, financial services providers, academics and others to engage on the blockchain technology that powers digital coins.
“We are surfing a wave here that’s very linked to the price of Bitcoin and probably has taken a couple months to filter through,” said an official of ZVChain, a B-B blockchain project. “We do not see any more of these revolutionary ICO pitches,” he said, referring to ICO’s, which have lost favor after many tokens lost more than 90% of their value.
Much of the conference was spent on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) plans to launch the new Libra cryptocurrency, which proponents say will spark more mainstream interest in virtual currencies.
“It will definitely bring more people into the space,” said the creator of Litecoin, speaking on a panel.
And Yes, there were skeptics present.
One of Bitcoin’s most prominent detractors, New York University Professor Nouriel Roubini, spoke at the conference to reiterate his argument that “there’s massive, massive amounts of price manipulation” in cryptocurrencies. He cited a lack of security and scalability, along with concentration of crypto ownership among his concerns with the industry.
BitMEX’s Hayes countered that “people love to speculate, we’re trying to give them an opportunity to do it in a safe manner.”
Currently, Bitcoin is trading at 11,290.35-506.84 (-4.30%), as of 12:38a BST, the market is open.
Have a terrific weekend