Many are predicting that Bitcoin still has further to fall and may drop to $3,000 or lower. Photo:  Reuters/ Bobby Yip
Many are predicting that Bitcoin still has further to fall and may drop to $3,000 or lower. Photo: Reuters/ Bobby Yip

While the crypto world seems full of optimism once again, after most crypto-currencies surged in value last week, the reasons behind the price surge remain less clear.

But what is certain is the rise certainly brought the good-time crypto crystal ball-gazers out in force.

At the end of last week the price sat just above the $8,000 mark, representing a more than a 30 percent rise from the start of April. And this where it has hovered since. This rise was at its sharpest on Thursday, when Bitcoin witnessed the biggest one-hour trade volume in its history and also saw its price pushed up by more than $1,000 in a period of 30 minutes.

And as prices started to fly on Thursday, so did the predictions. Thomas Lee, co-founder and head of research at Fundstrat, told CNBC  he expected Bitcoin to sit at $25,000 by the end of 2018, a rise that would represent more than a 200% increase from current prices.

Not to be outdone, heavyweight crypto investor Tim Draper tweeted, also on Thursday, that he expected “bitcoin at $25k by 2022.” On Friday he sent out a clarification.

Actually, the correct figure was $250,000, said Draper. This would mean a multiplication of 30 times over four years.

But before we all start selling the family silver, let’s consider a view from the other side of the fence? This piece from Vox last week, published under the somewhat direct “Why Bitcoin is bullsxxt, explained by an expert” headline, has Nicholas Weaver from the International Computer Science Institute at UC Berkeley absolutely decimating both blockchain and crypto-currencies.

Private blockchains are, says Weaver, a “20-year-old technology that somehow causes idiots to throw money at it” while a public blockchain is “supposed to be a decentralized record-keeping structure but, in reality, is both centralized and horribly inefficient.”

No crypto-currencies are truly decentralized claims Weave, but instead are “actually centrally controlled by the miners, who can basically rewrite history at will.”

Ouch. And there is more.

Crypto exchanges “are unregulated entities that allow all sorts of things that are outright frauds. For example, in a regular stock exchange, you’re not allowed to trade with yourself because that’s price manipulation. But that’s a regular occurrence on these cryptocurrency exchanges.

“Some of these cryptocurrency exchanges are accused of front-running as well,” concludes Weaver, “which means the people who run them are using their access to see what customers want to trade and then trading ahead of them to get an advantage. There are also plausible claims about insider trading in various cryptocurrency exchanges. I could go on, but you get the point.”

We do indeed Mr Weaver. We do indeed.

So what does Nicholas Weaver do at Berkley? According to Vox, he teaches courses on, eh, blockchains.

There are, of course, many out there that won’t want to hear this sort of sentiment, just as the crypto price has started to significantly rise for the first time in many weeks. So if you would prefer to look elsewhere, then why not turn back to the 250K predication man, Tim Draper, who wasn’t just forecasting busy astronomical rises in Bitcoin last week. He was also launching a rap song he has written on crypto-currencies called, what else, the Bitcoin Hustle.

As the markets drastically swing and we look to the future with uncertainty, and perhaps mounting trepidation, there is nothing quite like watching a billionaire in a suit and tie rapping to lighten the mood.

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