After surging more than 75% so far this year, bitcoin prices could finish 2016 even higher, according to a panel of experts polled by CoinDesk.
These market observers pointed to a range of factors when explaining their forecasts, including macroeconomic uncertainty, market dynamics and a currency war ignited by nations attempting to fix their exchange rates.
Strong year for bitcoin
Starting 2016 at roughly $430, the world’s largest and most well-known digital currency has had a great year so far, breaking through $500 in May and then surpassing both $600 and $700 in June.
On 18th June, bitcoin prices reached $781.31, their highest price thus far in 2016, before falling back from this peak, additional BPI figures reveal. By the end of November, the digital currency was trading slightly north of $740, which represented a 72.5% year-to-date return for the first 11 months.
Bitcoin prices pushed higher during the first few weeks of December, reaching an annual high of $788.49 on the 13th of that month.
Bullish market bets
Petar Zivkovski, director of operations for leveraged bitcoin trading platform Whaleclub, emphasized bullish market dynamics when explaining his forecast that bitcoin prices would be in the range of "$750-$780" by the end of 2016.
“We've seen a healthy dose of new money coming in to support price,” he noted, and stressed that the markets have experienced a “lack of negative/bearish events” that would “trigger an aggressive selloff.”
Joe Lee, founder of Magnr, gave similar input when elaborating on his prediction that the digital currency would finish the year close to $800.
"Demand for bitcoin has been consistent throughout H2 2016 with macroeconomic uncertainty driving interest," he told CoinDesk, adding:
"As a non-correlated asset class, bitcoin is proving itself by standing the test of time. As a technology, it is maturing through the technology adoption lifecycle."
One factor that could increase the odds of such a year-end rally is speculative activity.
Traders have generally been bullish so far this year, and Whaleclub data shows that the market was 73% long during the first 11 months of 2016. 'Confidence', which measures how much larger than average a position’s size was over a particular period, registered 77% over this timeframe.
Ryan Rabaglia, head trader for Octagon Strategies Limited, emphasized this key market factor when making his 2016 year-end forecast.