Should We Expect Another Bitcoin Bull Run In 2023?
That end of 2021 saw a Bitcoin bull run like few assets have ever had — and then for most of 2022 that bull run came to a crashing halt for Bitcoin and for countless other cryptocurrencies.
To the extent that Bitcoin is the oldest and largest cryptocurrency, it can be something of a market leader — or it has been lately, with many other cryptos also succumbing to the long “crypto winter” of 2022.
The price of Bitcoin (BTC) started 2021 at around $30,000, only to more than double and hit north of $60,000 by mid-April. After falling again, it then spiked back up to nearly $68,000 in November 2021, marking two dramatic bull runs within a calendar year.
All that said, 2022 has been quite a different story, with BTC prices falling below $20,000 — and cryptocurrencies like Ethereum (ETH) Dogecoin (DOGE), Solana (SOL), Cardano (ADA), showing similar dramatic drop-offs in value. Now the big question for crypto traders is whether they can expect another crypto bull run in 2023.
Let’s take a look at some of the key indicators, crypto predictions, and possibilities for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies during the next few months.
Can Past Crypto Trends Help Predict Future Ones?
While it’s hard to accurately make Bitcoin projections — or crypto predictions in general — a look back at Bitcoin’s recent history may be helpful in determining if another bull run is ahead for BTC, and potentially other crypto.
Bitcoin investors likely remember the bull run of 2017, during which the cryptocurrency reached a valuation of nearly $20,000. Much of that rally was fueled by hype over several initial coin offerings (ICOs) — including Brave, Kik, and Filecoin — and people who hoped to benefit from rising prices in the short term.
ICOs are when companies raise funds by issuing new tokens to investors who become backers of the blockchain project. But after the ICO bubble popped in early 2018, Bitcoin’s price subsequently crashed. While many of today’s top cryptocurrencies didn’t yet exist, a few also stumbled at this time, including ETH, DOGE, and ADA.
This wasn’t surprising to many experts, who often say that the cryptocurrencies markets are likely to be turbulent, as they fight for credibility.
In 2019, Facebook announced its Libra cryptocurrency, which contributed to another Bitcoin rally, with values topping out at around $11,000. However, when some supporters of the Libra project backed out and Congress questioned CEO Mark Zuckerberg about regulatory concerns, Bitcoin’s price declined to $6,000 and $7,500 during the second half of 2019, along with many other cryptocurrencies. The Libra project, renamed Diem, has since shuttered.
Bitcoin climbed to a new record in 2020, as stimulus packages, meant to prop up economies during the Covid-19 pandemic, led to money finding its way into fringe markets like cryptocurrencies.
How the Crypto Competition Grew
However, there were also signs that different types of cryptocurrencies were gaining wider mainstream acceptance. Prominent investors announced they were buying Bitcoin as a hedge, and payment providers like PayPal announced they would allow customers to use cryptocurrencies.
Accordingly, the crypto markets gained steam. That was led by Bitcoin, which saw its value break its previous high-mark of $20,000 in December 2020. Then, during the first several months of 2021, the bull run continued until Bitcoin hit more than $61,000. Its value did fall to less than $30,000 in the subsequent months, but that drop was a precursor to another bull run.
Between July and October 2021, Bitcoin again saw its value soar, hitting almost $67,000. But after that, its value fell. The economic climate, including high inflation and drops in the stock market, have coincided with a bear run for Bitcoin, and as of November 4, 2022, Bitcoin was trading at around $20,000.
Bitcoin Prediction: What Determines a Crypto’s Price?
Numerous factors affect the price of any crypto, including Bitcoin, and since it is a global currency, Bitcoin’s value can be affected by events around the world. No central actor or authority determines the price of most crypto; it’s set by the market, and by supply and demand from traders and investors. The price can also vary from one exchange to another.
The main factor that determines any crypto’s price is whether investors want to buy or not, or what we typically refer to as “demand.” If good news comes out about Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, or bad news comes out about another type of investment, that can cause people to buy Bitcoins (increase demand) and hike the price up.
Conversely, bad news about cryptocurrencies can cause people to sell. News doesn’t necessarily have to be overtly negative to spook the market, either.
Similarly, the rules of supply and demand affect the Bitcoin market. Only 21 million Bitcoins will ever be created, and if investors see a strong long-term market for Bitcoin, they may want to own a piece of the pie.
Although Bitcoin is the biggest and likely most well-known cryptocurrency, there are thousands of other altcoins available on the market. When good news comes out about other projects, may investors sell off some of their Bitcoin to purchase altcoins.
Also, new projects offer ICOs which can sometimes have a high return in a short amount of time. If a promising ICO comes to market, it might draw attention away from Bitcoin.
Both large financial institutions and individual investors can have an effect on the market. Some crypto holders, known as “whales,” own a significant enough amount of a particular crypto that they can move its price if they make a large purchase or sale.
Cost of Production
The main costs associated with producing Bitcoin are electricity and mining equipment. Although Bitcoin is a digital currency, it must still be mined. The way Bitcoin is designed, only about one block on Bitcoin’s blockchain network can be mined every ten minutes.
If more miners join the network, the more competitive mining becomes, which makes the cost of producing each Bitcoin more expensive. Miners have to invest in new, faster equipment and are less likely to receive a pay out. These costs can have an effect on Bitcoin’s price.
Each country has different definitions and regulations for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, or none at all. When news comes out about regulatory decisions, it can cause investors to buy or sell. It is important to note that cryptocurrency is currently unregulated in the United States, though that’s likely to change in the coming years.
Cryptocurrencies faced regulatory hurdles in the U.S. in 2021. The Securities and Exchange Commission rejected several applications for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund, damping hopes that an ETF version of the cryptocurrency will be trading on U.S. stock exchanges anytime soon. In September 2022, the Biden administration released a first look at potential crypto regulations framework.
In addition, cryptocurrencies experienced volatility after China clamped down on the market, issuing warnings about trading and mining.
Fiat Currency Crises
Crypto has become the preferred currency for many people around the world who may not have access to banking, or who are living in a country going through a fiat currency crisis.
In Venezuela, for example, Bitcoin’s popularity has grown as inflation and sanctions have resulted in the devaluation of the Venezuelan Bolivar. El Salvador, too, even went so far as to make Bitcoin its official legal tender in 2021.
What Determines the Price of Crypto as a Whole?
The same market forces that determine the value of Bitcoin can and do drive value for the crypto market as a whole. Supply and demand is obviously the key driver, but there are a few other key things at play as well.
As mentioned, investor demand is perhaps the primary driving force propelling values in the crypto market overall. This will likely become more apparent as the crypto space grows over time; more coins or tokens will likely be created, but they won’t all be in demand. As such, their values will likely remain low.
Demand can be spurred by the expected growth, in value or in market cap, of the crypto space. If investors expect the crypto market, as a whole, to grow, they might be inspired to buy cryptocurrencies in anticipation of that growth, with the idea being that they’re “getting in early” on an investment. That, in turn, increases demand.
The markets owe a lot to sentiment. If people are pessimistic about the future, they may be less willing to spend or invest money. Conversely, if they’re optimistic, they may be looking to invest or prepare for what’s ahead. For example, if they expect the crypto market to grow, as mentioned, they’re feeling optimistic about the space, and increase demand for tokens, driving the market higher.
Returns From Conventional Investments
A final factor that may play a role in determining the crypto market’s performance is how well conventional markets are performing. If investors are not getting their desired returns from the stock market, they may be looking at alternatives to generate those higher returns. Over the past few years, the high returns and growth in the crypto space has been an obvious candidate. As more investors pile into the crypto market, the higher the demand, and thus, the higher valuations can go.
However, as we’ve seen, the crypto market is very volatile, and presents big risks for investors chasing high returns.
What’s Holding Bitcoin Back?
While there are big economic factors at play that have led to Bitcoin’s decline during 2022, a few other factors have been holding it back from seeing bigger, significant growth in recent years.
Adoption and Use
Since Bitcoin is a relatively new technology, it takes time for companies to build up tools and use cases for it. At this point, the infrastructure is getting stronger and it’s easy for novice investors to buy and sell Bitcoin at the touch of a button.
However, many people holding Bitcoin don’t own it because they plan to use it for everyday purchases, but rather, because they view it as a long-term, safe-haven investment with a lot of potential upside. It should be noted, again, that investing in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is inherently very risky.
Traditionally, there haven’t been many retailers that would accept Bitcoin. Now, you can use bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies at Starbucks, Amazon, Nordstrom, and many other retailers. Retailers may change their policies, however, which is something to keep in mind.
Lack of Clear Regulation
Experienced investors tend to be very careful about what they invest in. If an asset doesn’t have clear legal regulations and guidelines, they may not choose to take the risk of investing in it. As mentioned, the Biden administration has outlined some frameworks for regulating the crypto space, and it’s likely that formal rules will be introduced in the next few years.
Waiting on Institutions
If large corporations start holding some of their wealth in Bitcoin, or financial institutions otherwise demonstrate support of cryptocurrencies, that could add legitimacy, which could drive new investors to the market.
A survey released in 2021 by Fidelity Digital Assets found that 52% of institutional investors — which could include pension funds, family offices, investment advisers and hedge funds — owned digital assets like Bitcoin.
However, a separate survey by JPMorgan released in 2021 found that 78% of institutional investors are not planning on investing in crypto. However, the survey also found that a majority also think crypto is “here to stay.”
What Happened in the First Half of 2022?
A combination of economic headwinds, mostly related to the Covid-19 pandemic, seemingly crashed together in early 2022, slowing the economy, driving up inflation rates, and dragging down the value of stocks, precious metals, and even the crypto markets.
Crypto Market Crash
Between May and June 2022, the crypto markets lost roughly $1 trillion in value. It’s hard to say what, exactly, caused it. But as mentioned, asset classes of all types saw similar drawdowns. In what is now being called the “crypto winter,” the down market has persisted into the second half of 2022.
Effects on Bitcoin
Bitcoin was not spared from the ongoing crypto winter. You need look no further than the massive drop in Bitcoin’s value to see the effects: Bitcoin started the year trading at nearly $48,000, but by the middle of June, was trading at less than $19,000.
Effects on the Crypto Market as a Whole
Bitcoin’s value was just one victim of the market’s crash; the crypto market as a whole went down with it. Again, the crypto market crash, and subsequent flattening between the beginning of 2022 and the end, as trillions of dollars in value were wiped out in a manner of months. All of the major coins were affected, too, including Ethereum. Some stablecoins were destabilized, too.
A few crypto firms and related financial firms even went belly-up as well.
NFT Values Wiped Out
Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, also saw their value effectively wiped out during the first part of 2022. After NFTs saw a huge bull run in 2020 and 2021, as investors bought into the hype, the average price of NFTs nosedived in 2022. In fact, the average price of NFTs fell from nearly $4,000 to less than $300 in just a couple of months, a similar downward trajectory to what was seen among many cryptocurrencies.
What Will Happen in 2023?
It’s easy to look at most of 2022 and walk away convinced never to invest in the crypto space after such a monumental drop in value. But it’s important to remember that this year has seen a rare combination of both global events and economic headwinds leading to an overall downturn.
That said, there are some things to keep an eye on to try and get a read on what might happen in the crypto space during the remainder of 2022, heading into 2023.
The US Economy
The U.S. continues to face a number of major economic and sociopolitical unknowns. There are midterm election results to deal with, rising interest rates, high inflation, and the prospect of a recession, for instance. And in many respects, the economy is still recovering from the pandemic.
It’s hard to say how that might affect Bitcoin, but some economists believe that a U.S. recession could be rocket fuel for a Bitcoin bull run. If investors lose faith in the U.S. dollar and the stock market, they may turn to the cryptocurrency market once again as a safe haven. Although, to be fair, it hasn’t proven to be much safer than the stock market this year.
Key Technical Indicators
Some technical indicators could signal that Bitcoin is heading towards a bull run, but technicals are not always trustworthy predictions. Depending on how you combine charts and analysis, which likely will involve some advanced knowledge and skill, the market can also look like it’s heading towards a downward spiral.
As mentioned, China has been cracking down on the cryptocurrency market, causing volatility in prices. Meanwhile, the U.S. government is already discussing future rules and regulations for the crypto space. The Biden administration has made it clear that regulation is coming, but it’s also worth noting that changes to the composition of Congress after the midterm elections may disrupt things.
Stablecoins Around the World
Numerous countries are considering developing or already working on their own digital currencies and stable coins. The U.S., Russia, India, and France and other nations have announced plans to enter the digital currency market. In addition to several Caribbean nations, China is probably the farthest along out of the major economies, having launched a central bank digital currency (CBDC).
As these projects progress, they could add legitimacy to the market and challenge some fiat currencies. Bitcoin’s price may go up in the short term as these announcements come out, but whether its value will hold in the long run as the world transitions towards digital currency has yet to be seen.
Of course, Bitcoin is not the only game in town, and other crypto projects are giving it a run for its money.
Another top-tier cryptocurrency is Ethereum. Ethereum has had a boom given the interest in NFTs, which often take the form of digital versions of art or collectibles that are linked to a blockchain , which is one of the many potential uses of blockchain.
Dogecoin had a meteoric rise in 2021, mostly fueled by social platforms that have also been behind the rallies of meme stocks like GameStop and AMC. Elon Musk was a proponent before an appearance on the TV show Saturday Night Live, when he called Dogecoin a “hustle.” Since such developments, the price of Dogecoin has suffered, losing much of its value.
Cardano (ADA) has also had a big rally and become one of the largest cryptocurrencies by market cap. It’s expected to have some features that make it the basis for decentralized finance (DeFi) and NFT projects. It’s another coin that developed a following on social-media platforms like Reddit.
As is the case with any investment, it’s crucial for investors to do their own research and take expert predictions with a grain of salt. The cryptocurrency market is still in its infancy relative to other markets, so there isn’t much data to go on when making predictions, and unpredictable circumstances can have significant effects on the market.
Bitcoin is a risky investment. Investors should consider making their own decisions about their level of risk based on a proper analysis of all the various factors that come into play.
Finally, remember that the past is not a prediction of the future, and just because trend lines indicate a bull run is coming doesn’t mean they’re correct. In such a complex, fast-changing market, it’s important to stay informed and do due diligence.
2022 has been an eventful year for cryptocurrencies, although not in a way that most investors would have liked. The crypto market has lost a lot of value, but that doesn’t mean a bull run couldn’t be around the corner — especially when you consider the rise and fall of crypto values across the board, over the last decade or so.
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How long do crypto bull runs typically last for?
It’s difficult, if not impossible to say, given that the crypto markets have only been in operation for a little more than a decade. The market has experienced bull and bear markets during that time, but it’s likely too early to determine what a “typical” bull run’s duration could be.
What do people think Bitcoin will be worth in 2025?
Expert opinions are all over the place, with some people predicting another massive bull run for Bitcoin, while others thinking that it’ll continue to dwindle. Nobody knows for sure. Prospective investors should be prepared to stomach big losses, though, if they’re willing to chase big potential gains.
How high is Bitcoin’s price likely to go?
There’s no limit to how high Bitcoin’s price could go, with some people thinking that it could top six-figures at some point in the future. Again, nobody knows what will happen, so just as Bitcoin’s price could soar, it could also drop further.
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