Bitcoin at $45,000 for first time in a year and a half

Bert Slagter Schrijver, spreker en analist bij Bitcoin Alpha, Descryptor & Satoshi Radio

7 December 2023

Things are buzzing in the crypto world. Not because much is happening on the news front, but because the bitcoin price is making big jumps. The arrival of the first spot bitcoin ETF in the United States seems to be another driving force behind it. More on that in this Weekly!

This Weekly in brief

  • Market: The bitcoin price rose 20% over the past week to $45,000. When the price first reached this level in 2021, we saw hype, euphoria and overheating. There is no sign of that now. 
  • News: Regulator SEC has lined up all pending applications for simultaneous judgement with a series of decisions. This creates a short period in which the decision must fall: between 5 and 10 January 2024.
  • Behind the scenes: This week, Amdax-cio was a guest on BNR's Cryptocast. There, he discusses the storylines of the upcoming bull market and explains Amdax's asset management strategies.


The price of bitcoin has had an excellent week, rising 20% to well above $44,000. On Coinbase, it even very briefly tapped the $45,000 mark. That is the highest point since early April 2022, well before the turbulent part of the bear market that began with the collapse of Luna and TerraUSD in May 2022.

The advance began in the early morning on Friday, December 1, just after November's monthly close. November's fine close seemed to be just the push the market needed. In five days, the price rose $7000 and now stands 160% higher than at the beginning of this year.

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Passing the magical 40,000 mark evokes memories of January 2021, when the share price more than doubled from $18,000 to above $40,000 in a month. That was the first time ever that the share price exceeded $40,000. However, the differences between then and now are huge.

Back then, we were in the middle of the energising part of the bull market. Sentiment can be well described with words like thrill, excitement and even already the first signs of euphoria. On-chain indicators were already in the zone of overheating. Large numbers of new retail investors flooded the market.

Now none of that. Retail investors are still largely absent. The buyers in the market are existing crypto investors expanding their positions and new professional investors. There is no hype yet, or at most within a small group of active traders who see their favourite altcoins coming back to life.

Glassnode studio bitcoin value days destroyed multiple 1

You would be better off comparing today to the 2019-2020 period. Back then, the price was around $10,000, roughly 3 times higher than at the bottom, just like today. The mood was far from euphoric, and outside the crypto world, no one was doing it yet.

That comparison helps us get an idea of what lies ahead. Should the current market cycle be very similar to the previous one, this is far from the time to take profits or exit. If so, we would still have a 1000% share price rise - a factor of 10 - ahead of us in the next 1-2 years.

But if you take that equation seriously, you also have to take into account that it could be another 6 to 12 months before we get perpetually above $50,000, and set a new all-time high.

History never repeats, but it often rhymes. It will undoubtedly be different this time in its own unique way. Much earlier, faster and higher, for instance due to a combination of spot ETFs, interest rate cuts, the halving and the presidential election.

Or, on the contrary, things fall seriously short, everything takes longer and price gains remain lower than previous times. A rejection of ETFs, large-scale anti-crypto actions in global politics and deep recessions could cause that.

In short, the future is fundamentally uncertain and we don't have a crystal ball. But if the current market cycle resembles the previous three, then we are now at the first early start of the bull market, and much beauty lies ahead in the next two years.

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News summary

One of the driving forces behind the rising bitcoin price is the alleged arrival of a spot bitcoin ETF in the United States. This week, expectations about it rose to a new high.

With a series of decisions, regulator SEC has lined up all pending applications for a simultaneous judgement. This creates a short period in which the decision must fall: between 5 and 10 January 2024. "Specifically, this means that any approval will take place on Monday 8 January, Tuesday 9 January or Wednesday 10 January," writes Bloomberg analyst James Seyffart. "Put it in your calendars, people!"


Seyffart thinks there is little chance of not getting approval during this period. "Then [SEC chairman] Gensler and the SEC have gone on the warpath. Or they have somehow convinced ARK Invest to withdraw their application."

Many reports continue to emerge from the informal circuit about meetings between the regulator and the applicants. BlackRock and Grayscale in particular come up frequently. With BlackRock, it concerns the way the fund works on the back end, and with Grayscale it concerns the conversion of the existing fund into an ETF. The company is keen to be among the first group of approvals and may use an earlier court ruling as a means of pressure to do so.

The rumour circuit is adamant about the outcome. An SEC source is reported to have said that the probability of approval is 99%, and that all applications will be processed at once. All the dots are on the i and all the dashes through the t.

The eventual approval not only represents new liquidity, but also gives legitimacy to bitcoin and crypto assets as an asset class. For instance, the CEO of BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, called the flow of money into bitcoin a "flight to quality". Yet speculation about future prices continues to attract the most attention: "A spot bitcoin ETF is the biggest pipe this ever built between traditional financial markets and crypto."


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Behind the scenes

On Tuesday, Amdax-cio Marcel Burger was a guest on BNR's Cryptocast. The topic that took centre stage: Crypto is becoming more mainstream.

With the possible adoption of the US bitcoin spot ETF, crypto is increasingly entering the domain of mainstream investors. This is going to be a serious narrative for the future, Marcel predicts. Marcel also discusses developments within Amdax's asset management services.

Bert Slagter Schrijver, spreker en analist bij Bitcoin Alpha, Descryptor & Satoshi Radio

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