A decline in bitcoin’s volatility makes it more attractive to institutions and supports a $130,000 long-term price target, JPMorgan says

A visual representation of the digital Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is on display in front of the Bitcoin course's graph
A visual representation of the digital Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is on display in front of the Bitcoin course’s graph.

  • A recent decline in bitcoin’s volatility could boost its adoption by institutions as a low-correlation asset that helps diversify investment portfolios, according to JPMorgan.
  • If bitcoin continues to see its volatility converge with gold’s volatility, it would fetch a long-term price target of $130,000, JPMorgan said in a note on Thursday.
  • “Mechanically, the bitcoin price would have to rise [to] $130,000, to match the total private sector investment in gold,” JPMorgan said.
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Bitcoin’s price volatility has been on the decline in recent weeks, making it more appealing to institutions that are seeking low-correlation assets to better diversify investment portfolios, JPMorgan said in a note on Thursday.

A boost in institutional adoption of bitcoin is “likely to arise from the recent change in the correlation structure of bitcoin relative to traditional asset classes,” the bank explained.

One of the biggest barriers to institutions adopting the cryptocurrency has been its markedly high volatility, which exploded in 2020 as bitcoin more than tripled. From a risk management point of view, high volatility “acts as a headwind towards further institutional adoption,” JPMorgan said.

Now, there are signs that bitcoin’s volatility is normalizing, which would help “reinvigorate” interest by professional investors to include the cryptocurrency in its asset allocations.

One asset that’s negatively impacted from bitcoin’s growing favor with institutions is gold, which has seen $20 billion in fund outflows since mid-October, compared to $7 billion in bitcoin fund inflows over that same time period, according to the bank.

“Considering how big the financial investment into gold is, any such crowding out of gold as an ‘alternative’ currency implies big upside for bitcoin over the long term,” JPMorgan said.

That upside includes a long-term price target of $130,000, which represents potential upside of 121% from current levels.

“Mechanically, the bitcoin price would have to rise [to] $130,000, to match the total private sector investment in gold,” JPMorgan said, based on the current price of gold of $1,700 per troy ounce. JPMorgan previously had a $146,000 long-term price target for bitcoin, but that fell as gold’s price has recently fallen from a peak of $1,900 per troy ounce.

“The decline in the gold price since then has mechanically reduced the estimated upside potential for bitcoin as a digital alternative to traditional gold, assuming an equalization with the portfolio weight of gold,” the bank explained.

JPMorgan’s long-term price target for bitcoin is predicated on the idea that bitcoin’s volatility will converge with gold’s. That’s still far off from happening, as the three-month realized volatility for bitcoin recently stood at 86%, versus just 16% for gold.

“A convergence in volatilities between bitcoin and gold is unlikely to happen quickly and is likely a multi-year process. This implies that the above $130,000 theoretical bitcoin price target should be considered as a long-term target,” JPMorgan said.

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‘Dr. Doom’ economist Nouriel Roubini says bitcoin is not a hedge against inflation and investors are ‘feeding the bubble’

Nouriel Roubini 4
Nouriel Roubini

  • Economist Nouriel Roubini renewed his pessimistic views on bitcoin in an interview with Yahoo Finance this week.
  • The professor said he sees bitcoin as a “pseudo-asset” that is pumped by “massive manipulation.”
  • Roubini also argued bitcoin isn’t a hedge against inflation or a store of value, because of its correlation with stocks.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Nouriel Roubini, an economist known as “Dr. Doom” for his bearish views, said bitcoin is not a hedge against inflation and investors are “feeding the bubble” in an interview with Yahoo Finance on Monday.

 “If people were really worried about inflation they would diversify in a wide range of assets that are historical good hedges against inflation. That’s not happening,” Roubini said.

“People say bitcoin’s a store of value against tail risk, but in February, March of last year when US stocks went down, say 35%, bitcoin was not a hedge, it went down by 50%” the economist added. “The reality is that no one knows what the value of this pseudo-asset is.”

Roubini has long been a critic of digital currencies, but after bitcoin hit a $1 trillion market cap last week the NYU professor has renewed his bearish calls. 

Roubini said he sees the digital currency as a volatile “pseudo-asset” and argued much of the price movement “is driven not by worries about inflation or debasement of fiat currencies,” but rather by “massive manipulation.”

The economist said that there are a number of schemes used by digital currency whales to push the price of bitcoin higher. In particular, he highlighted the stable coin tether as an example.

Roubini said tether is “produced out of nowhere with we don’t know which kind of backing and every other day there is another billion dollars of it that goes to buying bitcoin.”

“We know there are a whole bunch of legal investigations by the DOJ, CFTC, the attorney general’s office in New York, they are looking into what’s going on,” the economist added.

JPMorgan strategists including Josh Younger and Joyce Chang, also warned investors about tether in a note to clients last Thursday, per Bloomberg.

The analysts said Tether Limited is “engaged in a classic liquidity transformation along the lines of traditional commercial banks, but is not subject to the same strict supervisory and disclosure regime, and certainly does not have anything like deposit insurance.”

They also warned problems with Tether could lead to liquidity issues in the crypto market and that Tether Limited has “famously not produced an audit.”

Tether Limited announced a settlement with the New York AG for $18.6 million on Tuesday. The firm was accused of hiding $850 million in losses and has been under scrutiny to see whether it has sufficient cash reserves to back up all tether tokens in circulation, per CNBC.

Tether responded to questions about its business in a statement saying, “contrary to online speculation, after two and half years there was no finding that Tether ever issued tethers without backing, or to manipulate crypto prices.”

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