Mar 23, 2017

What Matters for Bitcoin

The other week SEC rejected bitcoin ETF application, causing a sharp decline in bitcoin exchange rate. However after a few days market quickly recovered to pre-decision levels, near all-time bitcoin highs. I offer you some reasons why this is not surprising to me.

Of course if ETF were to be launched that would add significant allocation to bitcoin, and raise the prices. However even at this point in time there are plenty of convenient, completely legal and legitimate ways to purchase bitcoins. ETF would only add a convenience factor, however with a cost of trusting third parties - which would not be the case if you were to buy and store bitcoins directly.

Second, a number of financial instruments tied to bitcoin already exists (see this article for a comprehensive list) and if one is adventurous enough to allocate to bitcoin, one if probably ok with doing it outside of conventional US-ETF framework.

However what set bitcoin prices lower over the last weekend was a dispute of sorts about future of bitcoin - the bitcoin core vs bitcoin unlimited. I am not a specialist, but will try to explain it to the best of my understanding. Imagine you have a software upgrade that is not compatible with the previous version - that is pretty much the issue. The switch is called "hard fork" - hard meaning not compatible. The split in version is somewhat like a split in a political party - it is subadditive: two best scenarios for the value of bitcoin are if everyone stays with core, or if everyone switches to unlimited. The worst scenario is 50/50 split, where two separate incompatible ledgers coexist. I find this nonlinear behavior to be very interesting.

At this point about 11% of nodes have switched to unlimited according to coin dance. I will be writing more about this as the situation progresses.

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