1. Bitcoin’s Price Could Surpass $80,000
Though it is impossible to predict market prices with certainty, some high-standing industry members have made predictions. Bitwise anticipates that Bitcoin (BTC) will surpass its previous all-time high of $69,044, last seen in 2021, to reach $80,000.
Bitwise based its prediction on multiple factors. First, the company noted that a spot Bitcoin ETF will likely be approved in 2024, a development that could greatly appeal to traditional investors and drive up demand for BTC. Second, Bitwise noted that a miner reward halving will reduce the amount of BTC issued starting in April 2024, creating relatively high demand for the cryptocurrency’s limited supply.
Bitwise also observed that BTC outperformed all major asset classes in 2023. As such, Bitcoin may perform relatively well even if it does not hit a new all-time high.
2. The SEC Will Approve Multiple Spot Bitcoin ETFs
The first U.S.-based spot Bitcoin ETF will likely be approved in 2024. Though previous applications have failed, recent developments make approval very likely.
Asset management giant BlackRock applied for a spot Bitcoin ETF in mid-2023 and later entered a surveillance-sharing agreement with the major crypto firm Coinbase. Since then, BlackRock has submitted amendments to and met with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is responsible for handling ETF applications. Other competing applicants have closely followed its example.
Strong ETF applications, combined with the involvement of notable asset managers, make approval extremely likely. Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas predicts that there is a 90% chance that a spot Bitcoin ETF will be approved by Jan. 10.
Furthermore, the SEC will likely approve more than one ETF in a short time frame. The fact that many spot Bitcoin ETFs resemble one another, along with the fact that the securities regulator has previously approved cryptocurrency futures ETFs in succession, is evidence that multiple approvals will occur close together.
3. SEC Will Target Industry Leaders
The U.S. SEC is likely to continue pursuing action against members of the cryptocurrency industry through lawsuits that allege securities violations.
Though the SEC’s next targets are unclear, recent developments provide some clues. Berenberg suggested in June 2023 that the regulator may soon target decentralized finance and stablecoins — specifically including Tether (UDST) and USD Coin (USDC).
The SEC has also taken an interest in high-ranking cryptocurrencies. It alluded to top assets like Cardano (ADA), Polygon (MATIC) and Solana (SOL) in its lawsuits against Binance and Coinbase in 2023. Though the SEC has not charged the companies behind those three cryptocurrencies, each is a plausible target for the regulator.
4. Tether Will Reach a $100B Market Cap
Tether’s USDT stablecoin will likely achieve a $100 billion market cap as its issuing company adds collateral to its reserves and mints more of the asset.
Even if USDT does not reach that milestone, the asset is likely to remain the dominant stablecoin. As of Dec. 23, USDT had a capitalization of $90 billion, while its closest competitor, USDC, had a capitalization of $25 billion.
Despite long-standing controversies, USDT is widely used by crypto investors. USDT allows investors to convert crypto holdings to a dollar equivalent without cashing out to fiat currency. In 2024, USDT will be ten years old, and its established status means that it has been adopted widely and grown its supply steadily.
5. Increased AI and Crypto Integration
The rising popularity of artificial intelligence means that crypto companies will likely work to integrate AI with their products and services over the course of 2024. Many cryptocurrency exchanges could introduce AI assistant chatbots similar to the Sensei and Amy assistants now offered by Binance and Crypto.com.
Bitwise, meanwhile, predicts that AI bots will be used to automatically conduct crypto transactions. The company believes that AI agents “will prefer digitally native money, like bitcoin or stablecoins” and that this will begin “at a small scale in 2024.”
Several lesser known crypto projects are also working on unrelated AI efforts. CoinGecko data suggests that AI crypto tokens have a combined market cap of $9.7 billion — a small but important fraction of crypto’s $1.8 trillion market cap.