Bitcoin May Not Make a Comeback This Year, Chinese Analysts Claim

Francisco Memoria

Various analysts in China reportedly believe that bitcoin, the number one cryptocurrency, may not make a ‘big comeback’ this year. After enduring a year-long bearish trend that saw its price dip from a near $20,000 all-time high to a $3,200 low, it may not yet be ready to recover.

Per local news outlet Beijing News, analysts in China are cautious when it comes to the cryptocurrency’s future in the short-term, as they argue the market won’t likely see large returns this year.

Sun Hang, a senior analyst at Token Club, claimed that in the short run we may see the market move upward due to an “imbalance” between supply and demand. Even if the price does rise, Hang added, it’ll likely only happen in the second half of this year.

As for whether investors should put their money in bitcoin this year, Hang revealed it depends on the investors. If they’re looking to hold for “3 to 5 years”, he said, it “makes sense to buy [the] dip in 2019.”

 If they’re looking to invest for a shorter amount of time, he added, they should be careful as “bitcoin is unlikely to outperform other investment targets due to the limitations of blockchain technology over the next 12 months.” As to whether bitcoin was close to bottoming out, he noted it wasn’t clear.

Per 8BTC, another analyst named Huang Liang took a different approach. He was quoted as saying:

At both macroeconomic (tight liquidity within the crypto market) and microeconomic level (slower-than-anticipated blockchain adoption), 2019 will not be a year for bitcoin’s strong corrective rally.

The analyst added that BTC’s price may still drop further this year. Another analyst, Xiao Lei, revealed he sees this year as one in which cryptocurrencies look for a “survival value,” and not one in which cryptoasset prices repeat 2017’s rally, although it’ll be better than last year’s bear market.

Per his words, in 2019 we can expect volatility in the market, with heavy correction included. Lei was quoted as saying:

The best investment strategy is to keep calm, pour a relatively small amount of money into the market and accept the volatility.

At press time, bitcoin is trading at $3,900 after rising 1.7% in the last 24-hour period. The MVIS CryptoCompare Digital Assets 100 Index, a market cap-weighted index that tracks the price of the top 100 cryptos, shows BTC is outperforming most top altcoins, as the index is up 1.1% in said period.

Other top altcoins, however, are performing much better. Ether, the second-largest crypto by market cap, is up 5.7% to $159.2, while Tron’s TRX has surged 10% over BitTorrent’s BTT token, while litecoin is up 13% as it’s trading at $36.

Israel Bitcoin Association Petitions Banks to Reveal Crypto Policy

Neil Dennis

A number of Israel's bitcoin traders have already filed lawsuits against the country's banks and on Monday traders lodged a formal petition demanding that the financial industry explains its cryptoasset policy.

Israel's banks have barred the country's crypto investors from depositing the returns on their bitcoin and other digital currency investments due to the nation's strict laws on money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

In recent months banks have even blocked investors who are known to trade cryptoassets from opening accounts, according to a report by Israeli business journal Globes.

Central Bank Warning

Israel has seen strong growth in digital currency investment in recent years and in 2014 the Bank of Israel, the nation's central bank, issued a warning - in co-operation with the Tax Authority and several regulatory agencies - about the dangers associated with the use of virtual currency, including fraud and money laundering.

Taking aim directly at financial services providers, the statement said:

As the use of virtual currencies enables their anonymous transfer, in many cases evading the need to use financial institutions that are subject  to an anti-money laundering and terror financing prohibition regime, this is an activity with a high risk co-efficient in terms of money laundering and terror financing. Therefore, financial institutions must take this into account within the framework of their risk management policy.

Injunction

Israel's top legal authority is well aware a problem exists. In February 2018, the Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction prohibiting a bank from blocking activities in an account held by a company that engaged in bitcoin trading.

The bank, however, countered the Supreme Court's injunction, citing the 2014 Bank of Israel warning regarding the risks of bitcoin trade. The bank alleged that activities exposing the bank to such unlawful acts might "harm its reputation and public trust in the bank".

While the injunction stood, it did not affect the bank's right to examine individual activities in the account, nor did it affect the bank's ability to take steps to minimize risks associated with the business activities of the company.

Freedom of Information

The freedom of information petition filed in the Jerusalem District Court on Monday by the Israel Bitcoin Association demands that commercial banks make public their policies on cryptoassets.

Jonathan Klinger, legal adviser to the Bitcoin Association, told Globes:

Under the Banking (Licensing) Law, it is the duty of a bank to state to the Bank of Israel the policy under which it refuses to conduct transactions. We therefore contacted the Bank of Israel and asked for this information, but the Bank of Israel did not agree to disclose this policy to us. We therefore decided to petition the court to force the Bank of Israel to provide us with a copy of the policy submitted to it by the banks.

Lawsuits

Last week the Tel Aviv District Court received a petition for approval of a 75 million shekel ($21.3 million) class action suit against Bank Hapoalim that alleges the bank refused a customer seeking to deposit money from the sale of digital currencies.