After a sorry Slumptember, crypto prices are roaring higher this morning to start Q4.
Bitcoin is up over 10% - its biggest surge since July, topping $48,000...
Ethereum is also surging higher, topping $3260...
The catalysts for the move is unclear, though we do note that a slew of positive headlines have hit in recent days (and China hasn't announced it is banning cryptos again recently).
On widespread adoption, Visa announced on Thursday the outlines for what it calls a "universal payments channel" that will facilitate transactions between various stablecoins and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). As part of developing the UPC concept, Visa has also deployed its first-ever sample smart contract on Ethereum's Ropsten testnet.
The smart contract shows a payment channel that accepts both ether (ETH) and the USDC stablecoin. Ultimately, Visa aims for UPC to serve as a "network of blockchain networks" to move digital currencies around.
On institutional interest, billionaire investor Chamath Palihapitiya, chairman of spaceflight company Virgin Galactic and owner of NBA team the Golden State Warriors, has argued that Bitcoin has “effectively replaced gold.”
"It's very hard for me sitting here to give you a price prediction, but I can pretty confidently say that Bitcoin, I think, has effectively replaced gold," Palihapitiya opined, speaking to CNBC’s Scott Wapner at the Delivering Alpha conference on Wednesday.
He added that, "it will continue to do so. And so that market cap is just going to grow."
Bitcoin isn't the be-all and end-all for Palihapitiya, though.
"For the first time, I think we're seeing the initial versions of the solution that we thought Bitcoin was supposed to be," he told Wapner. "Smart contracts, better savings accounts, better insurance, better credit scoring."
Asked about Ray Dalio’s recent comments on regulators potentially “killing” Bitcoin if it becomes really successful, Palihapitiya said it would be “very difficult.”
“I think it's very hard to kill. So technically, it's very difficult. Just the way that it's architected, it is the most profound iteration of the Internet that we've seen,” Palihapitiya argued.
In a follow-up tweet, Bukele clarified that “this is officially the first #Bitcoin mining from the #volcanode,” the country’s volcano-powered Bitcoin mine. Earlier this week, he shared a video on Twitter that appeared to show the country taking its first steps to mining Bitcoin using geothermal energy from volcanoes.
The video - which shows a data center in a forest before zooming in on a worker wiring up a Bitcoin mining machine - has been viewed over 2 million times already. In today’s tweet, Bukele noted that the project is “still testing and installing.”
In June, President Bukele said that El Salvador’s state-owned electricity company LaGeo would use “very cheap, 100% clean, 100% renewable, 0 emissions energy from our volcanoes,” to mine Bitcoin.
On regulation, perhaps the biggest news is Fed Chair Powell's apparent flip-flop on banning crypto.
Speaking in response to a question from Republican Representative Ted Budd of North Carolina, Powell clarified that a China-style ban on digital assets was not something he’s considering.
On HODLing, CoinTelegraph reports that 'smaller' whales have been selling, while the largest-volume investors have conversely added to their positions, data from on-chain analytics resource Material Indicators revealed this week.
Whales have been moving record amount of #Bitcoin last two weeks.— Lex Moskovski 🔺 (@mskvsk) September 28, 2021
Total transfer volume of $10M+ transactions keeps staying at ATH lately.
It's even higher than when the price was at $55-60k. pic.twitter.com/FXvcCPPl57
“Whales sold BTC, mega whales bought and purple whales followed with another buy order,” researchers commented alongside a chart of BTC/USD buy and sell levels.
“If you are trying to understand these whale games, look to the thin liquidity they are trying to play to the upside.”
Finally, some traders are looking to the stock-to-flow model - and the similar relationship seen in Q4 2018 to Q1 2019 - as a framework for positioning here.
This model suggests bitcoin will be trading around $80,000 by year-end.