This week in Bitcoin price: Jan 26-Feb 2

Published on February 2, 2021

The big picture

Markets of all kinds saw major volatility over the last week in the wake of retail investors flooding “memestocks” like GameStop and AMC. After several popular online trading platforms limited trades of those stocks and certain others late last week, Bitcoin exchanges saw strong activity from new users seeking decentralized alternatives to conventional investments. Prices also spiked by nearly 20 percent on January 29, after Tesla founder Elon Musk made the hashtag “#bitcoin” his Twitter bio. Musk, currently vying with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest person, shared further thoughts on Bitcoin via the social-conversation app Clubhouse on Sunday evening (PST). “I do at this point think Bitcoin is a good thing, and I am a supporter of Bitcoin,” Musk said. “I think Bitcoin is really on the verge of getting broad acceptance by conventional finance people.”

Key points

Musk wasn’t the only high-profile investor to signal new interest in Bitcoin. From hedge-fund manager Ray Dalio to entrepreneur Mark Cuban, Bitcoin continues to gain boosters from some of the biggest names in business. In other news, conflicting reports emerged this week about the Indian government’s plans to introduce new regulation around Bitcoin in the world’s second-most-populated nation. 

  • Dalio, founder of hedge-fund giant Bridgewater Associates, described Bitcoin as “one hell of an invention” and is considering the asset for a set of new funds designed to protect investors from fiat-currency inflation.

  • In a post on his blog, Cuban noted younger investors’ increased acceptance of virtual stores of value: “The next generation will find value in digital assets — from any digital good, including any creation made online, to different cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin and Ether — which will be easier to maintain than physical assets.”

  • The Bank of Singapore, one of Asia’s largest financial institutions, said that Bitcoin could replace gold as a store of value. (In related news from the same article, a recent survey showed that 67 percent of millennials prefer holding Bitcoin to gold.)

  • After building a crypto portfolio that now exceeds $1 billion, One River Asset Management CEO Eric Peters points to growing demand for institutional adoption of assets such as Bitcoin. As institutions enter the space, and as prices go higher, Peters suggests that volatility may decline as “stronger hands” participate.

  • In its most recent earnings call, Visa’s CEO elaborated on the credit-card giant’s crypto strategy this week, describing Bitcoin as “digital gold.” The company also shared plans to “enable Visa users to purchase crypto-assets, and to allow users to cash out and make fiat purchases with their crypto.”

  • ARK Invest CEO Cathie Wood said she believes more publicly traded companies will follow Square and MicroStrategy in using Bitcoin as a hedge against fiat currency inflation. “I think we’re going to hear about more companies putting this hedge on their balance sheet,” she said, “particularly tech companies who understand the technology and are comfortable with it.”

  • Looking for a bigger-picture understanding of the forces behind Bitcoin’s bull run? Check out our new special report.

Spotlight: A global movement to host the Bitcoin whitepaper

To signal support for Bitcoin’s promise of decentralized finance that is open to all, a consortium of governments, corporations, and elected officials have organized to host the original Bitcoin whitepaper on their websites. The original cryptocurrency was revealed to the world in 2009 when “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” was posted to a cryptography mailing list by a pseudonymous person or group using the name Sakoshi Nakamoto. 

Coinbase is now hosting the paper that started it all — alongside governments (Estonia, Colombia, the City of Miami) elected officials (Reps. Patrick McHenry and Tom Emmer), and corporations (Square, Fidelity, Facebook’s Novi).