A representation of cryptocurrency Bitcoin is placed on a PC motherboard, in this illustration taken June 16, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights
LONDON, July 10 (Reuters) – The value of top cryptocurrency bitcoin could reach $50,000 this year and $120,000 by the end of 2024 Standard Chartered (STAN.L) said on Monday, predicting the recent jump in its price could encourage bitcoin "miners" to hoard more of the supply.
Standard Chartered published a $100,000 end-2024 forecast for bitcoin back in April on the view the so-called "crypto winter" was over, but one of the bank's top FX analysts, Geoff Kendrick, said there was now 20% "upside" to that call.
"Increased miner profitability per BTC (bitcoin) mined means they can sell less while maintaining cash inflows, reducing net BTC supply and pushing BTC prices higher," Kendrick said in a report.
Bitcoin's price has leapt 80% since the start of the year but its current level of just over $30,200 is still less than half the $69,000 it peaked back in November 2021.
Trillions of dollars were wiped from the crypto sector in 2022, as central banks hiked rates and a string of crypto firms, such as the FTX exchange, imploded. This year's collapse of a number of traditional-style banks though has fed the rebound.
Standard Chartered said the rationale for its predicted price rise was that miners who mint the 900 new bitcoins produced each day around the world would soon need to sell fewer to cover their costs – mostly electricity to power super-computers.
Kendrick estimated that miners have recently been selling 100% of their new coins. If the price hits $50,000 though, they would probably only sell 20-30%.
"It is the equivalent of miners reducing the amount of bitcoins they sell per day to just 180-270 from 900 currently."
"Over a year, that would reduce miner selling from 328,500 to a range of 65,700-98,550 – a reduction in net BTC supply of roughly 250,000 bitcoins a year."
Next April or May the total number of bitcoins able to be mined each day is also set to halve due to an inbuilt supply and issuance mechanism that gradually limits supply to maintain its appeal.
Predictions of sky-high valuations have been commonplace during bitcoin's past rallies. A Citi analyst said in November 2020 that bitcoin could climb as high as $318,000 by the end of 2022. It closed last year down about 65% at $16,500.
Reporting by Marc Jones; Editing by Amanda Cooper and Sharon Singleton
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