Amid the economic uncertainty sparked by coronavirus, bitcoin appears to have new momentum.
The price of the largest cryptocurrency is up 90% since March 16, when widespread U.S. school closures and stay-at-home orders began. The crypto community cheered the arrival of the third bitcoin halving on May 11, the event every four years in which the reward for mining bitcoin gets slashed in half as a measure to control the creation of new bitcoins. And there’s big attention (including heavy scrutiny from lawmakers) on projects like the Facebook-led Libra Group, in which Coinbase and other big crypto companies, along with tech investment firms, are members.
Alexis Ohanian, the Reddit cofounder and an early investor in Coinbase, believes it all adds up to a new “crypto spring.”
“I try not to track prices, I can’t predict any of that stuff,” Ohanian told Yahoo Finance Live on Friday. “What I can say is we really do see a crypto spring right now in terms of top-tier engineers, product developers, designers, building real solutions on top of the blockchain. And that to me is the most interesting part... We’re seeing really top-tier talent building on the infrastructure.”
Despite saying he doesn’t watch the price closely, Ohanian has not failed to notice, he says, that “We’re kissing up toward $10,000.” So, does bitcoin’s price ride during the pandemic prove out its value as a safe haven investment? Billionaire hedge fund pioneer Paul Tudor Jones thinks so. In a note to clients this month, Jones said he’s investing in bitcoin as a hedge against inflation. “The best profit-maximizing strategy is to own the fastest horse,” Jones wrote. “My bet is it will be bitcoin.”
That was seen as another noteworthy sign of support from a big Wall Street name, though the list of big names in investing that have vociferously shunned bitcoin remains long, including Jamie Dimon, Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, Mark Cuban, Paul Krugman, and Nouriel Roubini.
“I’ve had a percentage of my wealth in crypto for quite some time now and I still feel pretty good about it, I don’t want to change too much of it,” Ohanian says. “Because I do think it’s a prudent hedge. It’s interesting to see OGs of Wall Street now getting into crypto and buying bitcoin. It’s increasingly showing that it’s here to stay.”
Daniel Roberts is an editor-at-large at Yahoo Finance and closely covers bitcoin and blockchain. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite.