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Trump's attack on crypto could push bitcoin up to $40,000 by year-end: Tom Lee

Zack Guzman
Senior Writer

President Donald Trump took to Twitter to lash out against bitcoin and cryptocurrencies on Thursday and some in the crypto community are predicting the renewed attention might actually carry the digital currency to new highs in 2019.

Fundstrat Global Advisors Head of Research Tom Lee shrugged off Trump’s remarks that he’s “not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air,” during an interview on Yahoo Finance’s YFi PM Friday.

“On balance, it’s a positive because cryptocurrencies and bitcoin really are in the main stage now — Congress, the Fed, the president weighing in,” he said, noting Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell mentioned bitcoin and Facebook's crypto endeavors multiple times during his congressional testimony this week. “It’s going to force everybody who is not involved — and remember a very small percentage actually cares about crypto and bitcoin — it’s going to force the other 98% of the world to think about what it means.”

The added attention was also seen as a positive by Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, who cheered the president’s tweet, saying he “dreamt about a sitting U.S. president needing to respond to growing cryptocurrency usage years ago.”

The focus on crypto builds on weeks of added attention that followed Facebook’s (FB) announcement of its own digital currency Libra. Lee predicts the combined momentum could generate a fear of missing out on the part of investors that could carry bitcoin’s price to new highs of anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000 by the fourth quarter.

“Bitcoin is now trading at a level that it’s only seen 3% of its historical days,” he said. “If you go back to every milestone that that was achieved, bitcoin subsequently rallied somewhere between 200% to 400% within the next four months, so I think if that’s playing out this time that means bitcoin could be $20,000 to $40,000 sometime in the fourth quarter.”

To get there, Lee mentioned that the cryptocurrency would need to surpass the $13,400 level that has proven to be a level of resistance this year. Doing so could signal the eventual rally to his year-end prediction. However, Lee made it clear that while Facebook’s Libra would be a strong onramp for more people around the world getting comfortable with digital currencies, he doesn’t see it as a necessity to hit new highs.

“In a world without Libra, is crypto going to be successful? Absolutely. So I don’t think it changes the longterm outlook for bitcoin,” Lee said.

Zack Guzman is the host of YFi PM as well as a senior writer and on-air reporter covering entrepreneurship, startups, and breaking news at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @zGuz.

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