Recession Won’t Stop Bitcoin from Hitting New Highs in 2024, VanEck Predicts in Annual Crypto Forecast

Despite anticipating that a long-predicted U.S. recession will finally arrive next year, investment manager VanEck still sees expected spot ETF approvals and the upcoming halving event leading up to to new all-time highs for bitcoin for the fourth quarter, according to a new report.

VanEck analysts Matthew Sigel and Patrick Bush expect the U.S. economy to succumb to a recession in the first half of 2024, as slowing economic momentum and cooling inflation leave it more vulnerable to shocks. However, analysts also expect more than $2.4 billion to flow into U.S. spot bitcoin ETFs in the first quarter and keep prices elevated, if they are approved.

VanEck believes spot bitcoin ETFs would trade at spreads of around 0.1%, with zero commissions at many brokerages, catalyzing demand.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has not yet approved a spot bitcoin ETF in the US, having previously approved futures-based funds in 2021. Upcoming deadlines for the SEC’s decision to approve, reject or delay Requests from companies such as VanEck and BlackRock, Bitwise, WisdomTree, Invesco, Fidelity and Valkyrie are expected to drop in mid-January. Bloomberg analyst James Seyffart recently said that the window for potential approval of a spot bitcoin ETF appeared to fall between January 5 and 10.

The Bitcoin Halving and All-Time Highs

bitcoin btc +0.72% The fourth halving, when the block reward is halved, is expected to fall in April and is another potential catalyst, as previous halvings precede significant cryptocurrency rallies in 2016-2017 and 2020-2021. Analysts at VanEck expect the event to pass with “minimal drama,” with bitcoin rising above $48,000 after the halving and miners seeing little difficulty thanks to much-improved balance sheets.

Days since the peak of the Bitcoin cycle. Image: VanEck.

Analysts then expect Bitcoin to climb a “presidential-sized wall of worry” in the US election year to hit an all-time high in November and a late cycle peak as high as $160,000. “If bitcoin hits $100,000 in December, we make a longshot bet that Satoshi Nakamoto will be named Time magazine’s ‘Man of the Year,'” they added.

Peak price of the cycle. Image: VanEck.

Bitcoin is currently trading at $44,006, up 165% year-to-date, according to price data from The Block.

BTC/USD price chart. Image: The Block/TradingView.

Ether Won’t Switch to Bitcoin, But Solana Will Still Outperform Bitcoin

Sigel and Bush said ether won’t change bitcoin’s market cap in 2024, particularly with bitcoin’s more apparent regulatory status, but will outperform mega-cap tech stocks. As in previous cycles, VanEck expects bitcoin to lead the rally next year, and that ether won’t start outperforming until after the halving. But there will be “no changes,” they said.

He ETH +0.78% :BTC price ratio is currently near its lowest level since July 2022, around 0.05.

The ETH:BTC price ratio. Image: VanEck.

Analysts argued that ether will also lose market share to other smart contract platforms with less uncertainty around scalability, such as solarium SUN +11.35% . They also expect Ethereum Layer 2, such as Polygon, Arbitrum, and Optimism, to consolidate towards two or three dominant players by value and usage, with one of them achieving higher monthly DEX volume and total value locked than Ethereum for the first time.

VanEck anticipates solana will become one of the top three cryptocurrencies by market capitalization in 2024, behind bitcoin and ether, driven by a surge in DeFi activity on the blockchain to join the “spot ETF wars” with the two main digital assets.

Binance will lose top spot and NFT activity will recover

VanEck analysts also expect Binance to lose its throne as the top crypto exchange by spot trading volume in 2024 following the company’s $4.3 billion settlement with US authorities and a year of regulatory issues for the platform.

Analysts argued that OKX, Bybit or Coinbase would take the top spot, although they also expect the share of decentralized exchanges in spot market trading volume compared to centralized exchanges to reach new all-time highs.

Additionally, Sigel and Bush anticipate a rebound in NFT activity reaching all-time highs next year as speculators gravitate toward top Ethereum collections and new Bitcoin-based offerings. They also hope that an innovative blockchain game will finally arrive.

Bitcoin and Ethereum NFT volume. Image: VanEck.

Among VanEck’s other expectations for the coming year, his analysts saw the market capitalization of stablecoins reaching a new all-time high as USDC reverses its market share losses this year and the DeFi industry comes to terms with the idea of ​​Know Your Customer (KYC) functionality. on their foreheads.

It should be noted that VanEck can hold positions in any digital asset he mentions.

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