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Forward-looking: To say 2022 was a rough time for crypto is an understatement. Following a long period of rising prices and delighted investors, last year saw the arrival of a crypto winter that brought Bitcoin's price crashing down, bankrupted companies, and wiped over $1 trillion off the market, and that's not even mentioning the collapse of FTX. But what will 2023 bring? Analysts' predictions vary wildly, from Bitcoin almost quadrupling its previous record high and reaching $250,000, to the digital coin crashing to $5,000, which would be its lowest price since 2019.
Bitcoin started 2022 at close to $48,000. That's down from its highest-ever price of almost $68,000 a few months earlier, but it was still welcome news for those who invested a few years prior when BTC was under $10,000.
However, the last 12 months have been some of crypto's worst. The collapse of stablecoin TerraUSD and its support coin Luna crushed the industry in May. It led to huge crypto businesses such as Celsius going bankrupt and the market dipping below $1 trillion as the price of Bitcoin and other digital assets crashed. Then came the FTX controversy, which has seen the arrest of founder Sam Bankman-Fried and lawsuits against celebrities who promoted the company in TV ads.
Bitcoin has been hovering between $16,000 and $17,000 since mid-December. But how will the world's most popular crypto fare in 2023? CNBC round up some predictions from analysts, investors, and others within the industry.
Bitcoin's price over the last five years. Will it go up or down in 2023?
The most optimistic call comes from billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper. He believes Bitcoin will rally 1,400% to end the year worth $250,000. "My assumption is that since women control 80% of retail spending, and only 1 in 7 bitcoin wallets are currently held by women that the dam is about to break," Draper told CNBC. He expects things to get even better in 2024 when the halving—an event that occurs every four years in which the reward for Bitcoin mining is cut in half—takes place.
On the opposite end of the scale is Standard Chartered's global head of research, Eric Robertsen, who believes Bitcoin's fall will continue to $5,000 next year, a drop of about 70% from its current price. Veteran investor Mark Mobius has a similarly pessimistic outlook, believing BTC will drop to $10,000 in 2023.
Carol Alexander, a professor of finance at Sussex University, has better news for holders. She believes BTC will reach $30,000 in the first quarter, climbing to $50,000 in quarters three or four, thanks to whales who hold large amounts of Bitcoin stepping in to help the market.
Ultimately, of course, accurately predicting Bitcoin's future price is impossible. Whether the market recovers or plunges even further in 2023 is anyone's guess.