Standard Chartered Bank maintains its prediction from earlier this year that Bitcoin (BTC) will reach $100,000 by the end of 2024, citing Bitcoin's increasing dominance in the crypto market and the potential approval of U.S.-based spot Bitcoin ETFs as catalysts. Additionally, the upcoming Bitcoin halving in late April 2024 is also expected to boost the price of BTC. Meanwhile, a whale investor has accumulated about 11,268 BTC, which could suggest that the whale is also confident in what the price of the market leader could do heading towards the new year.
However, concerns about Bitcoin's environmental impact are once again a topic of discussion, as its Proof of Work mechanism requires not only extensive energy, but also very high water consumption. Many believe that if these issues are not addressed, it could threaten the cryptocurrency industry as a whole by the time the last BTC coin is mined.
BTC Hitting $100K Before End of 2024 a Possibility
Standard Chartered Bank is standing by its earlier prediction from April this year that BTC will reach $100,000 by the close of 2024. According to the bank's analysts, everything is unfolding as anticipated, with Bitcoin's dominance in the crypto market on the rise, increasing from 45% to 50% since April as well.
Geoff Kendrick and the Standard Chartered team strongly suspect that the next potential catalyst for Bitcoin's price surge will be the approval of U.S.-based spot Bitcoin ETFs. The bank believes that these approvals could even happen sooner than expected and anticipates that multiple spot ETFs for both BTC and ETH will receive the green light in the first quarter of 2024. Kendrick and his team also believe that BTC spot ETFs will pave the way for increased institutional investment in the cryptocurrency market, which may also contribute to a jump in the market leader’s price.
Another factor that could fuel BTC's upward trajectory is the upcoming Bitcoin halving, which is set to take place in late April 2024. The halving is a mechanism designed to decrease the supply of new Bitcoins, which has historically led to big price jumps for BTC.
Standard Chartered initially made its bullish 100K BTC price prediction back in April of this year. Despite everything that has happened in the cryptocurrency space since then, the bank remains confident in this forecast and believes that it is very possible for BTC to reach the $100,000 milestone before the end of next year.
Whale Stocks up on BTC
Standard Chartered Bank and its team are not the only people who appear to believe in BTC’s potential. The owner of an unknown whale wallet has invested $424 million in BTC since Nov. 10, accumulating a total of about 11,268 BTC. This activity has led them to becoming the 74th largest BTC holder.
These purchases, which include an additional 875 tokens bought just yesterday, were made at various price points between $36,000 and $38,000 per Bitcoin. As a result, the wallet now holds unrealized profits of approximately $9.8 million, given the current Bitcoin price hovering just below the $38,000 mark.
There has been some speculation online suggesting that this wallet could be associated with one of several major U.S. asset management firms. As mentioned above, these institutional investors are very eagerly awaiting regulatory approval to launch a BTC ETF, and could very well be stocking up on the token in preparation for the approval of these ETFs. However, there is still uncertainty whether "front-running" activities like this are even allowed within the regulatory framework.
More Environmental Concerns About BTC
The recent surge in the value of BTC, surpassing $38,000, has brought profits for investors but has also raised concerns about the cryptocurrency's impact on the environment. A study published in Cell Reports Sustainability highlighted the massive amount of water usage associated with BTC transactions, which averages around 16,000 liters per transaction. To put this into perspective, it's equivalent to filling a garden swimming pool, contributing to a global total of over 1,600 gigaliters in 2021. These environmental concerns are particularly troubling in regions with water scarcity, such as Central Asia, Africa and the United States.
Alex de Vries, a researcher who has been studying the environmental footprint of cryptocurrencies like BTC, predicts that if this trend continues, there could be more than a 40% increase in water consumption. This increase is driven by the energy-intensive Proof of Work (PoW) mechanism that underlies BTC mining. PoW demands huge amounts of computational power, leading to the necessity for extensive cooling systems in data centers and power plants.
Naturally, taking all of this into consideration, there has been a push for using renewable energy sources to mitigate these environmental impacts, but de Vries criticizes this approach as insufficient due to the limited availability of renewable energy. Instead, he advocates for the adoption of the Proof of Stake (PoS) model, which Ethereum transitioned to in 2022. PoS reduces the reliance on energy-intensive hardware by allowing crypto holdings to increase the likelihood of validating transactions. This transition has not at all diminished Ethereum's popularity or functionality, which should eliminate some concerns for projects considering transitioning to PoS.
Looking ahead to the future, especially around 2040 when Bitcoin mining is expected to conclude with the mining of the final coin, de Vries issues a warning. He cautions that miners must shift away from unsustainable practices. Failing to adapt their technology could lead to a situation where they find themselves at odds with environmental sustainability, potentially jeopardizing the long-term viability of the cryptocurrency industry as a whole.