Bitcoin Surges to $9,700 Despite Federal Reserve’s Economic Fears

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Bitcoin has continued to trend higher on Thursday after passing $9,000 on Wednesday, recently spiking as high as $9,950 to only return to $9,700 as of the time of this article’s writing. From the lows seen early this week, BTC is up 20%.

Chart of Bitcoin's price action from May 7 to today from TradingView.com
Chart of Bitcoin’s price action from May 7 to today from TradingView.com

Bitcoin’s rally comes in spite of the fact that the S&P 500 and bonds are continuing to slip lower. They are responding to the Federal Reserve’s chairman Jerome Powell, who issued a statement Wednesday indicating that the United States’ economic outlook remains poor in spite of many states attempting to restart their economies.

Even with this poor economic outlook, analysts are still bullish on the medium-term outlook for the cryptocurrency market.

S&P 500 Slips as Federal Reserve Is Still Cautious

In his latest statement, Jerome Powell doubled down on his fears that the U.S. is currently going through its greatest modern recession ever, explaining that America could experience an economic hit “without modern precedent.”

According to The New York Times, the economist added that even with the Federal Reserve’s stimulus efforts and the Treasury’s attempts to issue money to people and companies, “there is a sense a growing sense I think, that the recovery will come more slowly than we would like.”

The expectations of a “V-shaped recovery” have turned into expectations of a U, then an L, or maybe no solid recovery at all. As Powell continued, without proper support from governments, there will be “long-term economic damage” as mass unemployment and the bankruptcies of thousands of businesses turn the business cycle negative.

Powell’s statement has already had an impact on markets, with the S&P 500 slipping 2% lower during Wednesday’s trading session and losing another 0.5% on Thursday’s trading session thus far. But as aforementioned, Bitcoin has been rallying in the face of this recession.

Sell Stocks and Buy Bitcoin

Although the narrative that has developed over the past few months is that Bitcoin will trade perfectly in tandem with the S&P 500 in recession conditions, it is clear that the cryptocurrency is starting to deviate from the stock market. Case in point: year to date, BTC is up over 20% while the S&P 500 is down over 10%.

This trend of stocks underperforming while Bitcoin rallies is a trend that multiple prominent investors expect to continue.

Speaking to CNBC on Tuesday, Chamath Palihapitiya, one of the earliest Facebook executives and the chief executive of Social Capital, asserted that stocks are too high compared to where the economy truly is.

Palihapitiya argued that the Federal Reserve is divorcing the economy from financial markets because of the stimulus, which props up even companies that are regarded as “junk” by the market.

Although he made no promises stocks will return lower once the economic reality sets into the minds of investors, he made a big deal about how Bitcoin could benefit in this macroeconomic environment.

As reported by Blockonomi, responding to a question about billionaire macro investor Paul Tudor Jones diving head-first into Bitcoin, Palihapitiya said: 

Even he is looking at Bitcoin. The reason is because […] you need to figure out how to protect yourself. However you think about it — from a classic economic theory or the “shmuck insurance” or you’re skeptical of the established governing masses — it is important that we have a hedge. And I still struggle to find anything that is as uncorrelated to anything else and to everything else than Bitcoin.

The investment thesis of “sell stocks and buy Bitcoin” was echoed by Raoul Pal, chief executive of Real Vision and a former executive at Goldman Sachs, who asserted in multiple interviews that Bitcoin is one of the only assets he is holding aside from cash at the moment.

Pal pointed to two things: 1) how the chart of the Dow Jones looks much like it did prior to the latter half of the Great Depression, which crushed stocks; and 2) the U.S. dollar is on the verge of “breaking,” which will force investors to seek safe havens like Bitcoin.

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