After having chained the records at the end of 2020 and at the beginning of the year, bitcoin seems to have lost a little of its brilliance: between December and April, the cryptocurrency chained the highest historical, going from less than 20,000 dollars to more than 60,000 dollars.

A boosted performance, fueled by the interest of big names in new technologies and finance, who until then had kept away from this technology, which has only existed since 2008.

But since then, and despite a new record in October, bitcoin has continued its surges with equally spectacular dives, and evolved at the end of December at less than $ 50,000.

"The choppy and directionless price performance which could translate into a further decline in the short term makes the market very uncertain," admits Loukas Lagoudis, of cryptocurrency fund ARK36.

But "we expect the adoption of digital assets by institutional investors and their integration into the traditional financial system to further push the crypto market next year," he believes.

The regulator is watching

This is indeed what has boosted the price of bitcoin since the end of 2020: announcements related to cryptocurrencies have multiplied over the months, from the big names in traditional finance to those in new technologies.

While the adoption of bitcoin as an official currency by El Salvador has made an impression, investors have focused on Wall Street's appetite for cryptocurrency.

The bitcoin high in April coincided with the IPO of the cryptocurrency trading and buying platform Coinbase, and the October record high with the regulator's approval of index products linked to the bitcoin.

Either way, cryptocurrency enthusiasts endorse what they see as signs that the market is calming down.

The risk of regulatory action weighs on cryptocurrency, created in the wake of the financial crisis so as not to depend on central banks - and whose very high electricity consumption is often criticized.

In China, the state banned cryptocurrency transactions at the end of September, and regulators in Europe and the United States are increasingly looking into this decentralized network, which is very difficult to manage.

"There is never any certainty when it comes to crypto, and even less regulation. But one thing is certain, the voices calling for more regulation of cryptocurrencies are going to be louder and louder," warns Huong Hauduc , of the Bequant exchange platform.

Less marked dominance

So far, bitcoin's critics aren't preventing some of the world's richest men from taking an interest in it.

Tesla boss Elon Musk has regularly moved the market, notably by announcing that he has invested part of his group's cash in bitcoin.

More radical, Jack Dorsey left the management of Twitter to focus on his digital payment company, Square, which he renamed Block and where he plans to develop his cryptocurrency-related activities.

But bitcoin also risks competition from other cryptocurrencies.

According to the specialized site CoinGecko, which lists more than 12,000 cryptocurrencies, this market represents 2.360 billion dollars, including more than 900 billion for bitcoin alone.

Its share has declined over the year, and as number 2, ethereum, prepares to attempt to evolve its model, some are wondering if the decentralization that makes bitcoin's evolution virtually impossible will not cause not his loss.

"Bitcoin's reluctance to change its model is, in our opinion, one of the characteristics that makes it stable and consistent, which is necessary for a real global currency," replied Frank Downing, analyst at ARK.

© 2022 AFP