In the first installment of a three-part interview series, Geoff Kendrick, head of crypto research at Standard Chartered Bank, lays out his roadmap for rapid Bitcoin gains over the next 12 to 18 months.

It was a prediction in late April that set pulses racing across the digital asset market. Bitcoin, said Kendrick, could hit the US$100,000 mark by the end of 2024.

Kendrick was among the first of a number of analysts to publicly predict a rapid surge in the price of crypto’s most dominant asset. The “crypto winter” of 2022 had come to an end, he said, with Bitcoin representing a “safe haven” from the fallout of a string of bank failures in the U.S. and which saw Swiss investment banking giant Credit Suisse forced into a shotgun merger with rival UBS Group.

In an exclusive interview with Forkast’s Jenny Ortiz-Bolivar, Kendrick fleshes out his medium-term projections for Bitcoin, outlining why he and other digital asset analysts are growing bullish again on “digital gold.”

The Q&A has been edited for clarity and length.

Jenny Ortiz-Bolivar: How does the turmoil in the traditional financial sector affect the digital asset class over the short and long term?

Geoff Kendrick: When Satoshi first introduced Bitcoin in 2008, it came right after the global financial crisis. At the time, banks were suffering and there was a need for a trustless liquid asset that was peer-to-peer and didn’t require any intermediaries. It therefore makes a lot of sense that Bitcoin has now started rising again on the back of concerns in the banking sector.

Bitcoin’s core use case links back to issues in the TradFi sector, which is something I expect will continue to drive investor confidence in Bitcoin. Investors that had been either ignoring or being short on crypto assets coming into 2023 are now going to re-engage with the asset class and particularly Bitcoin.

Ortiz-Bolivar: So, for you, Bitcoin will continue to hold its position as so-called “digital gold?”

Kendrick: It all links back to the issue of concerns within the TradFi sector. We’ve seen Bitcoin correlate closely to gold over the past six months or so, and it makes sense that the price of both are heading higher given those concerns. The big difference between Bitcoin and gold, however, is that crypto assets remain unregulated. For institutional money – which remains heavily invested in the gold space as a hedge against issues in the traditional financial system – to make its way into the crypto space, we need to see that regulation.

If that happens, Bitcoin should start to increase its share of the Bitcoin and gold mix, which in turn would then lead to lower volatility. Then what starts to emerge is a positive cycle of medium-term regulation, institutional money and lower volatility.

Ortiz-Bolivar: In April, you said that you see Bitcoin surging to the US$100,000 mark by the end of 2024. In the shorter term, where do you see Bitcoin heading over the course of 2023?

Kendrick: Before the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in March, Bitcoin was trading at US$20,000. Mounting concerns around the TradFi sector then took us up to US$30,000. Factoring in Bitcoin dominance and an increase in its share of overall crypto assets, we’ll probably be up another ten, taking us to around US$40,000. Then on top of that, concern that Bitcoin miners might begin selling coins and liquidating their positions is now likely to subside, adding a further US$10,000 or so.

From there, at a position of around US$50,000, it all starts to depend on the actions of the Fed. We think their interest rate rises will end this month or next. When they’re done, broader risk assets will probably start to do better as well. Then there’s the Nasdaq, where crypto basically correlates as an extension of the tech sector. If tech starts to pull through too, we can expect to see a further ten added, taking the price of Bitcoin up to US$60,000 by the end of 2023.  

Ortiz-Bolivar: You mentioned Bitcoin dominance over altcoins, which currently stands at around 46% of total market share. How do you see that situation evolving?

Kendrick: Again, we’re seeing a recent uptick based on Bitcoin’s use case and the link to issues in TradFi. The desire for a liquid asset in the crypto space means Bitcoin’s dominance will probably increase in future. We’ve already seen a rise from around 40% to 45% and I think we can keep going to 55% or 60%. The level of dominance will likely continue throughout the year and even into next.

The next halving occurs in April 2024, so around twelve months from now. Beyond that, the typical cycle says that Bitcoin dominance will probably then peak out around the 60% level, perhaps during the second half of 2024. Then you’ll probably see the other altcoins come back into their own as the broader crypto space improves again.