Trader who called bitcoin rally says cryptocurrency will surge above $100,000 in 2018

  • Bitcoin's price could exceed $100,000 before the end of 2018, a cryptocurrency trader told CNBC
  • Bitcoin futures on Cboe Futures Exchange began trading on Sunday
  • Dave Chapman from Hong Kong-based Octagon Strategy added that the price of the cryptocurrency is not as interesting as its various applications

Bitcoin's runaway rally could accelerate next year as the cryptocurrency continues to gain wider acceptance, a trader said Monday.

"I wouldn't be surprised to see a six figure headline," said Dave Chapman, Managing Director of cryptocurrency trading firm Octagon Strategy, who sees the price of bitcoin exceeding $100,000 before the end of 2018.

The digital currency was changing hands about 10.7 percent higher at above $16,642.45, according to CoinDesk's Bitcoin Price Index. The index tracks prices from digital currency exchanges Bitstamp, Coinbase, itBit and Bitfinex.

Chapman has made bullish bets before. He successfully called bitcoin's dizzying ascent past $10,000 earlier in the year.

"I was quoted back in August when bitcoin was trading at around $4,000 that we would have a five figure headline by the end of this year," he told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

"I think a lot of people thought I was crazy, a lot of people scoffed at me, but that's OK," he said.
Rising interest from institutional and retail investors has made bitcoin one of 2017's hottest trades. The cryptocurrency's price has surged more than 1,000 percent this year.

Its rising popularity has prompted global exchanges such as the Cboe to launch futures contracts, a move market participants said will bring in more institutional investors and curb gyrations in the volatile cryptocurrency. A contract from rival CME will go live next week.

Trading of the hotly anticipated futures contract began on Sunday on the Cboe, representing a significant step in the legitimization of cryptocurrencies.

"The price to me is probably the most uninteresting component about bitcoin. I'm more excited in the applications and more excited about what this means for people who don't have access to financial inclusion," he said.

"If we focus on the price, we're losing track of the big picture."

But not everyone is convinced about bitcoin's appeal.

"This is a toxic concept for investors," Stephen Roach, Yale University senior fellow and the former Asia chairman and chief economist at investment bank Morgan Stanley said last week.

"This is a dangerous speculative bubble by any shadow or stretch of the imagination," he told CNBC's "The Rundown" last week - suggesting that exchange legitimization makes bitcoin "somewhat dangerous" for investors, given what he described as a "lack of intrinsic underlying economic value to the concept."

But Chapman remains convinced of his view.

"I think bitcoin is growing up," he said, hitting back at what he called "bitcoin naysayers" like "academic economists" who take a conservative view and fail to see the cryptocurrency's potential.

"Bitcoin allows the immediate transfer of value from one individual in the world to any other individual in the world, and it does that without a middle man. That's its value," he added.
Chapman said bitcoin's scarcity is a key factor behind his bullish call, but it's not the only reason he expects to see a six digit price in the future.

"If you look at bitcoin and its impact on finance, it's really not that crazy to think that bitcoin could be an extremely huge disruptor to finance as we know it today."