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Bitcoin just had its worst start to the year ever. Here’s why this quarter could be better

After bitcoin closed out the worst first quarter in its history, one cryptocurrency expert sees it rebounding from recent losses and possibly bouncing back to early year highs.

"Q2 is always good for Bitcoin," Brian Kelly, founder of Brian Kelly Capital and a "Fast Money" contributor, told CNBC's "Futures Now" on Tuesday. "There will be a significant rally here if seasonality brings tail winds."

The cryptocurrency usually performs well in the second quarter, according to historical data. Seasonal tail winds include an upcoming annual development cycle and a number of big conferences, such as Consensus in May, that usually inspire positive sentiment, said Kelly.

Seasonality and a shift in sentiment should power bitcoin gains in the second quarter, said Kelly. The reasons for a bounce are twofold: first, the tax-selling season that pressured prices at the end of the first quarter is now winding down, and second, regulatory fears that also squeezed cryptocurrencies since the beginning of the year are beginning to fade.

"We've gone to the extreme of the regulation which is South Korea thinking they're going to ban it, the U.S. talking about everything being a security, to walking it back," Kelly said. "You're seeing a shift again in that type of thing. I think most of that's behind us."

Regulatory threats spiked in the first quarter. Countries including South Korea and China expressed a willingness to tighten regulations on cryptocurrencies, though fears over their severity have eased since January.

A potential deal involving Japanese brokerage firm Monex and crypto exchange Coincheck is an example of this shift in sentiment, said Kelly. Monex could reportedly put in a majority stake bid for Coincheck as soon as this week, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.

Even if countries were to swing the regulatory ax, it could turn out to benefit the crypto markets, according to Kelly.

"I don't think regulation is a bad thing," he said. "It doesn't kill any other market as long as we do it correctly and we don't stifle innovation. Regulation might actually increase adoption."

This second quarter has already started on better footing. Bitcoin has increased 8.1 percent since its March close and added about $400 on Tuesday alone. The cryptocurrency lost around 50 percent of its value over the first three months of this year, worse than the 39 percent decline seen in the first quarter of 2014.

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