Wall Street's first analyst to cover bitcoin urges caution

Wall Street's first analyst to cover bitcoin has a new recommendation for investors: Avoid it.

Speaking with CNBC, DataTrek Research co-founder Nick Colas cited lackluster fundamentals surrounding what he calls the "FANG stock of the crypto world." FANG, references Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet's Google, the highest flying and most widely held tech stocks.

"It has come down quite a long way, and we're getting a lot of people asking is now the right time to buy," he told CNBC's "Trading Nation" in a recent interview.

He added: "The short answer is no."

Bitcoin has rallied to $9700 from a low around $6400 in just the past month, based on Friday's stock market close. Last December, bitcoin hit a record price just shy of $20,000.

"It was absolutely a bubble based around the futures launch in December, and a lot of enthusiasm for the asset," said Colas, who owns a cryptocurrency basket worth about $2000.

He contended fewer people are interested in buying bitcoin for the first time, based on Google search and Blockchain wallet growth trending lower.

"In terms of Google searches, they are way down from the peaks back in December and January — like 85 to 90 percent. The second issue is that we're also not seeing a lot of wallet growth," he noted. "Growth in wallets is just 2.2 percent last month. It was 5 to 7 percent per month all of last year."

The key is real world adoption that doesn't just involve ETFs or trading desks, according to Colas.

"Like any new technology, you need new adopters to come in to make it more valuable." Colas said. "Then, we have a solid trek higher. Then, interest will reengage."

For now, he says it's a waiting game that could last three to five years.


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Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

Follow Michael Santoli on Twitter @michaelsantoli

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