Start-up exec says his call for $60,000 bitcoin is still possible this year

Key Points
  • Julian Hosp, co-founder of TenX, sees bitcoin potentially hitting $60,000 even though the cryptocurrency is trading some 67 percent below its near-$20,000 December highs.
  • Developments on the regulation and infrastructure front continue to take place in the crypto realm.
  • Joseph Lubin, an ethereum co-founder, said sharp price movements drove fundamental value for the ecosystem.
Discussing the future of bitcoin prices

Major cryptocurrencies may be off their December highs on the price front, but developments on the regulatory and infrastructure front continue to move ahead.

That's leading some in the space to remain relatively bullish on prices.

"Back then, December, price was at $20,000 all-time high. I predicted for 2018, we're going to see $5,000 and $60,000. So $5,000, we pretty much hit it, so let's see if we can do the $60,000. I'm still quite confident," Julian Hosp, president and co-founder of crypto wallet and card start-up TenX, told CNBC's Akiko Fujita at the RISE tech conference in Hong Kong.

Although the largest cryptocurrency hasn't quite dipped to $5,000, it has come relatively close, touching its lowest level (around the $5,700 mark) since November at the end of last month, according to CoinDesk data.

Since then, the cryptocurrency has recouped some of its recent losses, last trading at $6,363.93 at 11:00 a.m. HK/SIN on Wednesday, according to CoinDesk's bitcoin price index. Still, bitcoin is currently trading more than 67 percent below its all-time high of nearly $20,000, which it hit in December.

A "massive positive event" would need to occur this year to get bitcoin to the $60,000 mark in 2018, Hosp acknowledged, adding that that could come in the form of a bitcoin exchange-traded fund or a country announcing something that is "very, very positive for bitcoin."

In the situation that such an event fails to materialize this year, Hosp said it would "definitely take a bit longer" for the virtual currency to hit $60,000.

With the halfway mark of 2018 having already passed, Hosp said bitcoin will have to be over $10,000 in August for it to eventually reach his target. "If we see over $10,000 by the end of August, we can see the $20,000, then the press, the media is going to come in, and we can still see the $60,000 this year," he said.

Some of the pressure faced by cryptocurrencies this year has been due to the space coming under regulatory scrutiny. Still, there was some relief after the Securities and Exchange Commission clarified last month that bitcoin and ether were not securities.

As for the widely followed ethereum, one of the platform's founders told CNBC on Wednesday that its community wasn't preoccupied with price: Joseph Lubin, who is also the founder of blockchain software firm ConsenSys, said developers were focusing on building infrastructure.

"We let price take care of itself," he said. Still, he acknowledged there are benefits to increased attention on the platform's token, technically called ether.

"If price is high or if price shoots up and down, it’s actually great for us because it draws attention to our ecosystem, it draws entrepreneurs, it draws technologists and all of that interest drive fundamental value," Lubin said.

Ether on Wednesday traded at $435.36, according to CoinDesk.

Ethereum, a blockchain platform, is currently in the process of building out its infrastructure. Lubin said second layer will build on the trust in the first infrastructure layer to enable "tens and hundreds of thousands of transactions per second."

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