Bitcoin won't top $9,000 by year's end, Novogratz says

  • "I don't think it breaks $9,000 this year," Novogratz said at the Economist Finance Disrupted conference in New York.
  • He predicted last year that the cryptocurrency could swell to $40,000 in 2018 but now says it will take until the first two quarters of next year for bitcoin to move above $10,000.
  • The cryptocurrency has dropped more than 53 percent this year alone and was trading near $6,540 Tuesday.
Michael Novogratz, CEO of Galaxy Investment Partners.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Michael Novogratz, CEO of Galaxy Investment Partners.

Former Fortress hedge-fund manager Michael Novogratz doesn't see much chance of bitcoin breaking out of its current slump.

"I don't think it breaks $9,000 this year," Novogratz said on stage at the Economist Finance Disrupted event in Manhattan Tuesday.

Novogratz, who predicted last year that the cryptocurrency could swell to $40,000 in 2018, said it will take until the first two quarters of next year for bitcoin to move above $10,000.

The world's largest and most popular cryptocurrency has dropped more than 53 percent this year alone and was trading near $6,540 Tuesday. Cryptocurrencies ether and XRP fared even worse and are down 65 percent and 76 percent, respectively, in 2018, according to data from CoinDesk.

Novogratz, a former Goldman Sachs macro trader, said much of that price pressure came from industry participants needing to sell "just to fund the burn rate of the industry." Companies who aren't making anywhere near the revenue they did during last year's crypto boom sold to meet obligations such as payroll, Novogratz said.

He is hardly bearish, though. Novogratz, whose cryptocurrency-focused merchant bank Galaxy Digital went public on a Canadian stock exchange in August, called a bottom for bitcoin prices in September.

Novogratz said Tuesday that meaningful institutional investors' money will make its way to cryptocurrencies by 2019 and predicted a return of the same "FOMO," or "fear of missing out," that pervaded as bitcoin neared $20,000 last year.

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