Long-term bitcoin holders are more optimistic than ever following a three-day crypto conference in Miami last week. Bitcoin 2022, which drew 35,000 attendees this year, is the largest conference dedicated to showcasing and discussing the digital asset and the industry building around it. Even after a year during which the crypto scene has grown to include platform tokens, decentralized finance tokens and non-fungible token platforms, the enthusiasm hasn't waned. "There was no place in the world with better energy than Miami during Bitcoin 2022," said Gabor Gurbacs, director of digital asset strategy at VanEck. Bitcoin stumbled to about $40,000 this week, dipping below that threshold at one point , after a strong start to the month that many hoped would lead the cryptocurrency to shoot back above $50,000. But investors have become more comfortable with bitcoin's sideways drifts, backers say. "We're really going to see choppy markets across the board no matter what right now," said Steven McClurg, chief investment officer at Valkyrie Investments. "We've got so much geopolitical risk, with Russia and China, unprecedented inflation, jobs that we can't find people to work — which will cause continued wage growth — and at the same time we have the Fed raising rates." Risk markets usually move higher in the initial part of the Federal Reserve's rate hikes, McClurg said, but inflation is so high that there's significantly less disposable income that normally would go into investing. It may take until after the midterm elections to see some kind of normalcy, he added. "That said, the price of most cryptocurrencies are following risk assets at the moment," McClurg said, noting bitcoin's drop to $40,000. "That's quite a drop, but Bitcoin Miami is notorious for right before the conference, seeing the bitcoin price go up, and then during the conference, the price goes down. We see that every year." Fairlead Strategies' Katie Stockton called $40,000 an important support level. She added that she's staying with her bullish short-term bias, as indicators show a buy signal could flash on Wednesday, which "increases the likelihood of a bounce-off support." "The breakout in March targeted a retracement level near $51,000," she said. "To preserve the breakout, it is essential that bitcoin holds $40,000, below which secondary support is about $27,200." Long-term excitement The long term, however, promises to be exciting, the bitcoin bulls say. Gurbacs noted that bitcoin-network developments were on full display at the conference. For example, Strike, a payments platform built on bitcoin's Lightning Network, announced a partnership with Shopify that will allow the e-commerce company's merchants to accept payments in bitcoin. Separately, Blockstream, a provider of bitcoin infrastructure and Block, formerly known as Square, also announced at the event that they would partner with Tesla on an off-grid, solar-powered bitcoin mine this year. Gurbacs said these announcements highlighted the lack of regulatory headwinds that allow for partnerships like these. Beyond corporate announcements, attendees noticed significant growth in the mining business. "Bitcoin 2022 … was not only twice as big this year, but also featured a significantly greater contribution from the mining industry including several high-profile sponsorships," said D.A. Davidson's Chris Brendler. "With nearly every miner attending, we had the opportunity to sit down with more than a dozen management teams across the sector including all six currently under coverage," he said. "Overall, we came away more bullish as concerns over execution, capital and competition appear to be manageable, at least near term." What's more, a large presence of Latin American bitcoin and crypto companies and projects was a positive signal for those markets, according to VanEck's Gurbacs. Enthusiasts often look to Latin American economies — particularly those of Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil — as examples of places that could stand to benefit from the cryptocurrency as an alternative to state currencies afflicted with high rates of inflation and currency devaluation. "These teams are humble, build good products and have an enormous audience in Latin American and BRICS+ spheres of influence," Gurbacs said.
The logo of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency in a window of an office building in the Mitte district of Berlin, Germany, on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022.
Krisztian Bocsi | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Long-term bitcoin holders are more optimistic than ever following a three-day crypto conference in Miami last week.