Solana boosted by Bank of America

Alkesh Shah, a digital asset strategist at Bank of America, is sweet on Solana. This week in a research note he claimed that Solana, widely seen as a competitor to Ethereum, could become the “Visa of the digital asset ecosystem.”

Solana only launched in 2020, and since then has become the fifth largest cryptocurrency with a market cap of $47 billion. Its impressive growth spurt has outperformed that of Ethereum, and it has been used to settle over 50 billion transactions. It has also minted some 5.7 million NFTs.

Despite this performance, it still has its critics, and they argue that the speed at which it settles transactions comes at the cost of decentralization and reliability. Shah doesn’t buy this. He believes the benefits outweigh the drawbacks: Its ability to provide high throughput, low cost and ease of use creates a blockchain optimized for consumer use cases like micropayments, DeFi, NFTs, decentralized networks (Web3) and gaming.”

In his note, Shah also pointed out that he believes Solana will take market share from Ethereum, simply because it offers lower fees, is easier to use and has greater scalability. He told Business Insider, “Ethereum prioritizes decentralization and security, but at the expense of scalability, which has led to periods of network congestion and transaction fees that are occasionally larger than the value of the transaction being sent.”

Ultimately he thinks Solana may take over the transaction settlement side of the market, while Ethereum focuses on “high-value transaction and identity, storage and supply chain use cases.”

But perhaps the most surprising element of Shah’s note is the comparison of Solana with Visa. Visa processes an average of 1,700 transactions per second (TPS), although if pushed to the max it could do 24,000 TPS. By contrast Solana has an upper limit of 65,000 TPS. Ethereum handles about 12 TPS. The difference is striking.

However, as Solana followers will know, the network has suffered a number of problems recently, something that Shah acknowledges. Already in 2022 there have been withdrawal issues on both Binance and Coinbase and an alleged DDoS attack on 5th January, something the network denies. And in December of last year there was a DDoS attack, as well as reports of network congestion. This does not seem to have deterred investors this week. After several rough days, Solana (SOL) has bounced back to $151, an increase of 8.56% from a 52-week low of $130, although it has some way to go before it reaches its former ATH of $260.  But if Shah is right, and Solana becomes the “Visa of the digital asset ecosystem” who knows how high its price may go.

It’s the end of ‘Cash is King’

What’s happening with the price of bitcoin?

Yesterday bitcoin was just over $7,000 and as I sat down to write today, it was over $8,000. Indeed, the altcoins like ETH, LTC and XRP had also risen significantly overnight. It’s remarkable to think that it is not that many weeks since bitcoin’s price was under $4,000 and now it has doubled.

It’s because of Facebook

The question everyone always wants the answer to is, “What is making bitcoin’s price surge like this?” Billy Bambrough attributes it in part to Facebook ramping up its plans for a token to rival bitcoin. He reported in one of his articles that Spencer Bogart, a partner at venture capital firm Blockchain Capital, said that Facebook’s plans had “lit a fire in the pants of every major [financial technology] and financial institution in the U.S.” Bogart also believes that Facebook’s move into the crypto arena “will be a catalyst for mainstream bitcoin and cryptocurrency adoption around the world, spurring other financial and technology companies to get into bitcoin and crypto.”

Relative strength index is up

Bambrough also says in another article: “Bitcoin’s relative strength index (RSI), used to identify the momentum behind asset prices, this week registered its highest value since the beginning of 2018 — shortly after bitcoin hit its all-time highs.”

What we have seen since bitcoin hit its massive high of $20,000 in December 2017, has been a lot of discontent with the crypto market and a stalling of adoption by major retailers. Still, the leading cryptocurrency always has its stalwart supporters, such as Mike Novogratz and other bitcoin bulls. Their price predictions, while not yet achieved, look a little more likely to happen than they did only a couple of months ago.

Bitcoin follows a pattern

Indeed, analysts from investment bank Canaccord Genuity said they expect bitcoin to rally hard over the next 24 months, potentially returning to its late 2017 highs. They believe that next year’s halving of bitcoin, which reduces the return to miners by 50%, could be one of the reasons that bitcoin’s price keeps pushing higher.

Canaccord’s analysts also noted that what we are seeing right now is “the striking similarity in bitcoin’s price action between 2011–2015 and 2015–2019.” What they are pointing to here is that bitcoin appears to have a four-year cycle, which is related to its halving that also happens in that same time period. They also predict that there may be “a slow climb back toward its all-time high of ~$20,000, theoretically reaching that level in March 2021.”

And there is one other thing happening at the moment that could be benefiting bitcoin’s price, and that is the US-China trade war over tariffs. While the digital assets market is soaring, the stock markets are falling, especially after China announced tariffs on American goods in a tit-for-tat reaction to Trump’s tariffs on Chinese products.

As ever, it is a combination of things that is contributing to the surge in bitcoin’s price, but it is hard to say which one of them is having the greatest effect.

Should we focus more on bitcoin’s use case than its price?

The crypto rollercoaster has morphed into ride with only slight dips and rises this month. It seems s if every few days traders need to take a rest and the bitcoin price sags a bit, The majority of the leading altcoins appear to follow what happens with bitcoin, although not uniformly.

As we head into next week, it’s hard to predict what we might see, although the weekends tend to bring some dips, suggesting that on Friday traders think about exiting the market for a couple of days. Jim Preissler writing at Forbessuggests: “Heading into the new week, expect possible dips to still be well supported at $4,700 in BTC and $154 in ETH. $5,800 and $187 could be tough resistance.’

As Preissler points out, XRP does not seem to have benefited from the latest crypto rally as much as BTC. ETH and LTC and there appears to be resistance at the $0.38 mark. ETH has been consistently outperforming XRP since February and it doesn’t look like there is going to be much change there.

Omkar Godbole at Coindesk suggests that what is needed to move the market along is a breach of BTC’s new resistance level of $5.200. As I write on 17th April, we have a slight glimpse of that as BTC touched $5,200.14. The market-leading cryptocurrency picked up a strong bid at lows below $4,200 on April 2 and jumped to 4.5-month highs above $5,300 on April 8, confirming a bullish reversal. However, over the last couple of days that rally paused, which Godbole attributed to BTC being overbought amongst other factors. But momentum seems to moving in an upward direction again. And, as Godbole has pointed out, “the longer duration outlook will remain bullish as long as prices are trading above $4,236.”

For the moment, bitcoin is trading above that level, but are we too focused on price?

As more real life use cases for bitcoin appear, such as the news that UK’s largest travel agency Corporate Traveller is now accepting bitcoin for payments, and the town of Innisfil in Ontario accepts BTC to pay property taxes, it is to be hoped that the public sees more advantages to using bitcoin for a range of payment purposes. That should encourage more belief in the cryptocurrency, and boost the number of people owning e-wallets and joining exchanges to purchase crypto. Slowly, slowly, cryptocurrency is edging forward toward mass adoption. We are a long way from that yet, but there’s no need to panic. It takes time to adjust to the new, even when the use case and the benefits are clear to a few. Just think back to the beginning of the Internet and the length of time it took the average consumer to feel comfortable with it. When people understand the benefits of using bitcoin and focus less on the price it is trading at, I believe that is when we’ll see a sea change in the crypto market.