As recently as two to three years ago, nobody in the financial services establishment had a good word to say about cryptocurrencies. Accusations of the digital asset being a fraud or a purely speculative instrument were regularly hurled by the titans of the financial world. “We see Bitcoin as a bit of a Ponzi scheme,” said former DBS Group’s chief David Gledhill in a 2017 CNBC interview. 

But there was perhaps some eating of words as cryptocurrencies entered what seemed to be a veritable bull run. Bitcoin experienced a powerful rally at the end of last year. The most well-known cryptocurrency surged 455.5% from US$7,200 ($9,583.06) in January 2020 to hit a record of US$40,000 on Jan 8, 2021, before dropping to US$34,186.60 on Feb 1. Indeed, the rally stalled almost as soon as it had begun, correcting as much as 17% on Jan 5 and as much as 26% from Jan 10–11 — its biggest two-day slide since May 2020. Ether, another popular cryptocurrency, breached the US$1,000 barrier on Jan 4 and set a new all-time high of US$1,470 on Jan 25. 

The volatility is not for the faint-hearted but looking at how prices have moved, the clear trend for these cryptocurrencies is up. James Quinn, managing director of Hong-Kong-based digital asset financial service provider Q9 Capital, believes that it was a “perfect storm” of positive factors in 4Q2020 that drove this crypto-craze. 

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