Which Way Will Bitcoin Move Next?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It has been an uneventful week for bitcoin, everyone's favorite cryptocurrency.

The rally that started last week fizzled out after reaching an interim high of $445.95. From here, bitcoin against the U.S. dollar fell to a low of $426.75. After the lows reached earlier on Sunday, BTC has been moving aimlessly for the last three days. It is currently quoted at $436.73 (BTC-E). A move above $450 or below $412 will be needed in order for prices to break out of this range.


Looking at the daily chart, we seem to be at another potential turning point. The trend line that connects November's all-time high of $1,090 to the recent April swing high of $544.99 is under attack. A break of $450, or better yet $500, will be needed to confirm the upward momentum. However, keep in mind that we're still in a sustained downward trend and prices could just as easily reserve and break below the $412 low, leading to more losses.

Washington Acts on Bitcoin

It has been a busy week for Washington bureaucrats. First, the Federal Election Commission ruled that bitcoin donations can be used to fund political campaigns. However, due to the anonymity of the virtual currency, the FEC placed a limit of $100 worth of BTC on donations. Still, the move is a small win for bitcoin and will allow its supporters to fund bitcoin-friendly politicians with BTC.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission issued an investor alert regarding bitcoin. The agency claims the move is aimed at making investors aware about the potential risks of investments involving bitcoin and other forms of virtual currency. Some of the highlighted risks include the higher volatility of bitcoin compared to other investment vehicles, as well as the lack of protection in cases where a bitcoin exchange goes belly up.

The SEC says that as a new invention, bitcoin does not have an established track record of credibility and trust. "Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are evolving," the warning reads.

MasterCard Goes to Washington

MasterCard (MA) hired Peck Madigan Jones to lobby in Washington D.C. on the topic of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies (among other MasterCard policy issues). It is unclear if the PMJ lobbying will be in favor of bitcoin. However, taking into account the fact that cryptocurrencies are a potential threat to the MasterCard business model, this doesn't seem likely.

Coincidently or not, a few weeks later, members of the House Appropriations Committee announced they have concerns with "virtual currencies like bitcoin." Lawmakers are worried that criminals and terrorists may be using virtual currencies to launder and transfer money, and added they are waiting for a briefing on the matter from the FBI. Not long after this statement, we also got the SEC investor alert.

So far the latest moves from Washington have had little to no effect on the price. It remains to be seen if investors will get spooked by the latest warnings coming from the U.S. capital.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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