Bitcoin mania could boost efforts to dethrone dollar, analyst says


By Sam Meredith
CNBC, New York
Friday, December 8, 2017

Bitcoin mania could prove to be the flashpoint for some of the world's largest oil-producing countries to make a major move against the dollar, according to one commodity analyst.

The world's most popular cryptocurrency has skyrocketed in recent months, soaring above $19,000 on Thursday on the Coinbase exchange, before notching a huge decrease. Such wild price swings have prompted some of the world's biggest banks to denounce bitcoin as a fraud, warning investors of a speculative bubble doomed to fail.

However, at the start of the month, U.S. regulators gave the green light for two of the world's largest futures exchanges to list bitcoin futures. Futures are derivatives, or financial instruments, that obligate a trader to either buy or sell an asset at a specified time and at a specified price. The announcement was viewed by some observers as a vote of confidence for the digital currency's legitimacy.

"This should bolster the increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies, so much so that they may pose a threat to the role of the U.S. dollar as the world's reserve currency," Stephen Brennock, oil analyst at PVM Oil Associates, said in a research note on Friday.

Oil contracts based on the dollar currently dominate global markets, though countries such as China, Russia, and Venezuela have long viewed a move away from the greenback as a strategic priority. That's because this would allow them to reduce their dependence on the dollar while limiting their exposure to U.S. currency risks and American sanctions.

"The advent of cryptocurrencies, therefore, represents a fresh catalyst for commodity-producing countries wishing to abandon the dollar as a means of payment for oil," Brennock said. ...

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