Susquehanna’s Digital Asset Head Bart Smith: Bitcoin Is Certainly Speculative and Risky

The head of digital assets at Susquehanna, a leading global privately held financial institutional firm, said that bitcoin (BTC) investment is “certainly speculative.” Susquehanna’s Bart Smith discussed the major cryptocurrency’s most recent moves in an episode of CNBC’s "Squawk Box" on May 30.

Addressing the basic question of bitcoin’s high volatility, which some consider prevent it from being considered as a store of value or a reliable medium of exchange, Smith argued that bitcoin investments are speculative and risky.

In the CNBC interview, the crypto expert looked at major factors that may have caused the recent bull move on the crypto markets, as bitcoin has surged more than 50% from around $4,000 over the past two months. Smith emphasized the interconnected nature of various factors impacting the price of bitcoin, including political, technological and regulatory drivers.

According to Smith, bitcoin’s recent price spike has been caused by the net effect of the trade war between China and the United States. The expert outlined the strong correlation between bitcoin’s price and the influence by Asian countries such as Korea and China, which have large capital controls.

The founder of Digital Currency Group had expressed a similar sentiment earlier this month.

Smith also pointed out the major public excitement about the emergence of regulated cryptocurrency platforms, including Fidelity’s institutional-grade crypto trading platform that is expected to be launched soon. As well, Susquehanna’s digital asset head noted a “tremendous amount of optimism” about the U.S.-based brokerages that offer bitcoin services to retail customers.

In the video, Smith also stated that he does not position himself as a “bitcoin evangelist,” stressing that he is a market maker providing liquidity.

In late 2018, Smith declared that he was still a long-term bitcoin believer despite the major bear market. At the time, Smith expressed his optimistic stance towards bitcoin, arguing that “every great idea is volatile.”

Recently, a co-founder at Hong Kong-based blockchain investment firm Kenetic listed major factors that will make bitcoin rally to as high as $30,000 by the end of 2019, regardless of an approval for the first bitcoin exchange-traded fund by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Bitcoin broke the $9,000 mark for the first time today since May 2018, according to data from CoinMarketCap.