An otherwise volatile week has turned into a staid Friday morning for cryptocurrency markets. At 13:34 UTC, the price of a single bitcoin was $11,836.10, an increase of 5.20% from 24 hours ago. But that price point failed to break the $12,000 barrier, a figure it almost touched on Thursday morning. 

Other cryptocurrencies also moved higher, albeit marginally. 

Ripple, which shed most of its increases earlier this week, had reversed course yesterday and consolidated its recovery this morning. It was up by 8.7% from its price  24 hours ago to $1.70.

China-based NEO had racked up gains even when other cryptocurrencies were mired in red. Today, it moved in the opposite direction, edging downwards by 2.8% to $147.56. IOTA was the other anomaly in the top 10, falling by 1.5% to $2.90. 

The overall market cap for cryptocurrencies was $594.2 billion at 13:42 UTC, up from a low of $547.5 billion at 03:17 UTC.      

A Decline for Bitcoin and Then Upward and Onward 

Bitcoin advocates remain bullish on the cryptocurrency despite the recent slump in its prices. Fundstrat Global Advisor’s Tom Lee, who prophesied a bull case for bitcoin last year, has predicted a price target of $25,000 by the end of 2018. That’s a jump of 86.3% from its price at the start of 2018. But it will occur only after another decline, which will culminate in a price floor of $9,000, later this year. 

Lee's prediction is in line with those from other firms. Citibank analysts have forecast a price floor in the range between $5,605 to $5,673, while Credit Suisse has come up with a value of $6,000 for the cryptocurrency. (See also: Bitcoin Price Recovers But Analysts Forecast Another Decline.) 

Lee also offered price targets for other cryptocurrencies. According to him, ethereum and ethereum classic will end the year at $1,900 and $60, respectively, while NEO, an ethereum offshoot, will have a price of $225 by the end of 2018. All three currencies have already recorded significant price increases this year despite the swoon in cryptocurrency markets. (See also: Why China's NEO Is The Next Big Thing.) 

ICE Brings Bitcoin Data to Institutional Investors  

In what can be construed as another major win for bitcoin proponents, NYSE owner Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) plans to introduce a new service that will provide the latest bitcoin price data to institutional investors, such as hedge funds and high frequency traders. The Atlanta-based company said the feed will go live in March and will gather data from more than 15 cryptocurrency exchanges around the world. It will be called the Cryptocurrency Data Feed.

Currently, investors and traders have to consult prices at individual exchanges in order to take advantage of arbitrage opportunities that may exist between them. The move should also bring liquidity to cryptocurrency markets at a time when researchers claim that it is easy to manipulate them because there is not enough money floating around in these markets. 

More Regulation Tidings for Bitcoin   

Finally, France’s finance minister Bruno Le Maire said his country and Germany will make a joint proposal to regulate bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies at the G20 summit later this year. “We have a responsibility towards our citizens to explain and reduce the risks,” said German finance minister Peter Altmaier. Le Maire had earlier asked the EU to investigate the possibility of Europe-wide regulation for the cryptocurrency.  

Investing in cryptocurrencies and other Initial Coin Offerings ("ICOs") is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or other ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns small amounts of bitcoin.

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