Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?
While America may be undecided, there's a widespread belief among bitcoin investors and analysts that a Trump presidency would provide a limited, but impactful, boost to bitcoin prices.
Such commentary follows on the heels of the UK's decision to leave the European Union in June, a development that many analysts credited with spurring uncertainty and causing a $100 increase in the price of bitcoin over just one trading session.
Analysts noted that while the digital currency markets might not see any significant change from Clinton's election, Trump could offer a marked contrast due to how his election is likely to impact global investors. Previously put forward by independent research, traders appear now to largely agree Trump would be a boon for bitcoin business.
Cryptocurrency hedge fund manager Jacob Eliosoff told CoinDesk:
"I think a Trump presidency would be great for bitcoin, much like nuclear war would be great for bitcoin. It would be an epic disaster in a bunch of respects – economic, geopolitical, democratic – and in the fear and chaos bitcoin would be a defensive asset people could turn to.”
Elsewhere, analysts took a less alarming tone to the potential results, stating a Trump win could provide a small but notable boost for the digital currency.
If Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton wins, it will have “little or no" effect on bitcoin prices, said another cryptocurrency hedge fund manager, Tim Enneking.
If anything, the digital currency might "fall a bit," he said.
Certain political observers have predicted that if Clinton wins, her policy stances could result in her term largely being a continuation of President Obama's. Amid perceptions like these, many expect that her ascension to the Oval Office would come with limited uncertainty.
Others have suggested Clinton could be a boon for the public blockchain markets given her open embrace of the tech as part of her innovation platform. However, her policy to all parts of the ecosystem, including bitcoin, arguably aren't yet clear.
The Trump effect
While Trump hasn't put the digital currency on his agenda, he has cast himself as a Washington outsider, something that traders believe could stoke uncertainty (and with it a move toward alternative assets).
This could create only a temporary jump in bitcoin prices, predicted Enneking, but he suggested it would have little lasting effect.
"[Trump] would certainly increase uncertainty domestically and, to some extent, globally, and that would provide a short-term, upward push to bitcoin prices," he said.
Petar Zivkovski, director of operations for leveraged bitcoin trading platform Whaleclub, provided similar input, emphasizing the uncertainty that would surround a Trump victory would create a “short-lived” impact on bitcoin prices.
"I don't see large institutions pouring smart money into bitcoin due to a potential Trump presidency."
Even those who did not offer an opinion on which candidate would boost the markets were ready for increased trading.
Mark Lamb, CEO of UK-based Coinfloor, for instance, noted he expects increased volumes as a result of the US election.
Still, there was a sense that any boost to bitcoin would further cement its status as one of the newer and more unconventional "safe haven" assets in times of financial crisis.
ARK Invest's Chris Burniske, for example, emphasized that bitcoin can prove helpful for those looking to diversify their portfolios in unpredictable times, and said the election could add evidence to this claim.
"The way in which its price movement is uncorrelated from other capital market assets may be a desirable characteristic for many investors in the face of uncertainty," he said. "Depending on how people feel about the election, they may choose to hedge themselves from the more traditional markets by using bitcoin."
Bobby Lee, CEO of China-based bitcoin exchange BTCC, was less concerned about the election, asserting that bitcoin will enjoy adoption as a financial tool no matter the outcome.
Lee told CoinDesk:
"Regardless of who wins the elections in November, an increasing number of people will invest in bitcoin because of its limited issuance, decentralized nature and immunity from the whims of economic planners."
Bitcoin dollars image via Shutterstock