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Could Bitcoin’s Bubble Lead to Long Crypto Winter?

Could Bitcoin’s Bubble Lead to Long Crypto Winter?

In the mad mania for cryptocurrencies, there are some dissenting voices from old timers, calling this irrational exuberance. Could a crypto winter be in the offing?

Eerie similarities to 2013

A year after the block reward halving, with media buzzing about Bitcoin, and a multifold increase in price – this is not just a description of 2017 but also perfectly fits 2013. After the block reward halving in 2012, the price of Bitcoin shot up during the following year. The price increased from around $13 at the starting of 2013 to a peak of over $1200.

The reasons for this jump are manifold (including the bots – Willie and Markus, which bought Bitcoins on Mt. Gox), but the almost 100 fold increase in price was unprecedented. The 500% increase in price of Bitcoin in 2017 appears tame in comparison. Of course, the base effect does make such 100 fold increases in price almost impossible now, with Bitcoin's market capitalization crossing $100 Bn.

This time Is different

When comparisons to 2013 are made, the common refrain is “this time is different.” There is increased Bitcoin adoption, there is no Mt. Gox, the ecosystem is better developed, institutional money is coming in and so on. If time has taught us one thing, it is that history usually repeats itself. Or rather, as Mark Twain said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.”

A 500% increase in price in just a year is the sign of a bubble building up. There has been no catalyst driving the growth and a fear-of-missing-out mentality seems to be at play. Newbies are being attracted to Bitcoin (and ICOs) driven by the promise of massive gains. They believe that "this time is different."

House money at play

While traditional economists believe that the market is made up of rational investors, behavioural economists believe otherwise. People who have made windfall profits take higher risks than they normally would. This is similar to gamblers taking higher risks after winning, believing that they are playing with "house money."

With Bitcoin's rapid rise in price this year, a lot of investors have seen their portfolio appreciate rapidly in price. Rather than evaluating whether Bitcoin is overvalued and it is time to sell, these investors may be willing to hold longer because of their windfall profits.

2013 ended badly

The crash of 2013 was the first long term downtrend in Bitcoin's price. Although there were previous crashes with higher percentage drops (from $32 to $2), this was the first time that the price didn't recover quickly. Bitcoin's price had risen during every calendar year until 2013 and people believed the price would recover in 2014.

This was not to be. It would take more than three years for the price to cross the $1200 levels attained in November 2013. This year has been extremely strong so far, but a crash would be terribly painful. A lot of recent cryptocurrency converts could get hurt and it could take even longer to recover this time.

 

Author: Jacob J

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

Bitcoin breaks above $6,000, and $100 billion in value for the first time in its history

Bitcoin breaks above $6,000, and $100 billion in value for the first time in its history

Bitcoin breaks above $6,000, and $100 billion in value for the first time in its history

The world’s most prominent digital currency was on track to mark a fresh milestone on Friday, with bitcoin rallying and putting the cyber currency in position to hit a total market value of around $100 billion.

Such a valuation would place the No. 1 cryptographic currency above or on par with blue-chip companies on the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.71% like United Technologies Corp UTX, +1.21% with a market value at $96 billion, American Express Co. AXP, +0.21% at $82 billion, Caterpillar Inc. CAT, +0.45% at $77 billion and Travelers Cos. Inc. TRV, +0.11% at $36 billion.

To be sure, it is questionable to draw value parallels between the asset and more traditional companies, but it highlights the stratospheric rise of bitcoin BTCUSD, +3.00% which didn’t exist a decade ago:

Bitcoin surges on Friday to near a $100 billion valuation.

A single bitcoin also broke above a milestone of $6,000, reaching an intraday high of $6,064.14 Friday afternoon, according to research and data site CoinDesk.com. Bitcoin also boasted a market value of roughly $100.81 billion at its peak on the day, according to data site Coinmarketcap.com. The move comes just as the Dow cleared its own psychologically important level of 23,000 on Wednesday.

The Dow has enjoyed an impressive run-up of 17% year to date, the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.51% has climbed nearly 15% so far this year, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.36% has charged up more than 23% thus far in 2017.

However, those paper gains pale in comparison with bitcoin’s run-up. The cyber unit has surged a mind-numbing 520% over the past nine months from $968.23 on Dec. 31, 2016.

Iqbal Gandham, U.K managing director at eToro, a trading platform, said continued buying in bitcoin ahead of a hard fork later in October that will create another version of bitcoin is helping to stimulate investment. So-called Bitcoin Gold, designed to address challenges mining for bitcoin using computers to solve complex problems, will be launched on Oct. 25.

Then on Nov. 18, bitcoin will face a second version of Segregation Witness, or SegWit2x.

Both so-called hard forks are expected to create alternative versions of bitcoin, with owners of the core currency being granted the newer versions on a one-for-one basis.

Diminished expectations that China will ban cryptocurrency exchanges also has helped boost bitcoin’s value. Beijing is expected to require a license to operate bitcoin platforms rather than banning them outright, as had been feared earlier, according to recent reports.

“It’s the flow of positive news clarifying earlier rumors which is moving the price up,” Gandham said.

Jason English, vice president of protocol marketing at Sweetbridge, a blockchain related company, chalked recent moves higher to growing enthusiasm around bitcoin and other cyber units.

“It’s an exciting time to be in cryptocurrencies today,” he said. “More and more individuals and businesses are viewing bitcoin as a store of value that they should be exposed to”

Of course, there are no dearth of critics who see the rapid ascent of digital currencies as a bubble.

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. JPM, +1.43% CEO Jamie Dimon has been one of the more vocal critics of the currency as a store of value.

“If you’re stupid enough to buy it, you’ll pay the price someday,” he said during a panel discussion last week. Meanwhile BlackRock’s head Larry Fink has described bitcoin as “an index to launder money.”

The No. 2 most prominent cryptocurrency, Ether tokens on the Ethereum blockchain, meanwhile, were also higher. One Ether token was recently valued at $307.
 

Author MARK DECAMBRE

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur