The crypto bleed-out continues.
Over the past week, the bitcoin price lost about one-third of its value, hitting a low of just over $20,000, but then gained back 12% landing at $22,664 at the time of writing. Altcoins are bleeding, too. Ethereum’s price
Is the bottom near?
While it’s hard to see in murky waters, “Shark Tank” star Kevin O’Leary, who made a killing at the height of the dot-com bubble, says he doesn’t believe we’ve hit bottom just yet. “You don’t get a bottom until you have an event,” O’Leary told CoinDesk this week.
What kind of event are we talking about, Kevin? Before we let him answer that question, let’s take a good hard look at what’s got the crypto markets down in the dumps.
[Ed note: Investing in crypto is highly speculative and the market is largely unregulated. Anyone considering it should be prepared to lose their entire investment.]
Even though we’ve seen a number of such “events”, including Terra’s collapse and the implosion of the biggest crypto lender Celsius, they were more an effect rather than the cause of the broader risk-off sentiment in risk assets.
As I recently wrote:
“Who’s to blame for this rout? Many analysts pin it on stablecoins. However, it’s likely the other way around. The crypto market had been chugging downhill since May 4, which perfectly coincides with the Fed’s half-point rate hike. After that, stocks crashed and the tech-heavy Nasdaq lost 13% of its value. That makes sense. Cryptos are highly correlated to risk assets, especially tech stocks. And since they have a higher beta, they work as a de facto amplifier of stock moves”
Some analysts compare this sell-off to the tragic bursting of the first major crypto bubble back in 2018. After going parabolic and blasting past $19,000, bitcoin lost 80% of its value within a year.
But unlike today’s sentiment-driven implosion, that crash was largely a result of a chain of panic events:
- On January 12th, rumors began circulating that South Korea was preparing to ban crypto trading.
- Two weeks later, Japan’s largest cryptocurrency market, Coincheck was hacked and a staggering $530 million worth of crypto was stolen.
- Then in early March, Binance lost control of a private key wreaking havoc on the largest crypto exchange.
- Later that month, the final nail in the coffin was pounded in when Facebook, Google
GOOG, and Twitter all banned crypto trading ads. (Not to mention that all institutional investors laughed off crypto as a Ponzi scheme back then.)
Many early crypto investors thought it was the end of the world. We all know what happened in the years to follow. Even at today’s price, bitcoin is up more than 3X in under three years.
Nobody can tell where crypto will be next month or by the end of the year. But one thing is certain: if recent market action teaches us anything, crypto markets won’t reverse course until investors regain their risk appetite across the board.
For that to happen, we’ll have to get some clarity to several macro headwinds, including the worst inflation in 40 years, the Fed’s tightening, and the eventual fallout of the Ukraine-Russia war.
The good news is this crypto rout is cleansing the market of overhyped assets. And multi-billion dollar wipeouts are urging lawmakers to create a clear regulatory framework for digital assets—which can boost their institutional adoption in the long run.
The bad? O’Leary thinks the great cleansing is not over because we haven’t really seen a cascade of panic events that he thinks define the bottom. He believes more crypto assets are heading for zero value.
“Panic events define bottoms,” says O’Leary. “In the crypto world, we need someone to go to zero” before the crypto can come back leaner and meaner.
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