Money

We Asked Some Crypto Experts: WTF Do We Do Now?

Explaining the #CryptoCrash, with the help of some people who know what they're on about.
Ryan Bassil
London, GB
June 24, 2021, 8:15am
Bitcoin bear market
Photo: gre jak / Alamy Stock Photo

Three months ago, most cryptocurrency investors were chatting about Lambos, trips to the moon and the insane “gains” they were making, thanks to prices soaring to all-time-highs. 

But – as anyone with a family member, partner or friend who’s invested in crypto will be all too aware of – that situation has changed over the last month, with prices falling with nerve-wracking, incessant-phone-checking speed this week.

Here are the facts: on Tuesday the 22nd of June, Bitcoin erased all the gains made over the entire year so far, as its price dropped to below $29,000 – less than half of the token’s mid-April all-time high of around $64,000. Ethereum, Dogecoin and other high profile coins followed, crushing the market to a yearly low.

For the crypto-bros and gals who threw their savings and “stimmy” cheques into cryptocurrency this spring, it’s been a brutal few weeks. One guy, chatting to CNN, said he lost over $167,000 in one day. 

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So, what next? In the words of seasoned cryptocurrency veterans, should you continue to hodl (hold on for dear life) or will you get rekt (lose all your money in an extremely short space of time)? I spoke to a few experts for their thoughts – but it’s important to note that your money is your money, and ultimately you’re responsible for whatever choices you make.

Please, why is the cryptocurrency market down?

Pinpointing the exact reasons why the crypto markets have fallen is like pulling blocks from a Jenga tower. Analysts agree that the market was due a bit of a reset, but a few pieces of news haven’t exactly helped.

First came tech edgelord Elon Musk, who brought the price crashing down by 15 percent in May, after tweeting that Tesla would no longer accept Bitcoin payments due to the cryptocurrency’s mining process using loads of energy.

After that drop, the price began to stabilise, until China announced a ban on Bitcoin mining – the process that “creates” more Bitcoin. Because China hosts around 75 percent of Bitcoin’s mining capacity, the ban generated enough fear to cause the token’s price to fall once again.

Alongside Bitcoin’s crash, other cryptocurrencies, like Ethereum and ADA, also lost substantial chunks of their value. In part, this is because “the market is pegged to the price of Bitcoin, so if Bitcoin does well, all the other tokens do well” – and vice versa – says Samantha Yap, founder and CEO of blockchain and fintech PR firm YAP Global. 

And then there’s the great reset: the past year’s rapid rise in price meant a turnaround would always be inevitable. 

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Michaël van de Poppe, a full-time trader and crypto analyst, says, “Bitcoin has seen a run from $3,750 to $64,000 in a relatively short period of time, through which a corrective move was likely to happen.” 

However, that corrective move was several tons heavier than expected – and that, combined with those news stories, says van de Poppe, has fuelled “the depressive state of the market”.

So should I be worried and start pulling my cryptocurrency out right away?

Fear levels ultimately depend on when and how much you invested. 

“It always depends where you’re measuring from,” says Mati Greenspan, a crypto analyst and former Senior Market Analyst at crypto brokerage and social trading platform eToro, who is also the CEO of financial analyst company Quantum Economics. “If you’re measuring from the high, then yeah – this is pretty brutal. But anyone who’s been in the market for more than a few months should be in profit at this point.”

“There’s never any reason to panic, as long as you’ve investing responsibly. There’s the disclaimer: never invest more than you can afford to lose.”

If you’ve invested irresponsibly, or you jumped in right before the crash – well, that complicates things.

“The time to sell for an investor or swing trader, that’s way behind us,” says van de Poppe. “It’s time to hold, zoom out, maybe invest some more if you have the ability to do so, and focus on data.”

What about buying the dip – is that good?

People with vested interests in cryptocurrency – AKA, anyone on Reddit – will always tell you to throw money in when prices are low.

In some ways, this is rock-solid investment advice. Greenspan says “the point of investing in general boils down to four simple words: buy low, sell high. So when you see prices come down like this, to me that’s an encouraging sign to increase activities and investment.” 

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That said, it’s also impossible to judge just how far the bottom will sink. So be extremely mindful, do your own research and don’t just jump in blind.

But I’m tired. Everything keeps changing. Should I hold on to my coins or sell them? 

According to van de Poppe’s analysis, “long-term holders have been selling their Bitcoin in the range between $48,000 to $60,000” – i.e. when prices were high – “while they started to accumulate in the recent crash again”, with the buy-in price much lower than it has been over the last couple of months.

Mostly, this means the veterans are sticking around – they’re not only holding through the crash, but buying more – while more recent investors have sold their coins after seeing their value drop. 

The trick, says Greenspan, is to avoid bringing emotions into play: “In general, investing is about the long term. You don’t want to let fear and greed be your guide. It’s fine to feel those feelings, as long as we don’t make any rash decisions based upon them.”

Ultimately, then, it’s up to you.

Crypto evangelists will argue that Bitcoin is a safer store of value than fiat currency, which is at the mercy of inflation (remember when a Freddo was 15p?). However, with crypto, you’re rolling the dice – tons of coins that received a load of hype in previous years have either disappeared completely or seen their value plummet.

It’s really all about your appetite for risk. You can keep £100 in a savings account, where, on average, it will gain 0.5 percent interest a year, or you can buy into Bitcoin – or another cryptocurrency – and turn that paper into anything from £500 to £5 within a couple of months. That’s the gamble. 

So, step up to the roulette wheel once more: are you cashing out, or holding on?

@ryanbassil