The Crypto Correction: What You Need To Know
In the short span of about 24 hours prices of cryptocurrencies have fallen like a stone. Investors have either given back or taken losses of sizable amounts. Measuring the one-day drop: bitcoin -21%, Ether -29%, Litecoin -29%.
From its December all time high near $20,000, bitcoin has given back more than $200 billion in value. This amounts to more than 80% of the companies on the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq. Even for those who have experience-trading crypto, the events of the last few days can challenge nerves.
What is the right plan of action? Possibly no plan at all, by that I mean sitting tight and doing nothing, could be the best plan. What ever you choose, the first thing to do is to shut down your computer and turn off CNBC. These are all entirely emotion driven groups and right now they are making loud negative headlines reminding us of quotes from JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Warren Buffett.
The same sources are painting a dark case today. These are the very same folks that were gaga over crypto last year while prices were rising. Now these sources are quoting Warren Buffett who predicted with a high degree of confidence that cryptocurrencies will have a bad ending.
If you listen to Christopher Harvey, Head of Equity Strategy at Wells Fargo, you get an even more dire prediction. He recently appeared on CNBC stating that the cryptocurrency price correction could spill over into the overall stock market.
There is a rule of thumb on Wall Street. If you are right 51% of the time, you are considered an investment genius. This means most opinions are wrong at least half of the time. This could be the case with today’s crypto naysayers.
Prices And Business Fundamentals Don’t Always Match
The number of true experts in cryptocurrencies is small relative to the number of investors. That means there is more emotion than usual driving prices in both directions. It is this volatility that keeps certain investors on the sidelines.
But if you have done your research and have a view of the world in 2028 short-term volatility is not your enemy. Warren Buffett, the biggest crypto naysayer is a master of long term investing. During the 2008 financial crisis, when the world was close to the brink of financial disaster, Buffett was standing by with billions to loan Goldman Sachs charging an outrageous 10% rate of interest. There is a lesson for us here.
Don’t Get Distracted By Short Term Issues
Korea is a big market for crypto demand and, along with China has produced headlines threatening to close down cryptocurrency exchanges. I have not dealt directly with any of these so the analysis of others is necessary.
These folks point out the excessive price premiums as evidence of the behavior of bad actors in the game. So any action by governments to clean up the exchanges could produce a better experience for investors. And let us not forget cryptocurrencies are global. There are plenty of exchanges in the world that make markets.
Korea does not have a monopoly on bad actors. The exchange and lending platform Bitconnect, in recent days, announced that it is closing. The company was recently served with a cease and desist order. Ethereum founders had criticized the exchange for their practices that many believe were bordering on a Bernie Madoff style Ponzi scheme.
The Tipping Point Has Been Reached
The jury is no longer debating the verdict. Cryptocurrencies have become embedded in the global economy. According to Google’s Annual Report on Search Facts, bitcoin and cryptocurrencies were the second most important topic in the world during 2017.
Bitcoin is all about fast, anonymous, low cost movement of money anywhere on the planet. Those lofty goals have not yet been achieved but with tens of thousands of businesses now accepting bitcoin including some hefty Fortune 500 companies and with the Bitcoin Lightning Network coming on, bitcoin’s shortcomings are being addressed.
Bitcoin Futures: Acceptance Is Spreading
When I learned that bitcoin futures would be traded in the US by the CME and CBOE, the only question was how long it would be before other countries recognized the legitimacy of bitcoin futures. Well, it didn’t take long. The Hong Kong securities regulators, SFC issued a report on December 11th giving investors a green light.
Within less than a year futures contracts will be available on Ethereum and possibly others.
Ethereum: The Future Is Here
Ethereum has always had a more obtuse purpose. It was never intended as a medium of exchange like bitcoin. For what it is worth, Ethereum is less likely to be singled out by governments and central banks that fear loss of economic control.
Descriptions like decentralized blockchain platform offering smart contracts and driven by Ether require some time to appreciate. Ethereum is open sourced and applications oriented. You don’t need to understand the technology you only need to envision what it can be applied to.
Ethereum co-founder Steven Nerayoff tells us the number of Ethereum projects today is already ten times the number of last year. Here are just two examples.
Unilever, the $52+billion food and packaged goods giant, is working on a blockchain based project to better manage its massive global supply chain. So far it is only being tested but consider the size: 10,000 Malawian tea farmers. And this is just the start of their massive corporate wide supply chain. Imagine what this will look like if Unilever starts to take things seriously: stay tuned.
On The Vanguard
Now the $5 trillion Vanguard group is getting the blockchain bug. They are the investment industry’s low cost provider. Now they are embarking on test to apply blockchain technology for data sharing.
The reality is the cryptocurrencies are embedded in the global economy and likely to grow dynamically for a long while. This doesn’t protect us from short-term events. That is why huge price corrections are so interesting. The Warren Buffett habit of always having deep cash reserves to pounce on opportunity when frightened investors run is a strategy that has worked well over multiple decades.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.