How low can bitcoin fall?

Es are pure perseverance slogans: “Stop staring at price development and enjoy life. If you have invested in Bitcoin, your investment is safe and its value will increase immensely after the bear market. Patience is the key,” writes Nayib Bukele. The President of El Salvador wanted to lead the Central American country into a glorious digital currency era: To do this, he bought Bitcoin, abandoned a Bitcoin bond and even wanted to fund a city with only digital currency earnings and make it an El Dorado. At least as of now, one can say that the investment was not worth it – and whether it will be worth it remains to be seen.

Others already sound like disciples of a strange religion on Judgment Day: “Bitcoin is more than just code, Bitcoin is the key to a new consciousness. Bitcoin is the here and now, detached from all egos in this world. Bitcoin is the path to true consciousness for everyone,” it says on Twitter.

Parallels to the dot-com bubble

One notices: The tension is great these days for supporters of digital currencies. The courses have crashed, numerous digital currencies are up to 80 percent away from their old highs. Example Bitcoin: In November 2021, the oldest and thus also the best-known digital currency was still quoted at more than 67,000 dollars. At the weekend it was sometimes less than $18,000.

It is even worse for the second largest currency, Ethereum: the cryptocurrency fell from $4800 to less than $900. Overall, all digital currencies are worth less than $900 billion, down $100 billion from a week ago. In November last year, the market capitalization was almost 3 trillion dollars.

Critics of digital currencies are now rejoicing. Economics Nobel laureate Paul Krugman only wrote dryly: “Ok, guys, that’s really impressive”, only to then add: “There are a lot of interesting parallels here, but also differences between the bursting of the dot-com bubble and crypto.” Nouriel Roubini, American economist and critic of digital currencies, wrote on Twitter: “The bloodbath of crypto surrender begins. The knives are unpacked”. His conclusion: “The Ponzi house of cards is collapsing”.

A Ponzi scheme is something similar to a pyramid scheme: someone lures others with particularly high returns. Since investors are happy with that, they put more money in, or at least don’t take the money out. As long as more and more new people are attracted, there is no problem in paying off potential dissatisfied investors. It becomes problematic when too many people want their payout.

Bitcoin is not necessarily a Ponzi scheme. There is a lack of those responsible. Hardly anyone actively lures anyone – it is more the greed and the prospect of profits that has attracted so many people. Therefore, the term Ponzi scheme is wrong in this case – the people who were hoping for quick profits and have now lost money have only cheated themselves. Even if those who have held cryptocurrencies over a long period of time have of course benefited from the price increases.

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