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Market Talk: the Bad and the Good About Crypto

Market Talk: the Bad and the Good About Crypto 101
Source: iStock/LeventKonuk

It’s been almost exactly three months since the prices skyrocketed and sent investors and noobs alike into a FOMO (fear of missing out) frenzy. Now that everything has calmed down, what is the general consensus on cryptocurrency?

The short answer seems to be: confusion. Negative reviews are tearing crypto down, finding ways to ridicule it, make prognoses on its failure or warn against investing. Positives, however, remain optimistic about the future, praising SegWit and Lightning Network as the next steps towards crypto’s adoption as a payment system.

For example, in the negative review corner is Vasant Prabhu, the CFO of a payment network Visa, who said in an interview with the Financial Times that “cryptocurrencies were a favourite for criminals,” although Visa does not block their customers from using their credit cards to buy crypto.

Paul Day, technical analyst and head of futures and options at Market Securities Dubai Ltd., studied Bitcoin’s 2013 tumble for clues on how it may act this time round and concluded it could fall down to USD 2,800 if the same trend repeats, Bloomberg reported.

Cathie Wood, CEO & CIO at ARK Invest, is also bearish on crypto, in an interview with CNBC saying that taxes could lead to its downfall: “People had huge gains last year, and they don't have enough in crypto to pay those.” Therefore, some first-time investors are waking up to the fact that they owe capital gains on 2017's cryptocurrency trading profits and are selling the digital currency ahead of tax season.

But the positive corner has Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook, who thinks that, although the market looks like a bubble, it has no Wall Street analysts pushing it - quite the contrary - which is what makes it different from the dot.com bubble of the late 90s. Thiel is betting on bitcoin because one cryptocurrency will become the 'online equivalent to gold'. However, at the same time Thiel scored a 50 to 80% chance that bitcoin ends up being worthless, and said there's a 20 to 50% chance it ends up moving higher, according to CNBC.

Also, in the same positive corner is hedge fund billionaire Alan Howard. He made sizable personal investments in cryptocurrencies last year and plans to put more of his own money into digital assets and the blockchain technology behind them, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. Some of his fellow partners at Brevan Howard Asset Management have independently made similar investments, the report added. However, one must remember that the ultra-rich can afford to lose such investments without affecting their lifestyles.

The launch of Lightning Network’s beta also saw many enthusiasts come out and throw their support behind the beta version, with full faith in its ability to "make bitcoin money again".

While both sides have their points, what is perhaps most obvious is that there are very few of those who are torn between them. People have chosen their sides already.

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