FastBreak Five: Unpacking the Crypto Bloodbath

At the time of this writing, bitcoin was trading at $5,451 USD, its lowest price in more than a year. Bitcoin lost 12 percent of its value on Wednesday alone, and, as its value fell, so did the price of many other crypto tokens, including Ethereum, Stellar, Litecoin, and EOS. It was a crypto bloodbath. To understand what’s causing such dramatic losses, we reached out to Tim Draper, Nic Carter, Jalak JobanputraAnthony Pompliano, and Preston Byrne to get their take on what was causing the selloff—and how low they think prices will go.

What’s causing the bitcoin price drop: market anxiety; the tech stock selloff; manipulation by a few whales; stop loss orders; or none of the above?

Tim Draper: I think bitcoin might move like some combination of gold and tech stocks in the short term, but it is a currency and one bitcoin is still one bitcoin. All fiat political currencies will continue to be volatile against bitcoin as they fluctuate into irrelevance. All movements are temporary; down movements provide buying opportunities in bitcoin for people with a vision of a better future.

Jalak Jobanputra: While large institutional announcements such as Bakkt have occurred, there is very little crypto actually moving, so we haven’t seen the large institutional adoption that many were expecting. Further, the broader [stock] market sell-offs have made all investors nervous on economic uncertainty.

Nic Carter: I think that when volatility left, a lot of volatility junkies left too, and it was a matter of time before they exited to fiat. The sharpness of the drop is at least partly due to the cascading liquidations at dodgy exchanges that optimize for that mechanic.

Anthony Pompliano: I don’t think it is any of the above. This would be historical volatility, but compared to the recent stable price, it feels much bigger than it actually is. We still have a lot of pain left to see in this bear market, I believe.

Preston Byrne: If I had to guess, behind-the-scenes regulatory enforcement scuttlebutt to which we mere guppies are not privy.

Does this mean we don’t get the crypto “Christmas rally” people have been anticipating?

Draper: My only prediction is $250,000 by 2022.

Jobanputra: We’re unlikely to see a large year end rally, although if ETFs are approved it could move the market higher.

Carter: Why should a holiday season have an effect on price? If traders expected a Christmas rally, that would be priced in long before Christmas.

Pompliano: I don’t think that’s a real thing. People like to speculate on the internet, and anything called the “Christmas rally” would fall under that category.

Byrne: Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Morris? It’s Christmas every day in crypto.

How does this feel, anxiety-wise, compared to previous times we’ve seen big price drops, like in 2014-2015? Are you worried?

Draper: No.

Jobanputra: This feels much more expected, in that the speculators dominated the market for so long. The reality is that we’re still far away from knowing what BTC’s ultimate use case will be, and as those become more clear, we will see valuations tied to fundamentals.

Carter: In 2014 I was worried that bitcoin would be abandoned. I’m not worried about that anymore, so this a breeze by comparison. Tokens with no discernible reason to exist should be worried though.

Pompliano: Volatility is welcomed by those who can avoid being emotional or losing discipline. The people who will be best positioned in bear markets are those with a long-term thesis, regardless of the asset.

Byrne: It’s worse for most people, as the losses are greater and [regulatory] enforcement is further along. Me personally, I don’t invest in the stuff as, being a lawyer, I feel it’s a conflict and would affect my objectivity. So I’m fine.

What do you think the price of bitcoin will be on Dec. 31?

Draper: Again, my only prediction is one bitcoin will be $250,000 by 2022.

Jobanputra: Likely back to the $6,000-6,500 range.

Carter: My best guess is the current price. My long-term stance is unchanged.

Pompliano: Sub-$6,000.

Byrne: $4,325.