Life After the Crypto Culling
Well, I'd really hate to say I told you so, but...
It would seem that the major crypto bubble of 2017 has finally popped. And there has been some serious bloodshed.
I did warn you this would happen.
But I'm not here to rub it in your faces. In fact, I'm here today to do the exact opposite.
Cryptocurrencies aren't going to disappear anytime soon. Digital currencies and their blockchain backbones are truly revolutionary and will likely become mainstream in the near future.
This technology will change societies around the world at the very root once all the kinks have been worked out. The only setback with anything this ground-shattering is that there are going to be substantial growing pains throughout the entire process.
Like the inevitable forces of natural selection, the bursting of the 2017 bubble is essential to the future of digital currencies and their underlying technology.
It's the survival of the fittest in a technological sense.
The herd has been thinned, and those who are left standing are strong enough to be the driving force behind a new era of technology, tender, and the transfer of value.
The Crypto Culling of 2018
January has been a seriously rough month for some of the biggest cryptocurrencies on the market.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies saw dramatic but incredibly volatile price surges during the past year.
But the new year has welcomed them by eroding nearly $600 billion off their market value amid widening suspicions against one particular trading platform, a half-billion-dollar heist from another exchange, and an awakened global regulatory community.
Just last week, Bitcoin was trading for under $9,000 and Ethereum was trading nearly 0.5% down at $1,100.
Warnings are on the rise from regulators, researchers, banking executives, and even crypto insiders that the value of these popular digital currencies may be a mass illusion because their markets can be so easily manipulated.
The possible culprits range from purveyors of fraudulent initial coin offerings (ICOs), to coordinated bot traders that pump up prices to lure inexperienced investors to buy, to hackers who make millions of dollars by stealing coin deposits.
This is one of the most critical reasons for the global reckoning of regulation.
To take action against the swath of fraudulent ICOs, Facebook announced last week that any advertising promoting any virtual currency product would be strictly banned.
The company's business managing director said the social network believes a broad approach is necessary, as many companies advertising cryptocurrencies and ICOs are not currently operating in "good faith."
ICOs encourage people to invest in fledgling cryptocurrencies before they launch, with the hope that in the future the cryptocurrency will increase in value as the coin becomes more popular.
Rob Leathern, product management director for Facebook Business, said: "We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception."
The motives for manipulation could be as murky and intricate as the network of unsupervised entities that create digital coins, deal in them, and then share only some of the transaction details with the public.
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China has been cracking down on cryptocurrency exchanges, and signs that South Korea might also ban trading further rattled the market.
South Korea is pushing for regulations to remove the secrecy element from virtual currency trading, as it has discovered over $594 million in cryptocurrency crimes.
Bitcoin and other widely popular cryptos seemed to be negatively affected after a speech by India's finance minister, in which he said the country's government doesn't recognize Bitcoin as legal tender.
"The government does not recognize cryptocurrency as legal tender or coin and will take all measures to eliminate the use of these crypto assets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payments system," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in his budget speech.
U.S. regulatory agencies are also expected to ramp up oversight and enforcement in 2018.
Suspicion is now focusing on the integrity of record keeping at the largely unregulated cryptocurrency exchanges. Most recently, concerns have arisen that the digital coin trading platform Bitfinex may have taken part in complicated maneuvers to prop up the Bitcoin price.
Bitfinex is one of the decentralized exchanges whose trading reports influence the perceived value of Bitcoin. The fear now is that if the alleged scheme unravels, the value of Bitcoin would take a complete nosedive from which it could not recover.
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) sent subpoenas on December 6th to Bitfinex and a related company, Tether, which claims that the value of its coins issued under the same name is pegged to the value of the U.S. dollar.
Doubts have arisen that Tether maintains the dollar reserves to back up its coins, which have reportedly played a role in reassuring investors that they could redeem their investments in Bitcoin and other digital coins by receiving dollars in return.
The CFTC has issued warnings about the trading practices and price volatility in the largely unregulated market for cryptocurrencies.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has blocked questionable ICOs and has issued its own warnings. But so far, U.S. regulators haven't established a comprehensive regulatory scheme that would monitor for fraud and police trading in digital coins.
Is There Life After Death?
Like I mentioned earlier, the inevitable forces of the natural selection cycle seem to have finally reached the cryptocurrency sphere.
The mania has evaporated, the markets are returning to normal, and, with regulatory forces slowly starting to take hold, the digital currency herd grows thinner and thinner.
The crypto culling is finally here, and it promises to be a major one.
Out of the 1,442 cryptocurrencies available for purchase today all across the world's many exchanges, only a select few will remain standing.
The ones that survive will rightly dominate the market and will proceed to evolve and mature into the social phenomenon digital currencies were originally meant to be.
For the last several weeks, my colleague Alex Koyfman has been talking about a cryptocurrency that's ready to break loose as the leader in this field.
He has spent months researching and sifting through the hundreds of cryptocurrencies out there, trying to find the most inherently strong of them all.
And he's done it.
A crash in the crypto market is exactly what we've all been waiting for, and now this cryptocurrency is ready to conquer the entire market.
Where most investors are frantic and panicking as the market falls, Alex has unearthed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
You're going to want to hear what he has to say.
Until next time,
An 18-year veteran of the newsletter business, Briton Ryle is the editor of The Wealth Advisory income stock newsletter, with a focus on top-quality dividend growth stocks and REITs. Briton also manages the Real Income Trader advisory service, where his readers take regular cash payouts using a low-risk covered call option strategy. He also contributes a weekly column to the Wealth Daily e-letter. To learn more about Briton, click here.
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