Bitcoin goes splat | Financial Times


OK, we have a confession to make: we may have accidentally shilled the bitcoin price a couple of days ago.

First, we published a piece on Her Majesty the Queen apparently expressing an interest in blockchain. She had been sent a copy of a “peer-reviewed blockchain journal” (!) and her private secretary had replied that our Liz “was interested to learn that the publication is the first open access blockchain publication research journal available both in print and online”. We must now inform you that it was meant to be a bit of a joke. We weren’t convinced that our 94-year-old monarch was really that interested in Byzantine Fault Tolerance and proof-of-work mechanisms.

But some people got very excited about it nonetheless. The CEO of Binance, the world’s biggest crypto exchange, tweeted our story saying “I wonder how many #Bitcoin she has. The Express declared in a headline: Queen left delighted after learning about Bitcoin after receiving peculiar gift. Business Insider added vital context by noting in its write-up of the story: “It’s unclear whether the monarch had any prior blockchain knowledge before receiving the journal.” (We have got to be honest: we are still not sure that the Queen is now in possession of such “blockchain knowledge”.)

And then later on Tuesday Alphaville editor Izabella Kaminska, the Original Bitcoin Cynic, wrote an op-ed for the FT in which she appeared to undergo some kind of a Damascene conversion, arguing that “bitcoin finally finds a rationale in doomsday scenarios”. (She hadn’t really undergone any such conversion; she noted that all her reservations remained, but that in the “far-fetched” scenario of a future dystopian reality in which the world has slid into authoritarianism, bitcoin could act as a kind of hedge.)

(There was also former Alphavillain Tracy Alloway’s apparent actual Damascene conversion a few days earlier.)

We are afraid that collectively — and in particular, we suspect, HM the Queen — we may have sent bitcoin mooning. Bitcoin jumped by about $1,000 on Tuesday, climbing above $19,000 to its highest since the bitcoin-manic days of December 2017. On Wednesday it inched up a little further to top $19,500, just shy of its all-time-high of about $19,666 (depending on which exchange you go with).

And now, number go down! At pixel time, bitcoin had slid about 10 per cent at around $17,200. Here’s a chart showing the past week’s price moves, courtesy of Coindesk:

Last time we looked, Ethereum was also down 13 per cent on the day; XRP had lost 21 per cent.

We are not going to — and nor will we ever — argue that bitcoin will never again rise to such heights. It might, but then again it might not. Without any fundamentals to judge the price on, it is purely based, as we have said many times before, on speculation. Sometimes it does well in when risk appetite is low; sometimes it does badly. That all makes the price pretty much impossible to predict.

But we feel that for now at least, we might have triggered The Top. And for all those bitcoin bros* who have been desperately telling their followers stuff like this:

We can only apologise. We hope you enjoy your carnivorous Thanksgiving dinners despite today’s plunge.

*NB: not all of those we who we deem bitcoin bros self-identify as bitcoin bros.





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