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Turkey wasn't the only thing getting roasted over Thanksgiving.
Bitcoin hit a low of just $3,550.04 per coin on Nov. 25. That means the once-vaunted cryptocurrency has now lost a staggering 82.13% of its value since hitting $19,870.62 a coin last December.
Just this month alone, Bitcoin's off 44.55%!
There are all kinds of reasons being bandied about in the press about why it's happening. Everything from low trading volume to potential regulation are being cited as causal factors.
The real reason is far simpler.
People are losing faith.
We're talking about a $700 billion rout here. And, mind you, that's on top of more than what some sources estimate is a grand hacked haul of $15 billion to $20 billion.
Things are so bad that even Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss – they're the guys who sued Mark Zuckerberg for allegedly stealing the idea for Facebook from them – reportedly got pinched to the tune of $32 million by their former partner, Charlie Shrem – a Bitcoin tycoon recently freed from jail for his role in illegal Silk Road drug sales. Seems to me they have a problem choosing partners, but that's a story for another time.
The faithful don't see Bitcoin this way, of course.
To hear them talk about it, the gut-wrenching drop is just part of the "maturation process."
In fact, Shrem himself told Cheddar – a digital business tech news site – that not having a centralized or trusted location "removes the ability for hackers to steal our money and our things," while also removing the possibility of corruption and embezzlement. "All those things go out the window." I don't know if that's before or after he supposedly did both of those things to the Winklevoss brothers.
The irony is staggering either way.
The U.S. Department of Justice is reportedly preparing criminal charges that allege price manipulation since Bitcoin's inception – not just for 50% of last year's meteoric rise – as studied by financial fraud detection expert and UT professor John Griffin and his graduate student, Amin Shams.
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The United Kingdom's Financial Conduct Authority is investigating more than 50 firms suspected of running unlicensed crypto operations, according to The Telegraph and as reported widely Nov. 26.
Japan's regulators are clamping down, and so are China's. The latter even went so far as to ban initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency exchanges within China's borders, while simultaneously cutting off access to mobile apps and exchange access earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Russia is pursuing plans to criminalize cryptocurrencies. Morocco, Algeria, South Korea… they're all defending their turf in one way or another.
There are more than 2,000 (mostly worthless) cryptocurrencies out there, and consumers are getting fleeced left and right by fast-talking crypto soothsayers promising the moon.
Even bottom pickers are getting clobbered at this point.
People like Micheal Novogratz, who famously said $6,000 a coin was "it" – the low – via Twitter on Sept. 13, are being forced to develop new narratives.
Even that won't ultimately save the day.
Bitcoin has no redeeming value whatsoever, except what the next person is willing to pay. That means you cannot tie it to an asset, nor can you make any kind of rational determination that it's undervalued or, even for that matter, overvalued.
Worthless, though, is pretty easy.
More than half of all cryptocurrency news sites and blogs are "pay to play," meaning contributors pay to publish articles without the telltale kiss-of-consumer-skepticism-killing label, "sponsored." That's according to Corin Faife of Breaker in October of 2018 and reported by TechCrunch.
I think it's extraordinarily telling that an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 Bitcoin miners have gone out of business as prices have dropped, according to Mao Shixing, founder of F2Pool. The breakeven price for a "miner" is around $7,000 (and rising), according to Bloomberg, citing Fundstrat Global Advisors.
That's a lesson in and of itself.
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If Bitcoin (and every other cryptocurrency out there) is so great, why, then, is it valued in the very instrument opponents are ostensibly trying to get away from… U.S. dollars?
And why, mind you, have the big boys – meaning the institutions – stayed largely on the sidelines? Usually they're the FIRST in line when there are profits to be had!
The real question facing investors right now is how to invest in a "currency" you know is a sham at a time when it's dropping like a rock and the psyche surrounding it is changing. That requires a leap of faith.
I believe cryptocurrencies will have a role in our future; it's just not what the "utopists" think.
That means a two-pronged approach.
About the Author
Keith Fitz-Gerald has been the Chief Investment Strategist for the Money Morning team since 2007. He's a seasoned market analyst with decades of experience, and a highly accurate track record. Keith regularly travels the world in search of investment opportunities others don't yet see or understand. In addition to heading The Money Map Report, Keith runs High Velocity Profits, which aims to get in, target gains, and get out clean. In his weekly Total Wealth, Keith has broken down his 30-plus years of success into three parts: Trends, Risk Assessment, and Tactics – meaning the exact techniques for making money. Sign up is free at totalwealthresearch.com.