Some of the flaws of Bitcoin are by now well-understood: It does not scale, it is nearly useless for routine purchases, and its use of energy in mining is problematic in many ways.
The basic premise is that speculators got way ahead of themselves in terms of the adoption rate. The adoption rate has slowed by every metric I look at, while speculators are still stuck holding onto cryptocurrencies that have declined in value. Virtually every purchase of Bitcoin since the spike higher around U.S. Thanksgiving is now losing money. Those holding cryptocurrencies bought with credit cards are feeling the additional pain of interest payments if they bought using credit (which scares me as a concept as I analyzed here).
While new adopters are happening at a declining rate, the amount of regulatory and tax scrutiny is increasing.
Despite being bearish, I believe that there will be value in some cryptocurrencies, even Bitcoin itself, and some of the ICO's - which seem to be viewed with a high degree of skepticism right now (justified in many cases).
Which ICO will be worth it? Which crypto should we back? When should I buy Bitcoin? These are all questions that we will continue to try and answer.
For now, I think regardless of the cryptocurrency you are looking at - you will be able to buy it cheaper, significantly cheaper in the near term.
We have gone from FOMO or what I called the Five Stages Of Not Owning Bitcoin Grief to a concern that purchases might have been foolish. While the true "believers" don't see that, I see it and think the mentality needs to change for Bitcoin to go higher - all markets are driven by emotion at some level and we went from extreme fear of missing out for the average person, to a concern that the naysayers are right.
FOMO In Reverse
FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is in reverse.
Unlike Tchir, I do not suggest $5,000 is a good buying point. I did not like Bitcoin at $5,000 on the way up, so why should I (or anyone) like Bitcoin at $5,000 on the way down.
I see much promise in the technology, but that does not make Bitcoin a buy at any price.
Yet, there is no reason to wish for Bitcoin to fail, unless of course you are short crypto.
The surge of Bitcoin to what I believe are absurd prices is a function of policies of Central Banks.
The reasons put forth by HODLers as to why Bitcoin cannot be a bubble are ridiculous.
Moreover, it's easy to root against the coin out of jealousy or the incessant ramblings of the true believers who still think Bitcoin is headed to $100,000 or even a $1,000,000.
The mining costs alone suggest those targets are pure silliness.
Free Market Concept
It's important to understand that Bitcoin is a free-market concept.
That's the bottom line.
Thus, I won't root against Bitcoin even though I find the incessant Tweets and price targets of the true believers more than a bit galling.
Where Will Bitcoin Be One Year From Today?
The HODLer cheerleaders who say "Don't worry about what it's doing now, look at where it will be in a year," are also galling.
The statement implies Bitcoin will be higher a year from now. Why will it be? Even if it "should be", which I strongly disagree with, perhaps it won't be.
No one knows where Bitcoin is headed. And that's a fact.
Also it's pretty easy to tell people to HODL when many who did so intend to dump when the prices rise back up.
Wishes Aren't Fishes
Galling price-cheerleading aside, as a free-market anti-fiat currency, there is every reason to want Bitcoin to succeed.
But wishes aren't fishes or the nets would always be full.
Meanwhile, the price keeps ratcheting down. Every recent rally has been sold. Will that change? Perhaps.
Then again, central Banks or governments could easily squash Bitcoin like a bug, if they want to.
I do not agree with such a policy, I merely suggest it's quite likely at some point.
It is fantasyland material to believe Bitcoin will replace the Dollar, the Pound, the Yen, and the Yuan, and central banks will not stop it.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock