Bitcoin and all of the rest of the cryptocurrency world have been having a tough time of it ever since the market peaked in November of 2021. The term crypto winter was coined to describe this substantial and prolonged fall in prices. It occurs to us that by using the term winter in regard to crypto one assumes this is part of a natural cycle with its ups and downs. Thus, winter should be followed by spring and summer as crypto prices regain their previous highs and trend upward. Unfortunately, this may not be crypto winter but a cryptocurrency ice age.
How Long Was the Last Ice Age?
The most recent set of ice ages started about two and a half million years ago and lasted until about eleven thousand years ago when the climate started warming again. Over that time there were glacial periods and interglacial periods (like we are in now). There were 17 glacial cycles with periods of glaciers much longer than the briefer periods of warming. The prevailing theory is that these periods are related to the distance of the earth from the sun which goes through a cycle of about 96,000 years. All of this is not to suggest that cryptocurrencies have anything to do with natural phenomena but rather to suggest that crypto enthusiasts look beyond the crypto winter analogy to plan what to do at this point in time.
Does Crypto Trade Within a Channel?
There are stocks (companies) whose stock prices trade within ranges or channels depending on supply and demand which, in turn, depends on the economy. Prices go up, the Fed raises interest rates, companies lay off workers, and everyone starts to spend less. The entire economy shrinks and stock prices fall in a market correction or crash. Eventually the economy mends itself, prices go down, the Fed lowers rates, companies make more money, and stock prices go up. Over the long term some of the best times to invest in stocks have been during a “winter” of low point in the market. If the so-called crypto winter is just because of an impending recession and crypto is essentially trading within a predictable range then this could be an excellent time to buy more Bitcoin, etc. before prices rise again.
What If Bitcoin Was Highly Overpriced and Is Seeking Its Real Value?
One of the problems in either trading or investing in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and the rest is that they have precious little track record to compare things with. The stock market has well over a century of experience in which prices have followed understandable ups and downs. Thus, concepts like intrinsic stock value are useful guides when investing. The crypto “story” has been that it is a safe haven in times of financial and social unrest, a hedge against runaway inflation, and an asset that will continue to rise while currencies like the US dollar fall in value. Unfortunately for crypto believers none of this story has turned out to be true in the last year. As the Fed raises interest rates the dollar keeps getting stronger. We are experiencing the worst inflation in four decades and none of the cryptocurrencies is providing a refuge. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine poses the threat of all out war in Europe and the only useful part of cryptocurrencies seems to be that Russia can use them to bypass banking and trade sanctions.
The point of this discussion is that if you believe crypto is in a trading range and likely to bounce back you use this opportunity to buy. If you believe this is a crypto ice age instead of a crypto winter and that low prices will not only continue but fall even more you need to start converting part of your crypto to cash and look at investments like inflation protected US Treasuries.
Crypto Winter or Ice Age? – SlideShare Version