“Next Bitcoin” Ripple Does $126-Bn Round Trip in 15 Weeks

The crypto-crash crushes hopes, but will it impact the economy?

The price of cryptocurrency Ripple had been languishing for months at around $0.20 back in 2017, giving it an already astonishing market capitalization of around $8 billion. But on December 11, it took off. In the morning of December 14, the price blew through $0.574, and the market cap passed $22.5 billion on the way to a quadrillion. A serious gain, but peanuts compared to what came next.

Crypto billionaires were being printed by the week and crypto millionaires by the hour. Ripple was hot. All the known schemes were piled on to manipulate the price up. Hedge funds put their money to work and got the media to carry their water. The pump operations were white-hot, and it all worked according to script.

In the wee hours of January 4, Ripple’s price hit $3.84. In terms of crypto-billionaire fiat currency dollars, its market cap hit $148 billion. In the 24 days between December 11 and January 4, Ripple had gained 1,400%, or $140 billion.

Our hero had $70,000 in Ripple before December 11, and then went on a tour into the rain forest without any connection to the rest of the word. He returned to the US and got off the plane bleary-eyed at 5 a.m. on January 4, got a quote on Ripple, and discovered it had made him a millionaire.

That’s one heck of a feeling. A huge adrenaline shot. His brain started working in mysterious ways. On the way home, he figured that in another 24 days, he’d be another 1,400% richer than at the moment, which would be $15 million; and in another 24 days, or at least no later than Easter, if there was a brief correction, which could happen, realistically speaking, he’d be another 1,400% richer, and that would take him to a quarter billion. He’d be a billionaire by the end of 2018, conservatively speaking. Those thoughts kept him from selling.

But by the end of that fateful January 4, his initial million had started to melt away. Ripple had dropped to $3.16, having shed $16 billion in market cap. And this was just the beginning. On February 5, Ripple hit $0.66, down 82%. And it wasn’t through yet.

These things happen. All along the way, our hero had hopes for another spike, and he clung to his digital stash, although it wasn’t worth all that much anymore, and he clung to the dream of the quarter billion, but that had been moved from Easter to 4th of July – or Labor Day at the latest.

But at this moment, Ripple is at $0.574, where it had been on December 14, with a market cap of $22 billion.

This was a perfect round-trip. It created $126 billion in “wealth” – that’s how the recipients looked at this phenomenon – on the way up from December 14 to January 4, and then destroyed the same $126 billion on the way down. The whole thing took 15 weeks. This chart (via CoinMarketCap) shows the amazing round-trip. Note how volume (black columns at the bottom of the chart) has now dissipated:

I have pooh-poohed cryptos on the way up, and on the way down. They’re at best a form of unregulated online gambling. Early movers win if they choose the right moment to exit. This comes at the expense of late entrants and those that are hanging on. And so be it.

But put yourself in the shoes of our hero who had become a millionaire and was on the way to becoming a billionaire. Now he’s stuck, and his stake is dwindling away, unless he lost it all when the exchange where he kept it was hacked.

This is a terrible feeling. The things our hero was planning to do and to buy have moved out of reach. Now he’s hunkering down, spending way too much time in his crypto echo-chamber on the internet, grappling with where to go from here, while keeping his hope alive that these cryptos will surge again and will finally make him rich.

So how big a problem is this for the economy?

During the dotcom bust, the Nasdaq index lost 78%. It took over two years and impacted the economy mildly. A recession followed. Many of the biggest dotcom highfliers no longer exist. But it was the Internet and there was a huge amount of use and need for it. And some of the big companies around today emerged from it, including Amazon and Google. However, there is no known use or need for these cryptocurrencies, other than online gambling. In this respect, there is no comparison between the dotcom era and crypto-craze.

Anyone can create a cryptocurrency. There are 1,595 by now, according to CoinMarketCap. The combined market cap of cryptocurrencies reached $707 billion on January 4, but has now plunged 58% to $297 billion — even though the new cryptos or tokens that are being created add to the market cap.

So $410 billion in perceived “wealth” has evaporated. But this is spread around the world, and if it goes to zero, it still won’t have much impact beyond those folks whose hopes have gotten crushed. For the rest, it is clear that the nonsensical nature of these things inevitably leads to nonsensical results. And that’s what we’ve been witnessing right before our eyes.

When will investors get tired of feeding their capital into this cash-burn machine? Read… Tesla Gets Slammed by Tesla 
 

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  62 comments for ““Next Bitcoin” Ripple Does $126-Bn Round Trip in 15 Weeks

  1. Crypto
    Mar 28, 2018 at 7:56 pm

    Not a problem. Creative destruction should be celebrated. If people get thrown under the bus, that’s just a side effect especially if it’s a self driven bus.

    That aside though, a lot of serious money must have gotten lost already, but I’ve barely heard a peep. I mean, like show me a couple of articles of people selling their house/assets/etc because of losses in crypto. The pickings are slim. That tells me, a lot of people dabbled in crypto, but not enough to cause real serious losses.

    There was an article yesterday about one fifth of students using school loans to dabble in crypto, but hei most student loans will be written off in the end anyways. https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/03/one-fifth-student-borrowers-used-loans-gamble-cryptocurrencies.html

    • Javert Chip
      Mar 29, 2018 at 12:03 am

      It’s difficult to get any credible demographics about cryptos (eg: price manipulation; how thin is the market; who’s actually buying/selling). I think buyers fall into 1 (or more) categories, in sequence by actual cash invested (not crypto current market value):

      1) Money laundering dudes: these guys can’t really complain when their money gets stolen because, well, they’ve basically done something illegal or are attempting to do something illegal. Most of these guys have been in long enough that they really haven’t lost that much of the initial investment.

      2) Snowflakes: these guys have such experience-free and seriously distorted & naive world-views that as long as their crypto bounces around, they believe the tooth-fairy will make it worth $1,000,000 by year-end. At least they’re putting their money (or more likely, taxpayer student loan money) where their mouth is.

      3) Dudes with LOTS of money who want to play around: these guys view cryptos as a toy and who the hell knows what they’re doing. This is the only crowd that’s happy they can actually deduct their crypto losses.

    • intosh
      Mar 29, 2018 at 10:13 am

      It is very likely that it’s simply one crypto buying another, bits buying bytes. Since it’s so easy to create new ones, the game can go on for a long time.

  2. andy
    Mar 28, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    All part of the ‘wealth effect’. It works.

  3. Ogi
    Mar 28, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    Wolf could you adress the mlps meltdown?

  4. Nick Kelly
    Mar 28, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    WR: I can’t resist pointing out there is an ad for Ripple alongside your appropriate debunking.

    It says: ‘Can Ripple hit $10?
    Ripple genius reveals catalysts that could send Ripple to $10.’

    I would guess this piece on WS is NOT one of those catalysts.

    Kind of shows you how dumb some of these robo-ad placement programs are.

    • Javert Chip
      Mar 29, 2018 at 12:11 am

      I’m old enough that I remember “Ripple” as essentially 100% of my college wine cellar.

      FYI: currently, a bottle of “Pagan Pink Ripple” goes for about $20.

      • Night-Train
        Mar 29, 2018 at 12:28 am

        Boones’ Farm was big in my area. What the heck, let’s just unscrew the cap on a bottle of Annie Green Springs and call it a day!

        • Duke DeGuise
          Mar 29, 2018 at 6:29 am

          Ah, Ripple, Boone’s Farm, Night Train Express, Thunderbird, Wild Irish Rose… Good times…

          Not.

        • RagnarD
          Mar 29, 2018 at 11:07 am

          My high school years on Long Island were very much Superbad…
          Roaming the streets with a bottle of Boones farm looking for the next house party.

          Good times.

      • Bookdoc
        Mar 29, 2018 at 10:20 am

        I remember Ripple as well-$20 is $18 too much…

  5. Mar 28, 2018 at 9:01 pm

    In the 4 months since bitcoin took off, roughly $150-200 billion has changed hands. Nearly all of these late buyers have been getting hammered. I suspect that many leveraged their purchase so they’ve really been smashed. Add in all the other cryptos and the losses are quite staggering. Watch what happens to prices when the holdouts fold their cards and sell in a panic. My prediction to friends was that bitcoin would be under $1,000 by the end of this year. When will the speculative fools ever learn?

    • Javert Chip
      Mar 29, 2018 at 12:40 pm

      I’m skeptical of the $150-200B changing hands.

      4 months is 120 trading days (assumes 24/7 trading); assume average bitcoin price is $8,000/coin:

      o $150B of trades is 18.75M coins or 156,000/coins per day
      o $200B of trades is 25.00M coins or 208,000/coins per day

      An average trading day for Berkshire Hathaway (400 BRK/A shares @ $300,000/ea + 4.7M BRK/B @ $200/ea) is $1.06B/day:
      o $150B of average BRK/A+B trading would take 141 trading days
      o $200B of average BRK/A+B trading would take 188 trading days

      An average trading day for Apple (37.5M AAPL shares @ $170/ea) is $6.4B/day:
      o $150B of average AAPL trading would take 23 trading days
      o $200B of average AAPL trading would take 32 trading days

      Like everything in “crypto world” it’s easy to get “numbers”, but almost impossible to get credible numbers…on anything.

      • Mar 29, 2018 at 4:29 pm

        Why don’t you look up the daily volume figures online for bitcoin? The stats will check out.

        • Javert Chip
          Mar 29, 2018 at 7:38 pm

          Yea, right. every site has different numbers. I can’t even get an exact price quote.

          The stats do not check out. I do not believe $150B-200B in the last 4 months.

        • Mar 29, 2018 at 8:30 pm

          No problem. I’m, fairly comfortable with the volume numbers I see. In any case, bitcoin will be under $1,000 by year end.

  6. pizmo
    Mar 28, 2018 at 9:14 pm

    I think we boomers used to refer to this crypto scam as a pyramid scheme. I know– pyramid scheme sounds so boring…

  7. Old Codger
    Mar 28, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    I prefer Tulip Bulbs myself!

    • Gary
      Mar 28, 2018 at 10:10 pm

      Just to make an interesting aside, actress Audrey Hepburn had to eat tulip bulbs as a child to survive (her family was caught in a siege during WWII).

      • BillS
        Mar 29, 2018 at 6:57 am

        The “Hongerwinter” of 1944-45 when the Netherlands was cut off by the Wehrmacht during the stalled Allied drive along the Rhine at the end of 1944. She was residing in Arnhem, which was heavily damaged during the fighting and cut off from relief supplies.

    • Flying Monkey
      Mar 29, 2018 at 12:40 am

      Better yet…. Digital tulips!

      • Old Codger
        Mar 29, 2018 at 11:50 am

        Bitulips perhaps?

  8. Night-Train
    Mar 28, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    Well, at least our hero didn’t return from the rain forrest with a fungus or some weird parasite that makes a good photo for a click-bait article. You have to look on the bright side :)

  9. MCH
    Mar 28, 2018 at 10:27 pm

    Something out of nothing. It’s frigging magic.

    One thing I never understood about cryptocurrency and mining. The whole point of mining the currency and maintaining the blockchain is that you get rewarded with bitcoin in these process. So, we have all these mining farms loaded with specialized computers who keep the blockchains running. But what I don’t understand is if there is a finite number of bitcoin that will one day run out. What’s the incentive for the miners to maintain the blockchain after they no longer get rewarded for keeping the system running. After all, electricity isn’t free, who is going to be incentivized in the case of bitcoin to keep the party going after the last coin is mined?

    I know there must be a perfectly logical explanation here, but I don’t see it, I know, I know, I’m not very sharp, but I’m sure some kind soul can explain it to me.

    • ScottS71
      Mar 29, 2018 at 7:52 am

      Their is. The ROI is still good when you mine one; untill it’s not!! Demand makes it profitable at current prices, so mines are on untill break even drops below positive. it wont last. But, I cant keep thinking about all the negativety in this. Their have been huge gamblers that made money on a fools dime. And with a curve that steep and drop just as steep, where is the distribution of profits and losses; if you flatten it out its wash? 50/50? But my guess is the misinformed lost buying on the hype.

    • intosh
      Mar 29, 2018 at 10:33 am

      “What’s the incentive for the miners to maintain the blockchain after they no longer get rewarded for keeping the system running.”

      The story they tell you is that fees for registering your transactions into the blockchain will become their incentive. So whoever pays the higher price will have their transactions move up higher in priority. It’s a true free market dictated by supply and demand, IN THEORY.

      In practice, the fees are high and transaction completions are slow. So the Bitcoin Kings invented the Lightning Network — a layer on top of the Bitcoin network. I’m simplifying but essentially the Lightning Network nodes will connect users and provide off-chain transactions (transactions not registered on the blockchain). Consolidated transactions will be saved on the blockchain only after a certain time or events, thus off-loading the bitcoin network. They have invented banks! Congrats!

    • RagnarD
      Mar 29, 2018 at 11:13 am

      “But what I don’t understand is if there is a finite number of bitcoin that will one day run out.”

      Unless, perhaps, someone one day in the far far future devines to create another BlockChain. And then another, and another…..

      Nah, never happen.

  10. Memento mori
    Mar 28, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    …When will investors get tired of feeding their capital into this cash-burn machine?…
    I would say with confidence, never.
    A sucker is born every minute.
    There is a reason things are the way they are.

    • Night-Train
      Mar 28, 2018 at 11:18 pm

      I agree with your question and PT Barnum nailed it.

      But I have another question: What is the psychology of the crypto investors? I mean those without the ability to manipulate the game. Are they simply gamblers? Or is there more to it than that. It sure doesn’t fit my concept of investing.

      • Nick
        Mar 29, 2018 at 11:09 am

        I think a lot of crypto investors are young people desperately trying to get ahead in an economy that has been completely stacked against them. Can you really blame them? Loads of college debt, price of everything off the charts compared to generations ago, pipe dream of getting into the regular stock market/gold/commodities and making any type of money in the near future, burgeoning government deficits and debt……..I mean some of you on here are pretty damn arrogant and most of you are probably boomers who have contributed to our decrepit and debt fueled economy. So to bash young people are who doing everything they can to try and make some money can you blame them? They are not all fools or snowflakes or criminals and many are actually pretty intelligent and conservative risk takers.

        It’s easy to sit back and gloat………….which a lot of you tend to do on this website. What about the complete ponzi scheme many of you take part in that is social security, disability, pensions, etc. Oh because those are so much more viable and legitimate? Haha……….$20 trillion dollars in national debt and climbing and most of you have the audacity to criticize crypto investors? LMAO! Talk about cognitive dissonance.

        • Mar 29, 2018 at 11:39 am

          Your last paragraph is the epitome of silliness. I got a great laugh out of it.

          BTW, the dad of my high school sweetheart told me when I was 17 that Social Security would collapse over the next few years and wouldn’t be around for him when he retires, that it was just a tax and a Ponzi scheme… He was a CPA and had his own firm. He died a couple of years ago, and SS is still around, as are the stories that it will collapse over the next few years :-]

        • intosh
          Mar 29, 2018 at 12:22 pm

          Did someone just compared cryptocurrencies to social programs?!?! LOL

        • Chuck in NJ
          Mar 29, 2018 at 12:26 pm

          False hopes my friend ….. grasping at straws.
          Get rich quick schemes all end up the same …. a few early adopters at the top of the pyramid until the whole thing collapses !

          Will there be viable blockchain applications ? Certainly – but the challenge (and work and risk) is to understand which will actually bring value to our lives and economy. Everything else is a crapshoot.

        • Javert Chip
          Mar 29, 2018 at 8:08 pm

          Nick

          The world isn’t stacked against you (snowflakes). It’s simply a lot more difficult to be an adult than you have be lead to believe (shame on your parents & so-called teachers).

          The adult world does not give a crap about your participation medals; to make serious money you have to actually deliver something of value-add, or be extremely lucky (win the lottery, bitcoins, whatever).

          You have been raised to believe that your innate “goodness” is enough to qualify for a financially successful lifestyle. It isn’t, and for 90% of you, it never will be, so get over it.

          Blaming Boomers for the national debt is valid up to a point: however, millennials have been of voting age since 1998 (including Obama’s 2008 election); over 50% of the national debt has accumulated on your (snowflake) watch.

          It’s time to grow up, kid.

      • Night-Train
        Mar 29, 2018 at 7:22 pm

        Nick: Thanks for the view as to how young folks see cryptos. I know several millennials and they are hard working, imaginative and clear-eyed. In fact, I am currently investing in one’s business.

  11. raxadian
    Mar 28, 2018 at 11:25 pm

    Buy your initial Tulips Offering here! Fresh Blockchain tulips! Buy them before they get rotten!

    A bit of history dear folks, here:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_mania

    That’s what the first bubble recorded in history to have a significant impact in the world economy. What other people call the first bubble, Kipper und Wipper,
    was not one but currency deflation, currency fraud and currency falsification.

    Anyway my point is, there is nothing new under the sun besides tne fact Blockchains are worth less than false coins. At least with the Tulip mania you could plant them.

    And please Google, Mucrosoft ans so on, do something so Monero scripts are detected as malware. Scamapps mining that blockchain have literally melt phones!

    • MC01
      Mar 29, 2018 at 2:32 am

      Allow me to say a few words about tulips which will offer a very pertinent parallel with many other asset bubbles.

      In the XVII century, just like now, the most sought after tulip cultivars were those streaked in color and the so called Parrots, those having lacinated, twisted and curled petals.
      Both effects can be easily obtained by inoculating bulbs with several virus strains (harmless to humans), and while XVII century science had no knowledge of virus and bacteria, tulip growers knew very well how to obtain mutations by planting bulbs in area infected with mosaic virus, breaking virus and allied pathogens.
      This method has many advantages over tradizional hybridization.
      It’s much faster: it may take over five years for tulip flowers to grow from seeds while a season is usually more than enough for the viral infection to affect a bulb.
      Tulips grown from offsets (the little bulb that form from grown ones) are identical genetic twins of the mother plant, meaning there’s no need for further selection.
      Selection is so much easier, as there’s no need to wait for the right color mutants to appear. Just pick the basic color from already available cultivars and let those little clumps of genetic material work their magic.

      However there’s an enormous drawback, as anyone who has ever planted the most exotic tulip varieties will testify: bulbs mutated by viral injection are short-lived. In some cases very short-lived, meaning you’ll get at most a few years out of your bulbs, unless you religiously propagate them and properly grow the offsets.

      The Tulip Mania was a relatively short-lived phenomenon which coincided with several factors, chief among which was the long awaited availability of streaked flowers which suited contemporary tastes.
      Tulip growers commissioned watercolors to drum up interest in their upcoming products, not unlike present day nurseries presenting their new products at fairs and on specialized publications.
      We like to think gardening to be at most a XIX century novelty but in reality it goes back an extremely long way: Confucius himself already mentions ornamental/medicinal peony cultivars and Romans considered gardening extremely serious business.

      Regardless, my point is that even during the Tulip Mania those buying long extinct cultivars such as the infamous Semper Augustus knew they were buying something short-lived. And there was the ever looming threat of nematodes killing the bulb in a few days if the soil was infected.
      Most pople had a thumb as black as my brother’s even back then, so propagation was out of question (unless an expensive and skilled gardener was hired for the purpose) so their only hope was to flip the bulb at a higher price in a short time. A few managed to do that, the rest didn’t.

      As far as I know there are a very few “survivors” from the Tulip Mania and they still manage to cause headaches.
      While there’s a nursery in The Netherlands claiming to still breed Clusiana tulips from the Mania, most of the “Clusiana” you’ll find for sale are cheap counterfeits, usually the similar but extremely common Lady Jane. And the least I say about the periodic “rediscovery” of the infamous Viceroy and Semper Augustus, the better.
      Morale: never say a bubble is dead.

      • raxadian
        Mar 29, 2018 at 1:45 pm

        A bubble is considered dead when it stops affecting economy at large. A microbubble is something that only affects a smart part of the economy, for example restaurants in New York.

        The tuilips bubble affected the world economy once then shrank so much the efect was negligible.

        Yes microbubbles can be nasty when they affect you. But otherwise they are fine.

        The Bricks, not the economic block but the “Buy bricks aka houses” is one of the oldest methods middle class and up had of seguring their money at least since the industrial revolution. The problem was when that changed from “Having property people rents you so you get money” to “Buy a property now to sell later for more cash.”

        Housing is never a microbubble because even if the effect is only in a single city, it has a cascade effect in the rest of the economy.

        More so now that all the companies have decided that no, you can’t work for home anymore, you have to go to the office.

        Blockchains can be considered a middle size bubble, yes it affects the economy but the effect is not that big.

        Who takes your blockchain as cash? Steam doesn’t accept bitcoins as payment anymore.

        Can you use it to buy stuff in your city?

        I have no idea if one day we will use a blockchain as actual currency but that day is not today or tomorrow.

        Hence Tulipchains!

  12. ???
    Mar 29, 2018 at 8:24 am

    Cryptos… money laundering….

    • raxadian
      Mar 30, 2018 at 4:24 pm

      That’s the one thing Blockchains are horrible at. Casinos and buying houses seems to still be one of the most used methods. After all while casinos pay a lot of tax (60% or more in some countries) is very hard to find out if the money actually came from the casino earnings or is illegal money being laundered. And about houses? Just look at the UK.

  13. Paul in NC
    Mar 29, 2018 at 8:44 am

    Here’s the problem, the crypto currencies have already created enough millionaires to give hope to those late-to-the-game.

    I’m in tech, and know of 5 ex-coworkers who were into bitcoin early (not so much for investing, for the technical aspects mostly). A couple of them invested their bonuses (around $6-8K), the other 3 folks much less (between $500-2000). I’m a paranoic, and firm believer in cash/tangible goods only, so I scoffed at bitcoin, and I feel I lost out supremely.

    These guys were already doing better than most (and definitely better than I), but now, one of them is a millionaire hanging out in his survivalist compound, one is a millionaire (and still sitting on many many coin) and starting a new company with the money he made, one is 32 years old, and set to retire in 3 years a multi-millionaire (probably could already – he does work for a crypto exchange), the fourth made about 250K (twice his yearly salary), and the fifth was the most conservative and risk-averse (500 dollar investment guy), and made enough to buy a brand new $70K RV.

    I never had enough money to invest, and still don’t…working check to check. As much as you guys hate to admit it, many many many times, high risk behaviors pay off.

    • Mar 29, 2018 at 10:29 am

      If they made this kind of money and bought these kinds of things with it, it means they sold their cryptos to some late-comer at the right time. If they didn’t sell, they lost a big part of the money they thought they had made.

      • Paul in NC
        Mar 29, 2018 at 7:18 pm

        No, no they didn’t. They cashed out at an exchange, like everybody else does. I don’t understand what you’re implying, that the stock market doesn’t function in identical ways? I’m reading about bubble after bubble on your blog, what makes you believe that bitcoin and other mined crypto-currency is any different in terms of “getting in low, and then selling to some sucker at the right time”?

        To re-iterate, all of the people I know that bought bitcoin, did so very early ($2 a coin or less) for purely technical reasons. They don’t invest. Neither do I. They *never* made any assumptions or even believed they would ever see any return on their technical curiosity. They never once thought about “money that they thought they made”, they see it as a ridiculous concept just like I. Of course they all cashed out at $12K a coin, became millionaires at that point, one friend still has about 1000 coin for fun. Had it on a random USB drive in a cryptowallet and forgot all about them. Please don’t paint *all* crypto-coin investors with the same brush that I paint Wall-Street hedge-fund douchebags; they are *NOT* the same people.

        • Javert Chip
          Mar 29, 2018 at 8:23 pm

          Just to keep the numbers straight:

          Paul in NC says “bought bitcoin…$2 a coin or less,,,Of course they all cashed out at $12K a coin, became millionaires …”

          Buying at $2, selling at $12 to become a millionaire implies an initial investment of $166,000.

          Oh yea, and Paul says they “bought bitcoin, did so very early…for purely technical reasons. They don’t invest”.

          Frankly, I’m skeptical. Very Skeptical.

        • Mar 29, 2018 at 11:33 pm

          Paul in NC,

          “Sell” = “cash out at an exchange.” We’re on the same page.

          But on the other side of every trade is always a buyer (in this case, the “late-comer”). The seller might not know who that is, but that buyer is there, or else the seller couldn’t sell.

        • Paul in NC
          Mar 30, 2018 at 7:15 am

          Javert Chip,

          Please check what I wrote, you quoted it, yet you go on to misquote the quote right above your sentence. They didn’t cash out at $12, they cashed out at $12K. Thousand. Twelve thousand.

        • Javert Chip
          Mar 31, 2018 at 8:15 pm

          Paul

          I stand corrected

    • intosh
      Mar 29, 2018 at 10:48 am

      I don’t think anyone would dispute that high risk taking sometimes has huge payoffs.

      But if they really believe in Bitcoin (its tech and its promises), they wouldn’t have sold them in the first place, at least not yet. They were lucky gamblers — they bet on a dream, which then took off, and they sold, literally, that dream to someone else.

    • JB
      Mar 29, 2018 at 1:50 pm

      isn’t it funny that stories abound on successful cryptocoin
      investors yet you don’t hear a peep about those that lost their shirt.

  14. Lars
    Mar 29, 2018 at 9:24 am

    The First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics,
    in the language of the ‘Man on the Street’ state:
    You Can’t Get Something for Nothing, and:
    There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch.
    The Third Law should possibly read:
    Energy can Neither be Created nor Destroyed.
    It appears in the Crypto-Currency world that these 3 Laws also apply,
    given time !

  15. Maurizio
    Mar 29, 2018 at 9:46 am

    Sir Isaac Newton, not exactly an idiot himself, lost a fortune during the ‘South Sea’ bubble. It’s greed, and fear of missing out, that may lead even the brightest to take catastrophic decisions.

  16. michael w Earussi
    Mar 29, 2018 at 9:51 am

    Crypto-currencies are just another way of redistributing the wealth from the stupid to the intelligent. This has been happening since the human race began. Get use to it.

  17. MikeB @ Fused
    Mar 29, 2018 at 10:16 am

    Technically XRP is not the same as Bitcoin. It was all premined and each one is initially sold by 1 company who’s name is Ripple. So if you buy XRP you are just funding Ripple’s endeavors. Any comparison to Bitcoin is of very limited use.

    • Mar 29, 2018 at 10:26 am

      It’s just a gambling device (at best) where late entrants and tough-it-out souls have lost a fortune, which was transferred to those that exited at the right moment. Everything else is irrelevant.

  18. Cal
    Mar 29, 2018 at 10:52 am

    A huge number of “investors” are using student loans to speculate on coins.

    http://bitcoinist.com/college-students-admit-using-student-loan-money-invest-cryptocurrency/

    Thanks to Joe Biden, they will have to pay off these debts until the day they day with a nice premium to private bill collectors backstopped by the federal marshals and the IRS.

    • Javert Chip
      Mar 29, 2018 at 8:31 pm

      It’s called making a promise (to pay back the loans) and having to live up to it.

  19. Prairies
    Mar 29, 2018 at 11:07 am

    I much like Paul, know a guy through work who got in early. He believed it would become a currency and set up a cheap mining rig at the beginning when an average person could stand a chance. He mined and sold 100s of coins in the first couple years, they were only worth a few dollars back then and easy to get, once he saw the bubble he realized it wasn’t a currency anymore and sold off what he had left. Didn’t make millions, but if he would have kept his early coins he would have easily been a millionaire. He isn’t mining anymore, it is nearly impossible to compete anymore.

    • Javert Chip
      Mar 29, 2018 at 8:34 pm

      One of the things you will/should quickly learn is everybody knows somebody who has done (fill in the blank).

      The trick is to BE that somebody, not just someone who knows someone.

  20. Al
    Mar 29, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    Wolf, partially off topic (no ripple in my post) block chain and phisical precious metals market is a perfect marriage.

    Check out story about Canadian Royalty mint and Sprott.

  21. Wendy
    Mar 29, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    Take the shade off your lamp, and place the bulb across the opposite side of the room, raise your middle finger, and carefully trace this hand silhouette out on a piece of paper. Now overlay this image over the price graph of the cryptocurrency at the top of this article. Cool, isn’t it? Most every bubble follows this same pattern, and the fact that it resembles “the finger”,makes it even more appropriate for those intrepid investors.

  22. YIH
    Mar 30, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    The big problem is, to put it in cold, blunt terms, cryptos ARE NOT ”money”. They can’t be used that way. At best, like precious metals, they can be a store of value – but like precious metals, they can’t be used for day-to-day transactions. They have to be converted to ”money” to be used as ”money”. Take a gold coin to a pawn shop, they’ll give you roughly the oz. spot price – or maybe rip you off. Go to an exchange site, and maybe you’ll get the current spot price – or ripped off.

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