The Biggest Fraud in History
The Biggest Fraud in History by Jim Rickards for Daily Reckoning
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My readers know that I’m a longtime critic of bitcoin. Bitcoin rose from about $2,000 in May 2017 to $20,000 by December 2017 in one of the greatest asset price bubbles in history.
I argued repeatedly that it was nothing but a massive bubble and that the bubble would probably burst when it hit $20,000.
In late 2017 it did.
Bitcoin crashed from $20,000 all the way to $3,300 by December 2018 — an 83.5% collapse in one year and the greatest recorded asset price collapse in history.
The crash of bitcoin was even more dramatic than the infamous collapse of tulip prices in the tulipomania in Netherlands in the early 17th century.
But suddenly, bitcoin is back in the news.
You’ve probably seen the headlines about bitcoin’s return. Bitcoin rose from $3,900 on March 26, 2019, to $8,100 on May 15, 2019, a gain of 52% in less than seven weeks.
Happy days are here again! Bitcoin mania is back!
60 Minutes even ran a feature on bitcoin last night.
Is this the start of a new rally back to the heights of $20,000? That seems highly unlikely.
Early Friday bitcoin plunged well over $1,000 in a massive flash crash, about 10% in one day. Easy come, easy go.
What caused the crash?
It seems that a bitcoin “whale” unloaded a massive holding.
A “whale” is a term for a cryptocurrency investor with a large amount of units, or “coins.” That gives them significant influence on the market control.
It’s been estimated that less than 450 people or entities own 20% of the entire bitcoin market.
And when someone buys or sells a massive amount, prices can swing dramatically, as we saw on Friday.
It is still not clear if the large sell order was deliberate or an accidental “fat finger” error.
Prices have recovered to some extent, and bitcoin’s trading around $7,800 today. But either way, Friday’s flash crash highlights a major weakness of bitcoin. It can all come crashing down like a house of cards, as bitcoin’s 2017–18 hair-raising plunge proves.