While the price of BTC has slipped precipitously since ending 2017 trading near $20,000, the industry of cryptocurrency has remained as polarizing as ever. Throughout the bullish run that characterized last year, economists, financial reporters and Wall Street moguls continued to point out the flaws of the number one cryptocurrency by market capitalization. Ranging from the dangers of deflationary currencies to the extreme price volatility of the crypto markets, Bitcoin had no shortage of detractors who attempted to steer away investors even during the height of price appreciation.
Rather than focusing on growth through adoption, educating a population on a novel technology or establishing legitimate uses that extending beyond “digital money,” the narrative surrounding Bitcoin and cryptocurrency became one of greed and confusion. The relentless media cycle at the end of 2017 fluctuated between arrogant perplexity and annoyed FOMO, with early crypto adopters being hailed as visionary innovators or just plain lucky depending who you asked. The water cooler conversation for crypto made an abrupt change from “What is Bitcoin?” to “How can I get rich?”
The end result, which should have been predictable from a standpoint of a nascent industry, was over-inflation of value and even greater expectations. The bull run to end 2017 and extend into the first weeks of January was built upon investors who felt fearless in their decisions, not taking the time to learn about Bitcoin, cryptocurrency or the extensive altcoin market–including a litany of ICOs that would prove disastrous over the year. A white paper and a promise was enough to drive billion dollar valuations, with most investors simply looking for the next coin of the day to get pumped on exchanges.