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Hello World | This is not the first crypto crash. Why so sad then?

It is surprising to see so many people crying foul over losing money on crypto.

May 26, 2021 / 06:32 PM IST
Concerns about energy consumption and volatility around crypto have always been around. That is not new information.

Concerns about energy consumption and volatility around crypto have always been around. That is not new information.

Note to readers: Hello world is a program developers run to check if a newly installed programming language is working alright. Startups and tech companies are continuously launching new software to run the real world. This column will attempt to be the "Hello World" for the real world.

It was boom time in crypto land. You’d have to try really hard to lose money. XRP ripped.  ETH defied gravity. MANA was indeed from heaven and DOGE cocked a snook at earthians on its way up to Mars. Investors who got in early talked up the virtues of the currency and more investors bought into the phenomenon. And then the biggest crash since the Great crypto crash of 2018 began.

hello world logoBillionaire Elon Musk who earlier announced that his company Tesla will sell cars for Bitcoins backtracked on the Tesla-for-Bitcoin deal because Bitcoins take up a whole lot of energy to transact. As we know,  Tesla wants the world to function on sustainable energy in the long run. On popular American television show Saturday Night Live, Musk said DOGE was a hustle. Some big investors dumped crypto holdings. Prices fell.

Regular readers of this column will recall the story of the Smiths who held on to the IBM stock for generations but never sold. The sum and substance of Smith’s actions, as author George Goodman explains is, “It is a parable of pure capitalism, never jam today and a case of jam tomorrow; but as any of the Smiths will tell you, anyone, who has ever sold IBM has regretted it.”

What the Smiths did with their stock, would be called HODL in the world of cryptocurrencies. That is, Hold On with Dear Life to your investment. Over the past few days following a crash in prices, several cryptocurrency investors have been doing just that. Several others have sold their crypto investments at a loss and some have started buying the dip.

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What’s surprising, though, is how many people are crying foul over losing money the past few days on crypto. If you made some reckless calls reading Elon’s tweets or gave into fomo and bet the farm on it, you’ll have to own up to the mistake. Because concerns about energy consumption and volatility have always been around. That is not new information. That Bitcoin has crashed several times in the past is also common knowledge. The old saying “it’s not about timing the market, it’s about how much time you spend in the market,” holds true for crypto as well.

Graphic by Upnesh Raval | Moneycontrol Graphic by Upnesh Raval | Moneycontrol

So if you look at the last few days, it might look like a crash. But wind back long enough, cryptocurrencies are still up many times over.

And then of course the question of jam tomorrow. This again, depends on you as an investor and your needs. If you haven’t sorted out fundamentals like taking out insurance, creating an emergency corpus and so on, do that first. Crypto can wait. At some point, if you want jam, wait for it and sell some when the markets are up. But if you need liquidity (that is, I want jam NOW), crypto may not exactly be the right asset for you at the moment. It’s that simple. All the usual disclaimers apply: Don’t treat this as investment advice. And I’m HODLing my crypto.
Jayadevan PK is a storyteller who focuses on business and technology. His first book, Xiaomi: How a Startup Disrupted the Market and Created a Cult Following, was published by Harper Collins in April 2021.
first published: May 26, 2021 01:59 pm
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