The Bitcoin Bubble (2016 – Present)
Crypto is an ever-growing series of economic bubbles that expand and pop, giving rise to a new bubble bath before anyone has had time to recover from or recall the last round of swindles. Any normal person can’t keep up with the growing number of crypto frauds and bubbles. Crypto is a bubble, however. Bitcoin is a bubble, say eight Nobel laureates. Joseph Stiglitz, 2017 Economics Nobel laureate, said bitcoin’s growth is due to circumvention and lack of oversight. It should be banned, IMO. Crypto is a speculative bubble constructed on self-referential speculation, unlike the Dot-com boom or Railway Mania. Crypto is a totally insular financial system and self-referential market that trades within its bounds, contradicting its claim. Crypto is parasitic to the external financial system, sucking up capital without improving efficiency or solving problems. Crypto can never act as a currency, hence there is no economy in crypto. Crypto is worthless. Crypto isn’t traded. No modern economy recognizes or taxes crypto. The price of crypto oscillates arbitrarily due to market manipulation and public greed and anxiety, divorced from any other activity. Crypto is a gigantic casino investment. Crypto tokens have no fundamentals, no revenue, and no underlying economic activity, making them a bubble investment. As strange and empty as the crypto bubble may seem, the history of markets is plagued with uncannily similar events that all depend on the same astonishing fantasies of easy money unattached from any effort and a constant assumption that this time is different.
People aren’t always economically rational. Individuals and markets exhibit odd biases and enthusiasm due to human nature. Scottish author Charles Mackay wrote in his book on financial manias, Extraordinary Popular Delusions, and the Madness of Crowds, that the 18th century was no different from the 21st.
Men, it’s said, think in herds; they go mad in herds and recover their senses slowly, one by one.
History doesn’t repeat but rhymes. Many new manias are attempts to circumvent the laws meant to clear up the last mania’s fraud, and crypto is centuries worth of deception wrapped in a virulent narrative. Financial scandals and bubbles are inevitable, but they have a predictable pattern and character that remains invariant through the ages; follow where the dumb money is flowing, and you will find all manner of scum and villainy repeating the same scams of the past wrapped in a new too-good-to-be-true pitch for a new generation. Our history curriculum downplays fraud and financial manias. These events are written by expert historians and are not commonly known. Studying prior manias can help you avoid future ones. History shows what happens after bubbles fueled by delusions and deceit. This time, like last, is different.