In 2017, the crypto market became bullish after Consensus. This year, the opposite happened. There are 2 major reasons.
1) The market priced in the Consensus hype in April, but was bearish before April.
2) The hype brought a lot of hustle but also bullshit into this space. Consensus and blockchain week exposed this house of cards to the discerning observer.
Buy the Rumor Sell the News + Prevailing Trend
In 2017, the market was bullish heading into Consensus
- Note that there was a period of consolidation after Consensus, but the prevailing trend, which was bullish, continued.
- Now let's take a look at 2018 below. We can see that the trend was heavily bearish since December 2017.
- The market was bullish in April, ahead of Consensus and Blockchain week in general.
- But notice how the rally failed to push above the 200-day simple moving average (SMA).
- In 2017, the market simply continued along its prevailing mode (bullish).
- In 2018, after the April rally, it looks like the market is also continuing its prevailing mode (bearish).
- Basically, in 2017, Consensus didn't really have to be a catalyst.
- In 2018, it had to be a very strong catalyst. But it wasn't.
Hype, Hustle, Bullshit - Not Catalysts
It was very clear that the second half of 2017 brought tremendous hype, which has been fizzling away since the start of the year, when Bitcoin tagged $20,000.
After falling back down to $6,000, the market started to look forward to Consensus. There was a rally in April, which fizzled in May, and is reversing after Consensus. There were people like Tom Lee who talked about how the record attendance at consensus means a real interest, which should translate to a bull market.
Consensus was a great scene at the surface. But dive a little deeper and you will see a lot of incompetence and bullshit.
First, let's look at the technology side:
I saw a demo of a project and thought to myself, you guys went backwards and have a product from the dial-up era. Basically, outside a handle, there were almost no working products being in demo.
I met with founders of projects about to go to pre-sale. Many of these projects provided marginal value addition to the existing networks like Bitcoin or Ethereum, but are raising money like they have something revolutionary. I don't want to call out specific projects, but you can throw a dart on a list of these new projects, and you will likely hit one that is garbage.
Now, there is even more hype and hustle from the finance side:
There is allocation and operation.
Investors allocate investment into projects after doing due diligence. My opinion is that many of these investors are becoming complacent and not doing the due diligence.
But it's not even about due diligence. There is another phenomenon - the activist investor. In 2017, you just had to be accredited. Now, you need to show you can shill for a project to get in. Shill is basically shameless promotion. If you can help them get listed and can help them pump and dump, that is even better!
This primordial pool of new venture capital is creating conflicts of interest as well as asymmetric information throughout the space. After a bunch of people get hurt, Integrity and transparency will be back in vogue.
Now let's talk about the operators.
A lot of the OTC desk operators I talked to did not have cybersecurity policies and try to have the least AML/KYC required. It's like buying gold for random people and storing that gold in your own basement. Or if they did not offer management/custodian service, the transaction is through insecure channels. Its like buying gold and driving that gold to the clients house in a car marked "transporting gold".
If I had $10 mil clean money to invest and was not trying to evade taxes, I would definitely NOT go through these operators just because they had a shorter AML/KYC form and a shorter approval period. But these operators exist because people are FOMOing into this space without doing much due diligence - a recipe for eventual disaster.
View on Market in 2018:
The above are my views, which is the view of smart money. Institutional and HNW involvement is still fringe (except in Asia) because of unclear regulations and unscrupulous players in the game. I don't think we will have a bull market anytime soon, outside of your occasional week or two of recovery.
I don't want to predict where price will go and when the markets will bottom. BUT I would say it might be wise to get dry powder ready for deep correction down to i.e. $6000 and even $4000 for bitcoin. We should also anticipate a prolonged period of correction, i.e. until Q1 2019.