Back in the 1990s Prime Minister Paul Keating famously said that Australia was enduring the recession it had to have.
Adapting that statement to 2022, and perhaps the crypto industry is having the shakeout it had to have.
The high profile collapse of the FTX exchange in the US has triggered a run on other exchanges, with another firm BlockFi filing for bankruptcy this week.
This came after most crypto currencies have suffered a disappointing year. Bitcoin began the year at around US$65,000, but is now down to around US$25,000 and is expected to go lower.
Local media is full of stories of investors who have significant funds tied up in crypto, but are struggling to get it out of various exchanges.
One Queensland couple put a quarter of the money from their self managed super fund into crypto, and the exchange which is holding it is not answering their emails. Their story is not uncommon.
With this context, its unsurprising that Australian’s interest in crypto investing is waning. Recent research by pollster Pureprofile for crypto exchange Independent Reserve, based on a survey of around 2000 people, found that the percentage of respondents owning crypto currencies fell to 25.6% from 28.8% in 2021.
The survey also detected a resilient cohort of die-hard crypto fanatics. Of those that owned crypto assets, 17.3%invest $500 or more each month regardless of the market conditions, seemingly bullish on the sector’s long-term prospects. Another 21.6% just want to “get rich”.
Unfortunately it’s likely to be this last attitude which has got lots of people into trouble. So many people have got into crypto as the next big route to getting rich without really knowing enough about what they are investing in, apart from their friends are telling them to and that everyone seems to be making money.
At the end of 2022, the crypto landscape is littered with people who lost money because they couldn’t sell out, and just hung in because they were convinced it would recover.
The Pureprofile research did include one encouraging result, and that is that 92% of people were aware of at least one digital currency.
With awareness of crypto on the rise, more people will understand the assets, the market and the risk.
It is highly unlikely that crypto currencies are going to disappear. The current crypto crisis is likely to be temporary, and the market will reset.
Some market watchers may have seen that legendary Wall Street investor Cathie Wood, who runs a fund called Ark Invest, has busily been buying crypto “on the dip” in recent weeks.
If a lifelong professional investor like Cathie Wood sees a future in crypto, that suggests that the after enduring this prolonged winter Crypto might have its time in the sun again.