“If you are sitting on 20x, 50x, 100x your money on a crypto investment, it would not be a mistake to sell 10%, 20% or even 30% of your position.”
So said Fred Wilson, the “famed” billionaire Venture Capitalist and ethereum backer, on January 8th 2018, the day eth jumped from $1,100 to $1,300.
Shortly after price then crashed by about $200, but then recovered one more time to $1,400 to only fall and fall with the spring-summer mini-bull run this year looking like not even a bump for eth, unlike bitcoin where it was a pretty decent jump.
Plenty has gone wrong for this crypto. The atrocious communication by the Ethereum Foundation (EF), which apparently sold $100 million at the top, is just one of them.
The sudden ditching of an upgrade that was to go out within days is the worst, not least because that upgrade was what is now called the “finality gadget.” Meaning decentralized checkpoints of ethereum’s Proof of Work chain through a staking smart contract.
But perhaps even worse than that was the relentless selling by projects that had raised billions worth of eth through Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).
That’s eth’s version of merchants selling bitcoin in 2015. After much effort was put to persuade them to accept the crypto, merchants’ escape of volatility by insta-conversion to fiat made them themselves a source of volatility. So bitcoiners turned against them under the banner of hodl.
Ethereans too turned against ICOs, giving SEC cover to intervene without too much tact. But that was the slow headache. The initial panic probably began when Charlie Lee of Litecoin told all he had sold all his LTC right at the top of crypto prices in December 2017 when one litecoin was worth $400. Now worth $40.
That announcement was featured on CNBC with the Daily Show making a segment on carful gang followed by revelations Vitalik Buterin had himself sold $22 million worth of eth.
Riccardo Spagni of Monero piled on, hinting on December 20th 2017 he had sold his monero, with all this now that hindsight assists beginning to look a bit coordinated.
To further aid, Google, Facebook and the like announced no more crypto ads. Visa, Mastercard and the rest banned buying crypto with credit cards. SEC gave an almost daily dish of beating. This too now looking a bit coordinated.
Much had risen too fast, so at some point it was going to fall, but the almost perfect timing of the sell-off by all these crypto founders does suggest they may have been an immediate cause of the turn of sentiment and perhaps of the brutal speed with which crypto prices fell.
Buterin himself does still have plenty of eth, but he has also said he was relieved this crash happened. So perhaps there has to be some sort of regulation to prevent insider trading and the like and to force disclosure of plans to sell holdings by prominent stakeholders before they actually sell.
The problem with that is obviously grandpas might come up with nonsense regs, but Buterin never even announced he was to sell or that he sold, with it only known because the blockchain is transparent.
Even to today in a recent interview he mentioned EF sold, but failed to say he himself did so too, with it very much a question just what this financial comfort does to productivity and how it can potentially be addressed by the millennials long experience in the business and corporate world.
Because while there may have been plenty of reasons for this massive crash, the need to trust so much these unaccountable celebs is most probably one of them and if that is not addressed it is not too clear how this space can be ready for less techy or idealistic users.