The recent Bitcoin halving caused a number of investors to return to old habits, with intense and rampant speculation beginning to circulate across social media, which prompted some to call for a $100,000 price prediction within the next two years.
And while this is most certainly a possibility, it is important to remain grounded and understand that the market is far different to how it was in 2017 when Bitcoin surged to its all-time high of $20,000.
Two years ago the entire cryptocurrency market was driven by two things, first of all the ICO boom that saw companies raise hundreds of millions on the back of poorly written whitepapers, and secondly the influx of hype-driven investors who believed they could get rich quick by following the trend.
ICO bubble has burst
In 2017 investors could throw a dart at a board of random ICO projects and make money, not because the companies were actually worth anything but because people wanted to find the ‘next Ethereum’ or ‘next Bitcoin’.
As a result of this, the bear market that followed was painful as the majority of projects that raised capital in ICOs lost more than 98% of value in the next year, with investors taking the brunt of the pain.
Early last year Coin Rivet interviewed the CEO of Pillar Project, David Siegel, whose company raised $20 million during the height of the ICO boom in 2017.
1/ It’s now obvious that ICOs were a massive bubble that's unlikely to ever see a recovery. The median ICO return in terms of USD is -87% and constantly dropping. Let's look at some data! pic.twitter.com/zmCXVPjup6
— Larry Cermak (@lawmaster) August 7, 2019
Siegel explained the complexities of operating a company during a bear market, which was made even more difficult by aggrieved investors pleading with make an announcement to drive price to the upside.
This was, of course, completely unsustainable and now more than two years later we are finally seeing companies that are based on thin air fall from significance.
How does this relate to Bitcoin?
One of the main reasons why Bitcoin rose so rapidly in 2017 was because investors made substantial profits on altcoins, and as the market was immature was limited trading pairs they would then sell their coin directly for Bitcoin, thus causing an increase in price.
The ICO boom also lured the ‘get rich quick’ type of investor into the market. These investors can be categorised as people who work regular nine to five jobs but have no idea how to trade, they just want to make some money on the side with limited time or resources.
With the vast majority of these investors actually making huge losses during the 2018 bear market, public trust and interest in cryptocurrencies is far lower than it was more than two years ago.
This can be seen clearly when looking at Google searches for Bitcoin, which intriguingly follows the price action of Bitcoin’s chart.
In 2017 there were millions, maybe even billions, of people searching for Bitcoin. Now we are at a point where the amount of searches for Bitcoin is 87% lower than what it was in December 2017.
And until there is another influx of investors that believe they can get rich quick, which will then lead to a hike in searches and interest, Bitcoin will struggle to break above its previous all-time high of $20,000, let alone $100,000.
There are models that negate this theory, the most renowned of which being the stock to flow model that factors in the recent halving and assumed lack of new supply, but it’s undeniable that in order to reach 2017 levels cryptocurrency needs a catalyst far greater than statistical analysis, it needs to reinvent its image on a wider public scale.
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Disclaimer: This is not financial advice.