Cryptocurrency is a market for the iron-stomached, if the asset’s most recent slide is anything to go by.
With news of Google banning cryptocurrency-related ads and the International Monetary Fund advising increased regulation on the asset, the price of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple continued their slide Thursday, wiping out about $499.2 billion of the market value of over 1,500 cryptocurrencies since their collective all-time high in early January.
For comparison, that loss is roughly equal to the value of Berkshire Hathaway, the $510 billion firm built by investing titan and Bitcoin skeptic, Warren Buffett.
Those losses for cryptocurrencies are notably not since Bitcoin’s peak in December, when it reached $20,000 on some exchanges. Rather, that’s nearly $500 billion lost based on when those 1,565 cryptocurrencies tracked by CoinMarketCap collectively reached their all-time high in valuation.
For the most part however, the smaller, so-called alt-currencies have largely followed the up-and-downs of Bitcoin—a trend that the most recent sell-off has maintained.
And as far as one Bitcoin bull is concerned, the slide may have further to go before its comeback.
“When sentiment is this weak, the market is increasingly ‘fire, ready, aim’—meaning, any headline today is likely to trigger selling,” wrote Thomas Lee, Fundstrat Global Advisors managing partner, in a note early Thursday. That comes as the price of Bitcoin reaches about $8,000, down 7% in the last 24 hours. Similary, the price of Ethereum dropped 9% below $600, while Ripple fell to 68 cents, falling about 8% during the same period.
How much further might Bitcoin’s value fall, according to Fundstrat? Based on back of the envelope calculations and estimates from Fundstrat, Bitcoin valuation could shed another $37 billion in the near future, falling to about $99 billion in market capitalization.
That’s based on technical analysis (an investing strategy with both its pros and cons) from Fundstrat technical strategist Robert Sluymer, who wrote in that same note: “Our expectation is Bitcoin will begin to show evidence of bottoming short-term closer to $5,873.”
After which, presumably, investors would once again buy in, allowing the cryptocurrency to bounce.
But not all are so bullish about the asset. As it stands now, Bitcoin is not backed by any asset or institution. It still lacks widespread acceptance as a currency, and appears to trade largely on sentiment. As Allianz Global Investors wrote in a recent blog post—Bitcoin is risky. That’s not to say investors can’t gain from it in the short term. Speculation and hype may continue to lift the price of the asset. But trying to time that market, one Allianz thinks as a bubble waiting to pop, is no easy task.
“In our view, its intrinsic value must be zero: a Bitcoin is a claim on nobody—in contrast to, for instance, sovereign bonds, equities, or paper money—and it does not generate any income stream,” Stefan Hofrichter, head of global economics and strategy, wrote in the note. “So is this the end of the hype about Bitcoin as the future of global currencies? Probably not yet, since speculation in Bitcoin and similar instruments appears set to continue for some time.”