“There is no bottom!” Some thoughts on my rather lucid experiences at two crypto price bottoms
Perhaps this post is coming a bit late and the bottom is already in, perhaps not, but regardless at some point there will be a bottom as the market continues on its inexorable ascendancy (to the moon etc)
Ruminating over the last few years in crypto I thought I would give some thoughts on my personal experiences on two significant crypto bottoms – the 2018 bear market bottom and the late 2019 bottom.
Missing from this is the March 2020 Covid bottom (I was up in the mountains on a work retreat with no internet – a saving grace I guess) and the dreadful 2014 bottom (I paper handed my crypto well before that point).
2018 – BTC falls to $3,100
The first thing I will say is this. What seems to be universally accepted as the bottom is often not, and when we actually bottom, the crowd all thinks we are going lower. And when I say "the crowd", I don't just mean retail buyers but all the professional traders, charters etc. There is even a Tone Vayes video out there where he says "the most likely scenario is a fall to $1,300".
One observation here is that every man and his dog and buys set laddering down. Most people (including myself) had buys at $2,800, $2,400, $1,800 and $1,300. Much like $28,000 now, $2,800 was seen as a foregone conclusion (I currently have buys set down to $18k by the way).
Another observation was that previously it had seemed almost accepted that $5,800 or so was the real bottom. Once that collapsed nearly 45% or so, suddenly everybody doubted themselves and assumed they were perpetually wrong.
And yes there was a lot of depression and even embarassment. Oh how the media crowed in delight at the downfall of bitcoin. "Bitcoin is the worst performing currency except the Venezuelan Bolivar!" proclaimed our local paper (note how it IS a currency when they want it to be). I literally dreaded going to Christmas because my family (who are obsessed with property) would all be asking me how my bitcoins were going (my Mum literally calls them "bit corns" which is kind of funny).
The other thought was how absolutely PAINFUL it was to buy crypto. Especially alt coins. And when you look at the prices (check CMC historical snapshot around Dec 15 2018) just look at those bargain basement prices – literally life changing money right there. And god forbid actually telling anyone you were still buying. And now think back and imagine people had four months to buy bitcoin in the 3ks, BNB below $10, ADA for a couple of cents etc.
And then at some point we entered a "boring phase" (a bit like now) when nobody seemed to really, every pump was assumed to be a fake out. Then suddenly, like a button was pushed (it was actually 5:15 pm, NZT on our April 2) the market jumped 22% in one hour – BTC went from $4,200 to $5,215 and that was the end of the bear market forever.
Personally I DO feel like our recent bottoms (around $30k with a wickdown) is reminiscent of that period – in fact, divide the price by ten, look at the charts, and its actually fairly similar price action.
So the lesson here is that the bottom is never seen as the bottom which I find interesting because on twitter there literally calls for 12k or even 3k!
2019 – Bitcoin falls to $6,500
So in 2019 the bear market finally ended and something incredible happened. Bitcoin went from $4k to $14k or so in just a couple of months. We all thought we were entering a hyper bull run, Facebook announced project libra and we were going straight to the moon. What we didn't know was that a Chinese scam called Plus Token was causing millions of people to fomo into buying up BTC, and that they would exit scam at the top and start dumping their tokens for six months (I really hope those two African guys that ran off with 3.6 billon of BTC don't do the same thing!)
And then we dumped, and dumped, and keep perpetually dumping all the way down to 7k. Yes, another 50% fall! They do happen without a new bear market starting. My boss would say to me "How is bitcoin going? Oh its down that much? So that's a 50% drop isn't it? Good then back to work and don't waste your time on that crypto thing" (forgetting that I have dozens of crypto clients etc)
We then had our rally relief when President Xi literally mentioned the word blockchain and it sent bitcoin up 42% in around 7 hours (I remember the top at $10,300 vividly as I had promised my wife I would attend an art exhibition on Danish furniture so instead of selling the top and taking profit I was looking at strange colored chairs).
And then…. we dumped and dumped some more! So aside from the "xi pump" we had six months of perpetual dumping and then once $7k was lost the slide accelerated. Again, I vividly remember the exact bottom. I had crashed my car so had to take a taxi back home. I was browsing telegram at around the $6,500 bottom at the end of 2019, and one of my trader friends (who is fairly experienced and a bit of a whale) exclaimed "THERE IS NO BOTTOM". And sure enough, that was the exact bottom.
The moment that psychologically you feel you MUST SELL RIGHT NOW. Just like at $65k, $20k, $1.3k and all other generational tops you feel like taking out a giant mortgage or selling the house to go all in (I sold my entire share portfolio to buy a Raydium / Solona farm when BTC was $52k so I can relate).
So this bottom was quite different to 2018 as there was just six months of dumping instead of a single massive collapse in price (again, blame plus token here). But like now, we again had a "boring" period where we were stuck around $7k, people stopped checking the prices and started enjoying Christmas etc and all the mania and excitement was gone.
So maybe one day I'll write this again and add 2021 to the list. Maybe I'll add 2023 or something as well. But there either has been a bottom or there will be at some point. Stick around and consider it another medal to add to your collection, or a story for the grandkids! While in late 2018 you felt ashamed to even mention bitcoin, now I like to talk about the great bear market like I'm some old war vet talking about my experiences of Operation Market Garden and the battle for Arnhem Bridge.
EDIT: Perhaps I should add one more thing that may be useful with regard to the current market. For all of the bottoms (including the Covid Crash) I feel there are three distinct emotional states:
1) Utter panic, mayhem, can't stop looking at the price – "should I sell?" etc etc. I had coffee with a OG the other day. He lost around USD $20M (needless to say his fingernails were somewhat chewn off). He still has a huge chunk so he is okay.
2) Sadness and depression "I really could have used that money…. well that was dumb…. I guess I have to work in my slave job another 5 years or so)
3) Boredom. "Ah crypto sucks, I'll just forget about it and start buying stocks. I'll leave my btc and see what happens".
I feel like maybe we are starting to get to the third phase. Certainly I'm checking the prices a lot less and volumes are a bit down.