Bitcoin is known for its volatilty. Bitcoin’s history shows a cycle of major bull and bear market trends playing out every few years. For every bull gushing that Bitcoin is taking over the world while price is rising, there’s a bear proclaiming it dead dead as price is falling. Big drops are naturally worrisome to people who buy Bitcoin, as they signal a decrease in the value of their investment. Bear markets also bring all the naysayers out of the woodwork: the people who denounce Bitcoin as a burst bubble, a failed experiment, an ecological catastrophe, and so on.
So far, Bitcoin has survived for over a decade. And while the Bitcoin price has been volatile at times, it has also, remarkably, shown a general upward trend despite its occasional extreme highs and lows. In other words, Bitcoin always come back from the “dead.” So in honor of this latest mini-drop, here’s to proving the naysayers wrong, with five times the Bitcoin died, and was resurrected
6 Bitcoin Obituaries that were Dead Wrong
Famous billionaire Warren Buffett has famously spoken out against Bitcoin more than once. In 2014, he called the cryptocurrency a mirage, while in 2017 (right before the Bitcoin price dramatically spiked), he called it a bubble. While it’s definitely hard not to heed the warnings of the third-richest person on earth, Bitcoin continues to prove him wrong. Of course if Satoshi Nakamoto really does exist, and really is sitting on 1 million BTC, he’d have 20 billion USD of his own, putting him in a league that’s similar to Buffett’s.
Wired magazine has railed against Bitcoin a surprising number of times over the years, pretty much always calling it over. In a year-end roundup in December of 2012, when Bitcoin was trading for about 13 USD, they declared Venmo the future of payments, saying that Bitcoin’s peak had passed.
Less than a year later, when the Bitcoin price spiked to 105 USD, New York Magazine also took a shot at the currency in an article titled, “Bitcoin Sees the Grim Reaper.” Journalist Kevin Roose’s first sentence is “Bitcoin’s path to the grave has always been fairly clear to me.” His article ends, “It probably won’t be long before even some Bitcoin diehards consider packing it in.” Four years later, at the height of Bitcoin mania in December 2017, Roose published a second article, this time in the New York Times, stating that he was wrong. Unfortunately for Roose, he unloaded the Bitcoin he’d bought in 2013 long before he realized his error.
In January of 2016, former Bitcoin developer, Mike Hearn, quit Bitcoin after his vision for project development failed to gain consensus. Mike explained his reasons in an infamous blog post, in which he declared Bitcoin to be a failed experiment. Bitcoin’s price at the time was in the $400s, and the 100x price increase since then would strongly contradict Hearn’s assessment. The developer of BitTorrent, Bram Cohen, an enthusiastic Bitcoin supporter, characterized Hearn’s departure as a “whiny ragequit.”
- At the very peak of the 2017 Bitcoin craze, Paul Krugman, the economist and New York Times columnist echoed Warren Buffett in an interview, saying that Bitcoin was a bubble. He reiterated that opinion a month later in a column, comparing cryptocurrency to the tulip mania of 1635. True, shortly after that Bitcoin began its dramatic decline from its steep heights, dropping from 20,000 USD to 3,000 USD within the span of a year. But only a few months after it bottomed back out, the Bitcoin price was back up to 10,000 USD. It may be that Bitcoin became overhyped too fast in 2017, but steady prices across the summer of 2019 show that Bitcoin is far from dead. Many Bitcoiners have noted that the frequent “bubble” criticism doesn’t hold water, as no previous financial bubbles have not only survived but reinflated after bursting, many times over.
Finally, in April 2019, just as BTC crossed the 5,000 USD mark for the first time in a year, Gizmodo writer Matt Novak rolled his eyes at the cryptocurrency, declaring that no one learned their lesson after the first crash. While he ends his piece with a sarcastic shrug claiming that this time will be totally different, we can’t help but look his sarcasm right in the eye. After all, five months later, the BTC price was still twice what it was when he wrote that post.
The Bitcoin obituary has been a favorite past time of economists and spoilsports for almost a decade now, with no signs of stopping, and the six obits above are just a small sampling of the many, many times people have declared the cryptocurrency to be on its last legs. As the price remains relatively steady—and high—it will be interesting to see if any others retract their words and admit that they were wrong…
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One famous critic to walk back at least some of his negativity on Bitcoin is the famous economist, Nouriel Roubini. After calling Bitcoin a bubble, a ponzi, manipulated and worthless, Noriel finally admitted that Bitcoin may be useful as a store of value. Meanwhile, another noted economist and commentator, Peter Schiff, remains one of Bitcoin’s most outspoken critics, often comparing it unfavourably to gold.