Bitcoin’s many deaths: Is crypto market past ‘point of no return?’


Bitcoin and the broader crypto market have been gleefully declared dead more than a few times during bear markets, but some experts say it would take a genuinely extreme set of events for it to truly die.

According to 99Bitcoins — a website that, among other things, tracks how many times Bitcoin (BTC) has been declared dead by mainstream media outlets — the largest crypto by market cap has died 474 times since 2010.

Often, the proclamation is met with cheering by crypto skeptics as evidence that BTC is not a viable asset, but it might not be so simple to kill off crypto — at least according to some experts in the space.

Tomasz Wojewoda, head of business development at BNB Chain, is confident it would take more than a bear market or crypto winter to end BTC and the crypto market, even though it’s been a particularly harsh downswing since the all-time highs of 2021.

A bear market is when the value of crypto has fallen by at least 20% and continues to fall, while a crypto winter is a prolonged period of depressed asset prices in the market.

Wojewoda told Cointelegraph that, in his opinion, the only way BTC and the broader crypto market could die would be if something extreme happened, such as the underlying community losing interest and everyone exiting the space at once.

However, he doesn’t see this happening anytime soon. Regardless of fiascos like the FTX saga and other dramas in the space, Wojewoda believes there is always “going to be demand for crypto.”

“The crypto market, like any market in the economy, moves in waves and trends upward or downward depending on market sentiment,” he said. “The market has been through multiple bear markets, but historically, we have seen the market recover from similar trends.”

In 2011, 2013, 2017 and 2021, crypto saw huge spikes in value, only to come crashing back down to earth. So far, after each crash, the price has recovered years down the road. 

Overall, this bear market and crypto winter has been particularly savage. After reaching highs of over $69,000 in 2021, BTC lost more than 60% of its value in 2022, according to CoinGecko. As of 2023, it has recovered some, but BTC is still roughly 40% down since its all-time highs.

According to Wojewoda, challenging times like these “can actually be positive for the industry” and not a sign that crypto is dying, even though it may feel like it. Specifically, he thinks market crashes can help weed out bad actors.

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He also sees it as a time when “strong projects focus on building and improving the user experience.”

Regulation won’t kill crypto 

Banking regulators appear to be trying to kill or dismantle the crypto industry, brandishing an array of lawsuits and an intimidating flood of regulatory measures. There are fears this could spell doom for the industry.

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission, led by Chair Gary Gensler, has been particularly aggressive against crypto firms. According to Gensler, his agency has filed over 780 enforcement actions in 2023, including over 500 standalone cases.

Crypto and BTC have survived, though. Regulations have been slow to come and, in some cases, poorly created. Wojewoda thinks some form of regulation can ultimately be a good thing for the industry and will not be the reason it dies.

“Global regulations can impact the growth of crypto; however, with more countries embracing crypto worldwide, I don’t think this will be a reason for crypto to ‘die off,” he said.

“Regulation in the industry is a good thing. It keeps users safe, and a clear framework enables the industry to build around it.”

Some crypto will probably die, but the industry will survive

Wojewoda is convinced the crypto market will reach the other side of this crypto winter and beyond. He thinks it will likely survive as a concept, but not all projects and currencies will make it long-term.

According to Exploding Topics, there are over 10,500 different cryptocurrencies in existence as of November 2023. However, it’s estimated that only 8,848 are still active in the space, with the others dropping off or dying.

“Projects that didn’t have a real-life use case died off, but the ones that truly make an impact have not only survived but thrived,” Wojewoda said.

“There are many things that can impact the trajectory of crypto, such as sentiment, regulation and other factors — for example, the Bitcoin ETF filing and upcoming Bitcoin halving,” he added.

In the long run, along with weaker hands dropping off, Wojewoda believes it’s not “out of the realm of possibility” that some crypto will be replaced by new, better tech.

He doesn’t think BTC will be among the casualties because its network effect and user base give it a significant advantage over other cryptocurrencies.

“Bitcoin will likely remain as the most popular crypto in terms of market share. Where I think we will likely see more movement in the ranks is among cryptocurrencies that offer real-world applications,” Wojewoda said.

“These projects have applications beyond digital currencies, and the tech is continuously evolving, finding new use cases and applications for the real world.”

Related: Massive’ crypto use cases to surface by 2030

These applications are one of the reasons Wojewoda thinks the market will endure long term. While not all will make it, the broader crypto market and BTC will survive.

The market will bounce back, with BTC still standing

Markus Thielen, head of research and strategy for digital asset investment firm Matrixport, is also skeptical that a bear market or crypto winter poses a genuine threat to the crypto market and BTC.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, Thielen said that while many people exit the space during bear markets, it’s a normal part of the process, not a sign of crypto’s impending death.

“Many people have excited the crypto industry during the last year, as those firms have expanded near the top of the last bull market,” he said.

“Without sufficient revenues and additional capital injections from venture capital funds, those crypto firms have to right-size their companies.”

Right-sizing a company is the process of restructuring to make profits more efficiently and meet updated business objectives. Right-sizing usually involves reducing workforces, shifting around upper management and other cost-cutting measures.

“As long as there is value being sent around electronically, crypto has a value proposition that is difficult to match with the traditional banking rails,” Thielen added.

So far, there have been four bull markets — 2011, 2013, 2017 and 2021 — and record numbers of people have entered the space each time, only to disappear when the bears strike. A bull market is characterized by rising prices and investor optimism.

Related: ‘Strap yourselves in’ — Bull market coming early 2024, say crypto exchange heads

According to Thielen, each bull market is being built upon a new narrative, which will continue to be the case. He says there will likely be another narrative for a fifth bull market very soon.

“With regulators approving Bitcoin futures in 2017 and potentially a Bitcoin ETF in 2024, the regulatory level playing field is cemented,” Thielen said.

“I can not imagine Bitcoin ever disappearing, as the idea of Bitcoin plays into the hands of human fallacy.”

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