Crypto Bear Cases Every Bull Should Consider This Year

Crypto bulls may be celebrating recent rallies, but there’s still reason to be cautious for the rest of the year


Things/Shutterstock, modified by Blockworks


Crypto markets are looking healthy of late. But investors must weigh a number of downside risks on the horizon this year.

Mt. Gox creditors will soon be paid crypto they’ve been owed for nearly 10 years. Hackers stole 750,000 BTC belonging to the exchange’s users in 2014, worth about $500 million then and $20.5 billion today.

About 142,000 BTC ($4.3 billion) and 143,000 bitcoin cash ($16.8 million) is set to be distributed to those users in October. Creditor selling could result in a significant sell-off and price drop, Youwei Yang, chief economist at Bit Mining, told Blockworks.

“It’s always the debate of how big of an impact this will have for the market, my take is it may not be disastrous, but it could be significant along with other potential risks,” Yang said.

Bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) are currently up 80% and 60% year to date.

Creditors however anticipate repayments might be slow, according to several discussions laid out in an Mt. Gox Telegram channel.

Other risks include the US government’s plan to dump another 41,500 BTC ($1.26 billion) seized from Silk Road’s hacker. High-interest rates have also made it difficult for some players to borrow and expand.

Major market participants could even suffer lingering effects from bankruptcies following the Terra debacle almost one year ago.

“Even though most have revealed and recovered, the domino effect has not ended I’m afraid, until the rate cut,” Yang said, referring to the US Federal Reserve’s intentions to end further hikes.

There are also the regulatory risks presented by the aggressive campaign of major US regulators, including the CFTC, SEC and FinCEN. 

Still, blue-chip cryptocurrencies have shown resiliency

“We’re now witnessing the proof that indeed, when the Fed stops manipulating markets with infinite money supply, bitcoin stands alone, Mike Belshe, CEO of BitGo, told Blockworks. “Institutional adoption is about to kick into high gear, despite regulatory headwinds.”

Declining energy prices may also leave the door open for bitcoin miners eager to sell their BTC at a profit, with average production costs for most miners now under $20,000, according to Bit Mining’s Yang.

Long-term effects of Ethereum withdrawals

There is some concern Ethereum’s Shapella upgrade, which went live on Wednesday evening, could be bearish considering it finally allowed ETH stakers to withdraw their crypto from the blockchain.

Analysts generally agree that the longer-term prospects of enabling withdrawals is a net positive, Blockworks previously reported.

“Shanghai represents a massive de-risking event,” Lachlan Feeney, founder and CEO of  Australian blockchain consultancy firm Labrys, told Blockworks.

About 15% of Ethereum’s supply is currently staked in the Beacon Chain, equal to 18 million ETH ($35.2 billion). The earliest stakers deposited their crypto back in November 2020, when ETH was worth around $700. It’s now trading for $1,935 — an almost 180% jump.

Technical concerns over the fork to activate withdrawals have now been abated. 

While some may choose to unstake and sell their ETH, their ability to withdraw results in less risk overall, Feeney suggested. It may also lead to more ether staked in the medium-to-long term. 

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