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What Kind of Crypto Hater Are You?

Oct 24, 2018

Kim Iskyan

A lot of people hate cryptocurrencies... the very idea of them. And they hate them with a passion that's almost palpable.

I've talked a lot about not letting your emotions get in the way when it comes to investing. Most of the time, that warning resonates the most when it comes to buying and selling assets.

But it's also the case when you're considering investing in an asset class in the first place. I may not invest much in (for example) bonds... and someone else may just not "get" real estate as an investment. But the moment that emotion ("Real estate is falling? Hah! I knew it! It's such a pointless asset class. All those ridiculous real estate bulls are suffering now!" - said no one, ever, during a real estate market correction) clouds your ability to even consider investment in an asset class - well, that's a problem, and a potentially extremely expensive one.

And it's a problem that's plaguing a lot of (potential) cryptocurrency investors right now. And it's preventing them from considering what I believe could be a true watershed...

The internet in 1994

I think that cryptocurrencies are at the stage of the internet in 1994. Some people believed it was something explosively powerful... and others thought it was a waste of space... and most people didn't think too much about it. Soon thereafter, anything internet related went through a period of massive speculation (see: Pets.com... and the 1999-2000 internet bubble), followed by a massive bust.

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And now, nearly two decades later, the internet is an essential fabric that weaves together society and civilisation. It's found its way into nearly every realm of life and many of us even have more than one internet device that we use for hours a day. For the most part, it's made the world a more efficient, smarter, richer place. It wasn't quick or easy, and vast fortunes were gained and lost along the way. But anyone who doubted the appeal of the internet in 1994... well, they were wrong.

Where the internet has come today is how I think the evolution of blockchain will unfold over the next 20 years (or less... since - thanks in no small part to the internet - everything moves so much faster today). Maybe bitcoin will be a relic of an era, like AOL's modem buzz and greeting. Or maybe it will be Amazon, a victor that's redefining entire industries. But in any case, the applications of blockchain will re-script entire sectors, and upend our assumptions about technology and its application in everything from medical care to logistics.

Reasons for hating

That's what I think. But many people clearly think otherwise.

So I've tried to understand the reasoning behind their thinking... I've come up with six reasons why some people hate cryptocurrencies:

  1. Some haters have come to a reasonable understanding of it, and they don't believe in it. After doing their own research into the space (and not just listening to naysayers or the mainstream media), they've decided that they simply don't think bitcoin is going to change the world. This is fair enough. I can debate with someone over the merits of a technology, but it's difficult to argue with someone if, well, we just see things differently.
  2. Some hate cryptos because they're difficult to understand. Cryptos and the blockchain are an entirely new technology. And many people still don't understand it. So they just ignore it or, more likely, cast doubt on it. It's easier to reject something you don't understand, than it is to try to understand it. Considering that cryptos and blockchain have a vocabulary of their own, I can see how people could feel left out. Just a few years ago, almost no one talked about public keys, algorithms, hashing or ether.
  3. Some haters are desperate to be "on the record" as saying it's all a giant bubble. So when (if) the bubble bursts, they can say, see? I told you so! This is a favourite move of analysts and media hogs of all stripes and nationalities - especially in the day of social media giving everyone a chance to publish their own opinions. If you say and write enough in the public domain, you'll eventually be right about something. And you can conveniently ignore all the stuff you were wrong about...
  4. FOMO - that is, some haters have "fear of missing out". They hear about cryptocurrency millionaires who lucked into fantastic wealth. They kick themselves for not having bought just a takeout pizza-worth of bitcoin a few years ago. And now that they think the easy money has been made (which I don't believe is the case), they want it to not work out. They want to be proven right for not having bought in earlier. They don't want to have missed out - so they want it all to collapse in a hot mess so that they will have been proven to be "right" for not getting involved in the first place.
  5. Some haters are married to their view. A trait of great investors is knowing when you're wrong and changing course. These haters are the opposite of that. They never change course. Numerous investors with fantastic track records completely missed out on career-making returns because they had already decided against crypto... they let their emotions get involved. We talk about it here, but really, once you've published your views that crypto is a scam or rat poison, it's a bit of a trick to back down.
  6. Some haters enjoy the troubles of others. When the cryptocurrency market inevitably corrects, they can indulge in schadenfreude, or the "enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others". It's an ugly and unpleasant mutant of "I told you so".

Of these, only #1 makes sense. (But don't get me wrong. I'm not saying they're right. Blockchain is making its way into our daily lives whether you like it or not.)

If you find yourself nodding in agreement to #2-6 (or a number 7, 8 or 9 that I'm overlooking), you owe it to yourself to at least try to achieve #1 - or be convinced otherwise along the way.

Good investing,

Kim Iskyan
Kim Iskyan, Truewealth Publishing
Vivek Kaul Publishing,

PS: Now you can follow Vivek Kaul on Social Media and get Vivek's updates on the critical issues affecting the economy and your wallet... as they happen. Follow Vivek on FacebookTwitter, and Google+.

Please note: This article was first published in Stansberry Churchouse on 23rd October 2018.

Kim Iskyan is the founder of Singapore-based Truewealth Publishing. He has spent most of the past 25 years exploring and analyzing global markets. He has been a stock analyst and research director for a big emerging market investment bank, managed a hedge fund, and sold mutual funds to private bankers. He has advised Fortune 50 companies on political risk and helped build stock exchanges from scratch in countries that few people could find on a map. He has lived and worked in ten countries, from Spain to Russia to Sri Lanka to the United States.

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