Last week, reflecting a declining faith in central governance and increased uncertainty with centralised control, the cumulative worth of the crypto market by market-cap exploded to over $1 trillion (€820 billion) for the first time in its history.
Booming crypto prices have often accompanied social and political strife. A decentralised currency that acts with theoretical independence from conventional currencies, it allows users more anonymity regarding how they spend their money.
As political violence erupted in US and censorship fears whipped up by the suspension of Donald Trump’s Twitter run a rife, cryptocurrencies become a more and more appealing prospect for speculators and aspiring-libertarians alike.
For supporters of cryptocurrencies, their currency of choice is like a “new gold”. As reported by the Financial Times, many see Bitcoin especially as a relatively safe way to invest their money in advance of likely tumultuous market conditions as we begin to see the long-term economic impact of COVID and the measures used to keep economies afloat during the crisis. For these investors, Bitcoin is a safe-haven for funds otherwise threatened by currency inflation and banking inefficiencies.
In Malta, Jonathan Galea, CEO of BCA Solutions which covers the regulatory and technical aspects of blockchain and digital assets, described the boom as “a slamming vote of confidence in a new financial system, one governed by mathematics and code, rather than hazy policies and procedures”.
For others, concerned about the privacy implications of a reliance on digital transfers of conventional currency, in a time of political strife, cryptos allow relative anonymity in their usage.
Cryptos also appeal to retail speculators. As pointed out by Finsmes.com, the enormous price fluctuations and 24-hour trading availability makes cryptocurrency an extremely appealing investment. Millennials especially have embraced cryptocurrencies as an exciting investment opportunity for both short and long term gains.
Cryptos are volatile, however. Whilst the combined market-cap of crypto-currencies hit one trillion dollars over the weekend, its price on Monday fell nearly $30 (€24.68) billion, as Bitcoin experienced its largest two-day slide since the pandemic roiled financial markets.
Despite the drop on Monday, cryptocurrency values remain generally high. For example, Bitcoin’s value has increased around eight times since its March year-low as financial markets were roiled by COVID.
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Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri notes that education and awareness are the best tools to combat such threats