• ETF Insights

    A parable for crypto times

    Martijn Rozemuller, CEO – Europe

    Remember the dot-com era of the early 2000s? The Web’s potential inflated an extraordinary investment bubble that eventually burst in 2001. Some companies, like WebVan, imploded. Others hung on. A few, like Amazon, grew and rewarded their shareholders relatively richly.

    Investors who had diversified exposure to the top companies during the dot-com bubble captured the upside of the internet’s disruption of existing industries. Twenty years later, their gains on Amazon should have far outstripped losses on WebVan.

    Who could predict the future winners in the dot-com bubble?

    NASDAQ Composite 22 Years After the dot-com bubble

    Nasdaq Composite

    Past performance is not a reliable indicator for future performance
    Source: Bloomberg, 14/04/2022

    This parable from the dot-come era is instructive when thinking about what’s happening in the cryptocurrency market today. Undoubtedly, there’s a lot of hype and speculation. Yet behind that lies the disruptive blockchain distributed-ledger technology poised to power the rise of modern finance.

    Most people associate cryptocurrencies with bitcoin. Yet it is one of many cryptocurrencies gaining acceptance among ‘digital natives’ looking for a modern store of value that’s scarce, secure, durable, portable and censorship resistant.

    Blockchain is also the technology behind decentralized finance, which is leading to a new stack of financial services across lending, derivatives, insurance and trading. It’s also being used to replace current payment infrastructures, as well as underpinning the currencies used as a medium of exchange for Web 3.0.

    As trillions of dollars of asset value are digitalized, so the cryptocurrencies behind this could become in greater demand. With limited supply, they could rise in value.

    Yet just like the dot-com saga, it’s likely that while a few cryptocurrencies will shine, others might disappear. Already, there’s a shift taking place as bitcoin loses market share to newer cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum and Solana. While bitcoin remains the largest digital asset by far, who’s to say that Solana’s speed won’t make it the platform of choice for financial services tomorrow?

    Bitcoin is losing ground as the dominating digital asset

    Crypto Weighting

    Source: Coinmetrics, 14/04/2022

    Casting back to the dot-com bubble, the lesson is that a diversified portfolio of stocks selected by a professional investor that understood the underlying technology and business cases would have been the best way to invest in the disruptive potential of the technology. Much the same what we believe is true of crypto today.

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