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Investment debate: Crypto bull vs crypto bear

By Angela Barnes

Edited by Alexandra Pankratyeva

19:51, 12 January 2022

Businessman with glowing dollar and bit coins in hands on abstract circuit background. E-business and choice concept
Investment debate: Crypto bull vs crypto bear – Photo: Shutterstock

The famous bronze bull sculpture on Wall Street is widely known to represent a rising market and the financial district – itself a historical hub for traditional investments such as putting money into stocks on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). However, some argue the bull and all it represents is now more closely aligned with the cryptocurrency market, regarding its growth rates. 

According to Allied Market Research, the global cryptocurrency market size is projected to reach $4.94bn (£3.61bn, €4.33bn) by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 12.8% from 2021–2030.

However, not all analysts share bullish views on the cryptocurrency market prospect, arguing that its high volatility may lead to a possibility of it turning bearish in a blink of an eye. 

Do you consider cryptocurrencies as an investment, or do you prefer traditional assets such as bonds, cash, real estate and equity shares? Could investing in cryptocurrency get wider adoption and bigger share in investors portfolios? asked several financial analysts for their opinions.

Cryptocurrencies vs traditional investments

Risks and advantages of investing in cryptocurrencies vs traditional assets

Alex Benfield, a crypto analyst at Weiss Ratings, shared his thoughts with on whether crypto is a better investment than traditional assets such as bonds and equity shares – and what the advantages are in opting for cryptocurrencies.

He said: “This will depend on the investor, as crypto is still considered a riskier investment than bonds, equities or real estate. I would argue that holding cryptocurrencies is less risky than holding cash during the current inflationary environment.

“Personally, I think crypto offers a far better risk/reward profile for younger investors like myself, and I do think that crypto should be a part of every investor's portfolio. Even the most risk-averse investor should hold a minimum of 5%–10% of their portfolio in blue-chip cryptocurrencies. For younger investors, that number should be much higher.”

Matt Johnson, crypto analyst, CEO and president of Primary Vision, also replied to the question:

“The recent crypto dip has some of us analysts confused. With real estate prices the highest they’ve ever been and the equity markets very much needing a scalping, most of us thought Q4 2021 would reap rewards a plenty for crypto investors. While we don’t think we’re in a bear market quite yet, the term ‘crypto winter’ is in play. 
“Look at how the institutions reacted the Friday after Thanksgiving in reaction to Omicron… The risk off to bonds, while maybe algorithmic, was a system-wide play. This still seems the best place to take risk off the table when uncertainty increases.” 

Johnson also pointed out to that one of the major risks associated with investing in crypto over more traditional options is its volatility.

— Matt Johnson, crypto analyst, CEO and president of Primary Vision

Osama Rizvi, Johnson’s colleague and energy market analyst at Primary Vision, was of the same sentiment when it came to crypto’s volatility, however he was firmly of the view that traditional investments are still safer options for investors.

Rizvi told “Crypto has failed as an investment, and I absolutely agree with Nassim Nicholas Taleb, as he said the same in a recently released paper. He [Taleb] says it requires a continuous amount of interest in it to maintain its value. Whereas gold and other investments don't require such a thing.”

Added Rizvi: “Also, the crypto markets are highly and frustratingly volatile! That instantly beats the purpose of investment – that is to seek a safe haven.

“The risks regarding its theft are also one of the biggest drawbacks when comparing bitcoin to traditional investment tools.”

— Osama Rizvi, energy market analyst at Primary Vision


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Reasons to believe in a bullish or bearish crypto market in 2022 and beyond

Weiss Ratings’ Benfield gave his thoughts on why crypto should not be written off despite the risks. He highlighted that “the biggest reason to be bearish would be the hawkish (projected) action of the Fed”. 

“If they do in fact hike rates and tighten the QE [guantitative easing], it is simply not good for risk assets like cryptocurrencies, at least in the short term. However, Bitcoin was created because of the bad monetary policies that collapsed the economy in 2008/2009. Eventually, we would expect investors to turn towards bitcoin in times like this as opposed to selling it as a risk asset. Bitcoin will become the safe-haven asset it was created to be, at least someday.”

— Alex Benfield, crypto analyst, Weiss Ratings

Johnson said Primary Vision looks at a lot of different indicators to understand market balance:

“Right now there’s a lot of uncertainty. Looking at market sentiment through the Fear and Greed index we see that there’s a lot of fear as the number right now is 18 [The index has values from 0-100, with 100 being extreme greed and 0 being extreme fear]. We’re on the fence to adding to our portfolio waiting for a bit more momentum or further retraction. We’re armed and ready though and do believe this is just another chapter in the crypto story.”

What crypto trend is sustainable in the long run: DeFi, NFTs or the metaverse?

When it comes to the crypto trends of this year, Benfield said he believes decentralised finance (DeFi), non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and the metaverse will all be sustainable sectors of the crypto industry: “DeFi is truly revolutionary and offers significant advantages to legacy banking. Regulation will come eventually, but DeFi will adapt and become the rails of the future financial system.” 

“As revolutionary as DeFi and better crypto payments are, NFTs just might be the trojan horse that brings cryptocurrency tech to the masses. I believe NFTs will grow and become an important part of companies’ digital branding, and there is a lot of overlap between the future of NFTs and the metaverse. Just look at the Pepsi x BAYC collaboration – we will see a lot more of that in the future,” he added.

However, Matt Johnson at Primary Vision said the wider adoption of NFTs is up in the air: “If I’m an airline, rental car company or a concert ticket company, why would I want my customer base to be publicly available in the blockchain? The gas fees alone don’t make sense for a $20 or even $100 product, yet.

“The metaverse is really just an idea at this point, and while we think it’s a great idea that will bring a whole new level to the economy, we’re still observers.     

“DeFi is the one we’re following closely. As people realise high single-digit yields are available with stablecoins, they’ll slowly but surely move a portion of their long-term holdings into these types of financial instruments. It’s really a no-brainer. However, regulation could change this as quickly as a port bill did to the online poker business about 15 years ago. Either way, DeFi is here to stay and will be a force to reckon with.”

What crypto trends could play out in 2022?

“The crypto market certainly moves in cycles and larger trends, and the smart-contract protocol trend of Q4 2021 hasn’t finished playing out just yet. So I expect layer-1 alternatives and Ethereum sidechains [a separate blockchain which runs in parallel to Ethereum Mainnet and operates independently] and L2s [layer-2 networks] to continue to perform well into the first half of 2022,” Benfield said. 

Additionally, Benfield highlighted that he thought DeFi projects have been severely discounted over the last six months, and they should once again jump back into the forefront.

“Lastly, I think we will see a continued focus on metaverse-related projects – including digital real estate, NFTS and play-to-earn gaming.”

Meanwhile, Johnson at Primary Vision said his firm was looking for more answers from regulators on how they’ll handle the cryptocurrencies.

He said: “Will they go after companies, decentralised finance or stablecoins – or the overall crypto space? There’s a lot at stake here, and the bitcoin-haters are coming out in full force, hoping to win out their theories that this is just another Ponzi scheme. Other analysts just shrug off the volatility as if it’s nothing.”  

“With and FTX spending tens of millions of dollars pushing their agendas to the mainstream we believe a natural progression to a new breed of investors (boomers, wider institutional adoption, etc.) is right around the corner,” he concluded.

It’s important to keep in mind that trading is risky and cryptocurrency markets remain extremely volatile, making it difficult to predict market trends accurately – and even harder to give long-term estimates. As such, analysts can get their predictions wrong.

We recommend that you always do your own research, and consider the latest market news, technical and fundamental analysis, and expert opinion before making any investment decision – whether it’s a crypto or a traditional asset you are contemplating investing in. Keep in mind that past performance is no guarantee of future returns, and never invest more than you can afford to lose.

Markets in this article

Bitcoin / USD
67440.65 USD
492.05 +0.730%
Ethereum / USD
3527.04 USD
19.97 +0.570%
2401.36 USD
-44.85 -1.830%

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The difference between trading assets and CFDs
The main difference between CFD trading and trading assets, such as commodities and stocks, is that you don’t own the underlying asset when you trade on a CFD.
You can still benefit if the market moves in your favour, or make a loss if it moves against you. However, with traditional trading you enter a contract to exchange the legal ownership of the individual shares or the commodities for money, and you own this until you sell it again.
CFDs are leveraged products, which means that you only need to deposit a percentage of the full value of the CFD trade in order to open a position. But with traditional trading, you buy the assets for the full amount. In the UK, there is no stamp duty on CFD trading, but there is when you buy stocks, for example.
CFDs attract overnight costs to hold the trades (unless you use 1-1 leverage), which makes them more suited to short-term trading opportunities. Stocks and commodities are more normally bought and held for longer. You might also pay a broker commission or fees when buying and selling assets direct and you’d need somewhere to store them safely.
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