Bitcoin: The Cryptocurrency That Refuses to Die... 330 ‘Deaths’ and Counting

Francisco Memoria

Bitcoin, the flagship cryptocurrency, has been “killed” over 90 times by mainstream media outlets so far this year, and over 330 times throughout its short existence.  While this year bitcoin turned 10 and saw its price plummet, last year it was declared ‘dead’ more times.

According to the ‘Bitcoin Obituaries’ page on 99Bitcoins, the cryptocurrency has been dying since 2010. Since then, mainstream media outlets have been focusing on bitcoin and declaring it dead for a number of reasons, ranging from its proof-of-work (PoW) algorithm to its distinct characteristic, including the semi-anonymity.

Although bitcoin has been ‘dying’ for eight years now, over 200 of its 3335 ‘deaths’ occurred in the last two years, as the cryptocurrency ecosystem gained more attention when BTC surged from little over $1,000 in January of 2017 to a near $20,000 in December. In 2017 alone, it ‘died 125 times.

Notably, bitcoin’s over 1,800% surge saw mainstream news outlets declare it ‘dead’ more times than this year’s over 80% decline. As CryptoGlobe has been covering, among those who criticize the flagship cryptocurrency and claim it’ll fail are various prominent financial industry personalities.

These include JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, who has bashed bitcoin on various occasions, and ended up concluding investors should “just beware” of BTC, and billionaire investor and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett.

Buffett has notably claimed buying bitcoin is “not investing,” and along with Berkshire’s vice chairman Charlie Munger compared it to “turds” and “dementia.” This year, we’ve also seen Nouriel Roubini, a prominent economist known as Dr. Doom, claim bitcoin is the “mother of all scams.” At the time, he said:

Until now, Bitcoin’s only real use has been to facilitate illegal activities such as drug transactions, tax evasion, avoidance of capital controls, or money laundering.

Roubini has since become a well-known cryptocurrency critic, who among other things has claimed blockchain technology is no more than a “glorified spreadsheet,” that bitcoin isn’t truly decentralized,  and that central bank digital currencies will destroy BTC and other “worthless cryptocurrencies.”

Bitcoin’s critics also include financial journalists and CEOs in other areas. Bitcoin’s latest ‘death’ came in the form of an Engadget article published by Daniel Cooper, that claim “Bitcoin was never more than a vehicle for tax evaders and grifters to burn carbon in the hope of scoring a hot new Lambo.” It also adds it represents “all of our worst excesses.”

Its first one, written in 2010 when it was trading at $0.23, was published by the Underground Economist. It read:

Negative feedback loops like this are basically homeostasis. In nature, positive feedback loops like exist with Bitcoin are lethal; the only thing that’s even kept Bitcoin alive this long is its novelty. Either it will remain a novelty forever or it will transition from novelty status to dead faster than you can blink.

Since then, bitcoin has kept on growing and is currently trading at $3,900 after rising 6.7% in the last 24-hour period.

Tether Accounted for Over 80% of Bitcoin’s Trading Volume as its Premium Dropped

Tether’s USDT stablecoin has seemingly kept on dominating the cryptocurrency trading scene, as Bitcoin to USDT volumes have increased their market share from 70% in February to 81.7% of all BTC trading volume in March.

According to CryptoCompare’s March 2019 Exchange Review, Tether’ USDT has kept on dominating the stablecoin scene as well. This, as data shows 98.7% of Bitcoin’s trading volume against four top stablecoins – USDT, USDC, PAX, and TUSD – was represented by BTC/USDT trading pairs.

While BTC/USD trading pairs dominate the crypto-to-fiat trading volume, even these were dwarfed by BTC/USDT trading. While the monthly trading volume against the US dollar was of about 1 million BTC (around $5.2 billion) in March, against USDT the volume came close to 9 million BTC (nearly $47 billion at press time)

Bitcoin trading volume into fiat or stablecoinsSource: CryptoCompare Exchange Review

The stablecoin’s dominance even over fiat currency trading pairs may be related to a market share increase seen by pure crypto-to-crypto exchanges. These, according to CryptoCompare’s report, saw their volumes increase by 70% since February, to $267 billion. In contrast, exchanges offering fiat pairs saw their volume drop 8% to $58 billion in March.

It’s believed crypto-to-crypto exchanges are faster to see increased activity during market upswings, as cryptoasset capital inflows are faster and easier than fiat currency deposits on more regulated cryptocurrency exchanges.

While available data shows users could be showing increased confidence in Tether’s USDT, things may not be as clear. While several pieces of evidence have suggested the firm does have a dollar in reserve for every USDT in circulation, the company has quietly diluted its USD reserve claims in March.

CryptoCompare’s report shows that, interestingly, bitcoin to USDT trading has mostly grown on exchanges using the controversial Trans-Fee Mining (TFM) revenue model, which has been criticized as being a “disguised ICO.”

FCoin, one of the first cryptocurrency exchanges to adopt the TFM model, has seen its BTC/USDT trading volumes surges last month. CoinBene, as covered, has been the number one cryptocurrency exchange using the model, and seemingly led bitcoin to USDT volumes in March.

USDT trading volumes per cryptocurrency exchangeSource: CryptoCompare Exchange Review

Perhaps related to the increased volume on TFM exchanges is the increase in USDT premiums. Per the report earlier in March the premium got to 3%, meaning it cost an extra 3% to buy one bitcoin with USDT than with USD.

While the premium has since dropped to less than 0.5%, the rise may be traders factoring in the risk of trading in a stablecoin that has diluted its USD reserve claims, and on exchanges that incentivized larger trading volumes through a controversial revenue model.