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.

Bitcoin Trading at $600 Premium in India as Potential Ban Looms

Bitcoin (BTC) is currently trading at a roughly $600 premium in India, according to the market price available on the rupee-based exchange BitBns.com.

At the time of writing, bitcoin trades for just under 8 lakh rupees, or 800,000 INR, which is nearly $11,500 - significantly more than the going dollar price of $10,860.

This extreme price premium can be attributed to the difficulty of buying crypto in the country. As of last year, all regulated Indian banks and financial institutions have been banned from transacting in, and offering services related to crypto.

But the environment could soon become even more hostile.

CryptoGlobe reported in late April that a government working group made up of Indian tax, consumer protection, and general economic ministries had recommended a complete ban on even transacting or owning cryptoassets, much less integrating them into the mainstream, legal economy.

Bitcoin Demand Strong in India?

BitBns, one of the few operational rupee-denominated exchanges remaining, has apparently been able to skirt the increasingly draconian environment by allowing users to conduct their own P2P market, facilitated by the website, in order to buy and sell in Indian rupees. Other popular Indian exchanges, like Coindelta, have been forced to shut down.

The high premium may suggest a healthy demand in India for bitcoin and other cryptoassets, as Indians without international banking connections are forced to use the local currency to buy crypto. Data from crypto analytics website Coin.dance show that another popular crypto-fiat P2P platform, LocalBitcoins, has seen a sharp uptick in Indian trading volume since March-April.

indialocalbitcoins.png(source: Coin.dance)

CryptoGlobe reported last month that volumes were not affected by, and even increased in spite of, the threat of a crypto ban.

Indian Government Measures

One recent instance in particular shows just how far the Indian government seems to be going to control the Indian economy.

In late 2016, the national government suddenly and without warning even to its own ministries, declared that all 500- and 1,000-rupee banknotes currently in circulation were null and void - in an action that is known in India as “Demonetization.” These notes represented more than half of the physical money then in circulation in the country.

While the stated aims of the action were to root out corruption and “black money” from the economy, Demonetization has often been panned as a disastrous failure that cost 1% of the country’s GDP, a loss of 1.5 million jobs, and hurt the poor most of all.