Would you rather own 100% of Wal-Mart or every Bitcoin in existence? At one point such a question would have been completely absurd, but now things have changed. As I write this article, Wal-Mart has a market cap of 287.68 billion dollars. Wal-Mart is the king of the retail industry in America, and nobody else is even close. Bitcoin, on the other hand, is an entirely digital creation that did not even exist until 2009. No government or central bank in the entire world recognizes it as a legitimate currency, and there are very, very few retail establishments that are willing to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. And yet at this moment, Bitcoin has a market cap of 310 billion dollars.
When the year began, Bitcoin had just crossed the $1,000 threshold, and now it is selling for more than $18,000. Of course other cryptocurrencies have been rising at an even faster pace. We have never seen anything quite like this before, and some are warning that this is a giant bubble that is about to burst…
Axel Weber, the board chairman of big bank UBS, has warned of a possible Bitcoin currency crash. With increasing numbers of small investors jumping on the cryptocurrency bandwagon, it is time for regulators to intervene, he says.
Bitcoin has surged from $1,000 (CHF990) at the start of the year to above $16,000.
The risks are due to a design fault, which leads to huge currency swings in both directions, Weber said in an interview with the NZZ am Sonntagexternal link. "We as a bank have very consciously warned against this product, because we do not consider it valid and sustainable," said Weber.
Of course similar things could be said about the stock market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up more than 34 percent in 2017 even though underlying economic activity does not support such ridiculous valuations.
Ultimately, the reason why Bitcoin is so valuable today is because people believe in it.
Those that believed in Bitcoin from the very beginning were relentless in promoting it, and that tight-knit community provided the foundation for what we are witnessing today. The following comes from Wolf Richter…