When interest rates sit on the cusp of turning negative and billions of new dollars begin flowing into banks, the idea that you would flee an asset like Bitcoin or Ethereum is baffling. These two assets, which stand starkly against the ever-inflating and unverifiable money supply of fiat currencies, have once again been ignored by most. But not all.
Bitcoin has, for the past 10 years, secured and maintained an immutable monetary policy whose sole purpose is to protect its users from rampant money printing. Likewise Ethereum has given those same assurances, with the issuance rate of its currency, Ether, only ever decreasing over time.
Ethereum and Bitcoin – by all accounts – should be uncorrelated assets. They are entirely new economic systems that exist in a world beyond ours, interfacing only through decentralized software that – lest it need stating – is unimpeded by coronavirus.
Yet here we are. The price of ETH dropped from over $200 to under $90 on “Black Thursday”, a seminal moment in the history of cryptocurrencies that may be the first in a series of unprecedented drops. But while prices across the rest of the cryptocurrency market fell in a similar pattern, Ethereum’s drop was significantly more vicious – creating chaos for the platform’s most popular financial application, MakerDAO.
MakerDAO, which recently had as much as $750 million worth of ETH leveraged in its system, was thrown under a great deal of stress when a combination of network congestion and price volatility led to some surprising outcomes. The result was roughly $8 million lost in user funds and a major break from the $1.00 peg held by its stablecoin (DAI) – trading between $1.04 and $1.08 for most of the week.
For all the “complexity” of applications built atop Ethereum, it is hugely reassuring that under the most extreme economic climate of a generation, the network was left intact – a question that many had considered to be extremely important and ultimately unanswered until now.
Not only has Ethereum withstood its greatest test so far, it has also demonstrated the network’s antifragility – a property owing to the vast number of developers that, like an immune response, have been swift to identify and mitigate the symptoms of extreme price volatility should they reoccur.
Of course, for the time being, these assets are indeed correlated to the global economy. They are considered high risk and, when investors become jittery, they are the first to face the market.
At some point, however, when the billions of dollars, euros and pounds flooding into the market do little by way of “trickling down”, and investors come to terms with zero-to-negative interest rates for the decades ahead, it may – finally – become clear that these assets are vastly more valuable than today’s market may have you believe.
Nick, Owner EthereumPrice.org