After Crypto’s Cold Winter, Expect Springtime for Web 3.0

First the economy overheats, then winter comes to Wall Street. January was especially horrible for the cutting-edge investor, and February might be even worse. At the end of last month, big tech stocks were down nearly 8%, according to the New York Stock Exchange’s FANG+ index — and that was before shares of Meta Platforms Inc. (the company formerly known as Facebook) fell off a cliff last week.

The crypto winter has been even colder. Since the start of the year, Bitcoin (BTC or XBT if you prefer the official ticker) has fallen by 12.5%; despite a rally on Friday, it is still down 40% from its all-time high of $67,734 in November 2021. If you bought Ethereum at the top ($4,799 on Nov. 9), you are down 38.5%. Only meme stocks such as GameStop Corp. (down 31% since the year began) and Robinhood Markets Inc. (down 78% over six months) have been hit as hard. Oh, and let’s not forget Facebook — down 34% over six months.

By contrast, it’s been a rip-roaring start to the year for retro investors. Oil (Brent Crude) was up in January (+19%) more than Bitcoin was down. Long coal was one of the trades of 2021: If you bought America’s biggest coal company, Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU), a year ago, you’re up 252%. So much for COP26 and the Green New Deal. The winning trade of the post-pandemic era would seem to be long the past, short the future.

You can tell it’s a bear market for crypto because the usual suspects have been tweeting about it. (They’re always mum on the way up.) It doesn’t get better than Nouriel Roubini tweeting a Business Insider story with the headline: “Economist Paul Krugman says there are ‘uncomfortable parallels’ between the recent crypto slump and the subprime mortgage crisis.” Sorry, this doesn’t seem like the relevant historical analogy.