Bitcoin's staging a mini-rally at $21,000, but UAE's cryptocurrency holders are unsure what to do next

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There is no knowing what’s in store on Bitcoin prices at any time. But if some measure or short-term stability can be found at $21,000 or over, investors will have some thinking to do. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Here’s a partial good news for crypto holders – Bitcoin’s still holding up at above $20,000 at the start of the week. In fact, it has gone past $21,000 in early trades. It could all be temporary given how the entire crypto-asset universe has been behaving for six months, and some even suggesting Bitcoin will likely stabilise only by dropping all the way down to $10,000 or thereabouts.

In the same period, assets of the ‘past’ such as the dollar – and dollar-linked ones – are making gains at the expense of nearly all others? Even gold with its recent fall is still attracting fairly robust interest. All that Bitcoin holders are left with is hope. Or wait long enough to exit in full when prices inch up, whenever that might be.

Some investors have already done so. Altaf Abbas based in Dubai said: “The recent warning by China that says Bitcoin is worthless has added to my concerns and led me to exit my position. I had allocated only 5 per cent of my savings to the asset, but suffered significant losses. I do not intend to buy again.” (Bill Gates too has been making statements talking down the crypto universe.)

Another Dubai based buyer, Ibrahim Muhammad, takes a more balanced view on the sell or hold question. “Bitcoin and Tether were assets I have traded in and suffered losses because the volatility was too much to bear. My friends and people I follow kept telling me to buy, but I made losses throughout.

“I exited at around $28,000 levels and don’t think I will enter again. It was a classic rookie mistake; in future, there might be a potential point for re-entry but only if it is professionally managed through funds.”

Feeling investor pain

Christopher Flinos, CEO of the financial platform Hayvn, knows where the pain is coming from, “When a market (for cryptos) falls more than 65 per cent over a 6-month period, many have lost money, real money. These are children’s university funds, life savings, investment funds – hard earned, important money.

“Too many flippant comments in cryptocurrency such as “the market will bounce back” or “HODL” or any of the other slogans, are demonstrative of an immature industry. Many unregulated platforms boasting of high staking returns, and massive APRs, don’t understand the responsibility that comes with managing another person’s investment.”

There is no oversight of unregulated platforms – and there is no way of understanding just how damaged their financial position is. Our advice in this turbulent market is to find a safe haven for your digital assets. Confidence is low, so find a regulated platform to custody or asset manage your investment

– Christopher Flinos of Hayvn

Crypto exchanges – watch them

What has spooked investors more this time, according to analysts, is the failure of dedicated crypto exchanges, where many have stopped trades because of the extreme volatility prices have gone through. Then, there have been the layoffs, worries about liquidity to meet investor positions, etc. Everything that could go wrong, did. More or less at the same time.

Bal Kishen Rathore, CEO of Century Financial, isn’t taken aback by the problems these crypto exchanges are facing. “Some crypto platforms going bust and not being able to fulfil their obligations should not come as a surprise,” he said. “Investors already present in this space should have known the importance of due diligence and the importance of platform providers’ credibility.

“Central banks and government authorities have been warning investors repeatedly not to indulge with providers and platforms with zero histories and no market credibility. As such, the latest crypto and platform busts are unlikely to impact retail investor confidence significantly. The silver lining over here can be retail investors becoming more aware of how the market works and what and whom to trust.”

US equity markets are currently battling the new normal of higher interest rates. A further drop in these markets could again see the crypto markets correct further. But Bitcoin holders who are currently sitting on profits can look to exit their positions instead of waiting for higher targets

– Bal Kishen Rathore of Century Financial

That would please someone like Shiraz Amir, a financial services professional based in Dubai. “Bitcoin is the wave of the future. I have approached it in the same way that I approach investing in stock markets by allocating Dh2k-Dh3k every month regardless of the price.

“Where I see profit opportunities, I cash in my position. I think bitcoin and Ethereum will be more than 20 per cent of my portfolio by the time I retire in 20 years. We see everyone starting to accept it as payments, from real estate to restaurants, and it is only a matter of time before everyone considers it mainstream like gold.”

At the start of this week, with Bitcoin pushing its way into the $21,000’s, it may be a time to hope. And remain cautious.

Or as Khalid Yousuf, another Dubai-based crypto buyer, says: “I have been buying Bitcoin on and off and stomached the volatility because it is a new form of asset that will do well as inflation concerns keep multiplying. There is a portion of my portfolio which I trade in and out of, but I keep fundamental positions which I keep adding on to every month. At current levels, I am a buyer…”

Bitcoin and other crypto assets are known to correct heavily between 80-90% in every market cycle. People who are invested and still in the market should have a long-term vision, because in the short term there will be more pain to retail investors.

– Christian Chalfoun, CTO at ColossalBit