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Get ready for most cryptocurrencies to hit zero, says Goldman Sachs

But even there he sounded a note of caution, arguing that current technology doesn't yet offer the speed required for market transactions

Kana Nishizawa | Bloomberg 

bitcoin, cryptocurrency

The tumble in that erased nearly $500 billion of market value over the past month could get a lot worse, according to Group Inc.’s global head of investment research. Most digital currencies are unlikely to survive in their current form, and investors should prepare for coins to lose all their value as they’re replaced by a small set of future competitors, Goldman’s said in a report dated February 5. While he didn’t posit a timeframe for losses in existing coins, he said recent price swings indicated a bubble and that the tendency for different tokens to move in lockstep wasn’t rational for a “few-winners-take-most” market. “The high correlation between the different worries me,” Strongin said. “Because of the lack of intrinsic value, the currencies that don’t survive will most likely trade to zero.” Today’s digital coins lack long-term staying power because of slow transaction times, security challenges and high maintenance costs, according to Strongin.

He said the introduction of regulated futures hasn’t addressed those concerns and he dismissed the idea of a first-mover advantage — noting that few of Internet bubble’s high fliers survived after the late 1990s. “Are any of today’s going to be an or a Google, or will they end up like many of the now-defunct search engines? Just because we are in a speculative bubble does not mean current prices can’t increase for a handful of survivors,” Strongin said. “At the same time, it probably does mean that most, if not all, will never see their recent peaks again.” Strongin was more upbeat about the blockchain technology that underlies digital currencies, saying it could help improve financial ledgers. But even there he sounded a note of caution, arguing that current technology doesn’t yet offer the speed required for market transactions.

First Published: Wed, February 07 2018. 18:51 IST
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