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Blog posts, Thought leadership | 01/21/2021

A splash in the market: What made whales change their mind?


Critics. They’re a stubborn bunch and it takes something pretty significant to change the minds of the avid objectors, especially when they are celebrated in their fields.

So when a naysaying critic does a 180-degree dance around and considers cryptocurrency to be a worthwhile asset, it speaks a lot about the direction in which the market is heading. As we see it, crypto is the future and it’s exciting to see that critical big whale investors would rather change their tune to sing the sweet songs of Bitcoin’s potential than getting stuck in the past.

Crypto critics which are now Bitcoin backers

When a whale enters the market, the knock-on effects can spill over into other pools of finance. It seems one whale leads to another, and over the year we’ve been seeing multiple blue-whales enter the scene. If 2020 and the rising price of Bitcoin have shown us anything, it’s that the crypto ocean responds to the flood of Bitcoin whales, and, oh boy, it responds well. 

Ray Dalio: Bitcoin is a gold-like asset

Back in 2017, Dalio called Bitcoin a bubble. Three years down the line and the billionaire’s criticisms took a shift, but not quite in the right direction (…yet). At a conference in January, Dalio said that he just doesn’t see Bitcoin as an effective medium of exchange and a store of value. 

Well, it looks like his bubble of berating Bitcoin has burst over the course of the year as Bitcoin was cruising on an epic wave of healthy growth and other markets were trying to swim through murky waters. In a recent Reddit post, the whale admitted a change in perspective, pointing towards Bitcoin’s potential to be a powerful store of value:

“I think that bitcoin (and some other digital currencies) have over the last ten years established themselves as interesting gold-like asset alternatives, with similarities and differences to gold and other limited-supply, mobile (unlike real estate) storeholds of wealth.”

Visa: From crypto quarrels to powerful partnerships

Quick flashback to two years ago, Visa was in a slightly messy and very public fight with Coinbase (which happens to be one of cryptocurrency’s leading exchanges) over issues of multiple fees for crypto payments made using Visa cards. While the companies were fighting, it was the users who got hit the hardest. By what exactly? Well, some users got slapped by up to 50 accidental duplicate fees (ouch). To add salt to their wounds, neither company wanted to take the blame.

Visa released a statement to TNW stating that it had not made any system changes resulting in any of the duplicate fees (read: it must have been the exchange’s fault). Shortly after, Coinbase quickly took to Twitter to explain what occurred (read: shift the blame back). After some investigation, Visa released another statement to say that the issues might not have been caused by Coinbase after all (oops). While Visa didn’t explicitly take any blame, it did offer refunds to all fiercely fee’d parties. 

On top of all of this, Visa CEO Kelly Alfred, also stated that Visa would only dip its toes into cryptocurrency if it evolved beyond use as a store of value – saying that Bitcoin is not really money and that it’s “too speculative” (sounds familiar, right?) to be a major player in the game of payments. 
But, all’s well that ends well. Since then, Visa has patched things up with Coinbase and allowed that perhaps Bitcoin is actually a strong contender in the game. The Visa-whale (including its critical CEO) are now deep in the crypto-space and have teamed up with Coinbase.

Stanley Druckenmiller: Bitcoin is a better bet

Previously, Druckenmiller had decidedly diverted any deliberations from cryptocurrencies. His major issue with Bitcoin (like several other critics) was the volatility. The unstable price of Bitcoin back in the day was a hurdle to get over and, well, just one he was not willing to try to jump over.

It seems that volatility is no longer a concern to the American investor. Now, Druckenmiller is not only leaping at Bitcoin for himself but he advises that others get in on the running too. He said that he’s “warmed up” about Bitcoin as a store of value – so much so that he stated that the bet on Bitcoin could pay off better than gold:

“Frankly, if the gold bet works the bitcoin bet will probably work better because it’s thinner, more illiquid and has a lot more beta to it.”

Elon Musk: Tesla and the trillion-dollar potential

Musk, the eccentric blue-whale that he is, has been pretty vocal about Bitcoin for years – especially so for someone who won’t commit to diving into the crypto-space. 

In a recent thread, Musk tweeted a suggestive post (and we mean this in all senses of the word) with the cheeky implication that he’s tempted by Bitcoin’s steadily rising value. 

A quick response from Michael Saylor, CEO of business intelligence and cloud-based services firm MicroStrategy, tempted Musk more by suggesting he converts Tesla’s balance sheets from the dollar to Bitcoin (a change that Saylor’s own company has already made with delightful success). 

If Musk decides to make the move, it could accelerate the growth of Tesla quicker than the electric cars take to get to 60 mph (okay, not quite because that’s under two seconds, but you get the point). As Saylor put it, Musk would be offering the shareholders a “$100 billion favor” with $1 trillion potential if other firms jumped on the crypto-bandwagon too.

Could 2021 be the year for Bitcoin whales?

Sure, 2021 is officially the year of the Ox, but we think “the year of the Whale” has a better ring to it. The whales mentioned above are just a few of many who made motions towards the crypto-market. As more get on board the Bitcoin ship, it’s likely that we’ll start seeing an exciting trend of new whales and old critics flipping their scripts and diving into Bitcoin.

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