In early January, several firms involved in crypto-currency announced that they would be reducing the size of their workforces significantly. Genesis, Coinbase, Blockchain.com and Crypto.com are all seeking to cut costs as they experience fallout from the huge decline in the value of various cryptocurrencies in 2022, and from the well publicized collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX. Some of these firms are laying off employees just a few months after their last round of downsizing in the fall.
Public trust in companies involved with cryptocurrency has been steadily dropping, after several high-profile firms were found to have defrauded investors of billions of dollars: some of these companies operated very much like old-fashioned “Ponzi” schemes – guaranteeing rates of return much higher than could be realistically expected, and paying out investors “profits” with funds deposited by new investors, without any underlying real business activity.
Some analysts are predicting huge returns for crypto investors this year, while others predict a decline. Just days apart, CoinShares’ chief strategy officer predicted a $15,000 to $30,000 range for Bitcoin, while Skybridge Capital’s founder foresaw prices from $50,000 to $100,000 per Bitcoin in two or three years.
Why the huge fluctuations, and price uncertainty? A recent paper by the investment firm Starkiller Capital observed that:
“cryptocurrencies have very little intrinsic value in the sense that a long track record of… valuing these assets using a generally agreed upon set of fundamental variables does not exist.”
While a Christian could perhaps use cryptocurrency as a payment system, using is not the same as investing. Because cryptocurrency has “little intrinsic value,” putting your retirement money into it is simply speculative, gambling rather than investing.
In Proverbs, Solomon reminds us of the value of hard work and diligence, and the foolishness of seeking shortcuts:
- “Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.” – Prov. 12:11
- “Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.” – Prov. 13:11
- “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.” – Prov. 14:23
If an investment looks “too good to be true,” or promises something that no one can guarantee, perhaps we could read a few chapters from Proverbs to keep us from a foolish path.