Longtime Bitcoiner Dan Held says this ‘crypto winter’ won’t be as harsh as others

Bitcoin is hovering over its 52-week lows as the cryptocurrency markets continue their bearish posture. But some longtime market participants, like Dan Held, director of growth marketing at crypto exchange Kraken, aren’t worried.

Held got into Bitcoin in 2012, which is about 100 years ago in crypto time (because time moves so quickly but also feels so, so long in crypto).

“Back in the early era, it was just Bitcoin — there weren’t even [alternative] coins, or there were very, very few,” Held said during a fireside chat with Decrypt editor-in-chief Daniel Roberts at CoinMarketCap’s The Capital conference.

Even though there is lots of talk of a crypto winter circulating through the community, Held said the sentiment for this current market cycle is different. While he – and many others – persisted through major market cycles over the years, the narratives have shifted a lot.

“It was primarily retail [investors] up until 2019, 2020, when you started to have the institutional players come in,” Held said. “It almost feels unreal to see big institutional folks like JP Morgan talk positively about Bitcoin; that’s just weird to see because back in 2013, we were regarded as lunatics.”

Over the last couple of weeks, there has been a big shift in the macro environment of a lot of people going risk-off, and crypto markets have been bucketed into the larger market’s bearishness, Held said. “Crypto right now is being considered risk-on, so bitcoin and other crypto assets are being sold off as people are trying to de-risk.”

But while there is fear in crypto markets, there is also fear across traditional and tech equities, too, Held noted. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average are down about 15% and 10%, respectively, for the year to date, MarketWatch showed at the time of publication.

Aside from broad indices, there have been a number of individual stocks that have plummeted as well, including Snapchat and Netflix, which have both dropped 68% year to date. Well-known video-calling app Zoom isn’t zooming up the leader board, either, with its stock down 42% year to date. And yet, the conversations around traditional stocks tanking aren’t nearly as aggressive or prominent as the commentary surrounding crypto markets movement.

“We certainly see these narratives have been ebb and flow,” Held said, from people being extremely risk-on, levered, having peak FOMO or excitement, to resetting and holding as markets pull back.

In the 2018 bear market, almost $700 billion in total market capitalization was wiped out from that year’s peak of about $800 billion, pushing the aggregate value of cryptocurrencies to the lowest point of about $100 billion, according to data on CoinMarketCap.

While about $500 billion has been flushed out of the value of crypto assets today from the year-ago date, this bearish market is different from the last cycle because there are thousands of players across all of tech wanting to come into the crypto world and build things in the ecosystem, Held said.

“We’ve got VC funds raising tens of billions of dollars to go deploy into this system,” Held said. “I don’t think this [crypto] winter is going to be as harsh as the other ones. I think you’ve got a lot of players combined with a lot of funding and they’re going to go find and build products that deliver value.”