Contrasting Bitcoin Narratives Abound This Week on CNBC

CNBC has published numerous articles this week painting very different pictures from financial industry professionals on the future of Bitcoin. Most recently, host of CNBC’s Mad Money, Jim Cramer, stated that “the sun seems to be setting” on cryptocurrency. Meanwhile, cryptocurrency advocate Meltem Demirors assured CNBC earlier in the week that Bitcoin’s value would soon return, as markets regained traction.

Mad Money Host Calls Crypto an ‘Outlaw Currency’

“I think the tide has turned against [cryptocurrency],” Jim Cramer told CNBC’s Squawk on the Street. “I’m not saying its time has passed but there is a notion that the sun seems to be setting.”

Cramer’s skepticism towards Bitcoin reached its peak earlier this week as Bitcoin slid below $6,000 for the first time this year. He drew from a recent interview with the chairman and CEO of CyberArk, Udi Mokady, which highlighted the large amounts of illicit activity being conducted through cryptocurrencies.

“This thing has really become like an outlaw currency,” said Cramer.

Interestingly, recent reports from the US Drug Enforcement Administration reveal that the ratio of legal to illegal activity surrounding Bitcoin has reversed in the last 5 years. In the past, more than 90 percent of cryptocurrency transactions were executed for the purposes of criminal activity; that number has since dropped to 10 percent, with the vast majority of cryptocurrency transactions now being made among speculators.

However, DEA special agent Lilita Infante told Bloomberg that government authorities are still trying to crack down on the still-growing amount of criminal activity surrounding crypto. She said in a recent interview, “What’s become a growing trend in the past year is that criminal organizations, like drug cartels, are increasingly using digital currencies across their operations, from money laundering to cross-border transfers, as it’s cheaper, faster and perceived to be more secure than going through the banking system.”

Cramer appears to have become permanently bearish on crypto, stating that it’s no longer a winning play.

Suggested Reading: Learn more about Bitcoin in our ‘What is Bitcoin?‘ beginner’s guide.

Coinshares’ Chief Strategy Officer Disagrees

Meanwhile, the chief strategy officer at Coinshares, Meltem Demirors, told CNBC earlier this week that despite difficulty in pinning down Bitcoin’s narrative, she remains confident that Bitcoin will regain traction.

“New technologies that shift the paradigm take a long time to really understand,” said Demirors. “The narrative around bitcoin is still really hard to grasp. Really the only metric we have for most cryptocurrencies is the price, and price is such an imperfect metric. What does actual utilization look like? That’s really the struggle for crypto right now.”

Demirors asserted that the real value of cryptocurrencies has yet to be fully understood by broader society. She drew parallels to early Internet stock companies like Amazon, Intel and Microsoft, which took years to recover from highs reached during the build of the dotcom bubble.

“What we saw in crypto was this massive run-up, where everyone got ‘FOMO,’ or fear of missing out, as we like to say. What it caused is a speculative bubble,” explained Demirors. She believes that the crypto bubble has finally burst and that real businesses that serve real purposes will begin to develop the industry.

“We are starting to see real traction. A lot of it is really dependent on finding those data points, those metrics, that are going to drive that growth story.”

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