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Cryptocurrency mining is booming but keeping a careful eye on the numbers to make sure the smart coins is the right path is tricky, says Domain Insider’s Frank Tramuta. “Stop digging your hand in a hole and start posting on Reddit,” was how one commenter described the crypto mining landscape. That quote seemed to sum up the feeling of many people about how things are being handled. The number of cryptocurrency miners is huge, as more investors than ever before are going full-throttle into the space. Global demand for new miners has increased 13-fold over the past three years, according to cryptocurrency analyst Sam Craddock. What does it mean? It means that virtual currencies such as bitcoin and ether are getting bigger with each passing day. This graph, via Bloomberg, shows the introduction of new virtual coins alongside market capitalisation of such assets on the Bitmap. In January, Bitcoin started breaching a market cap of $50bn for the first time, not bad for a currency that was valued at $8,999 the day it was launched. More price volatility Although these numbers are undoubtedly impressive, they mask the overall market volatility that bitcoin and other tokens have been experiencing. Taking a look at Bitcoin Cash, which was created as a rival to bitcoin by a large group of miners, shows how the chaos within the community led to that token’s price plummeting by more than 75pc in just a matter of months. In March 2017, Bitcoin Cash was trading at more than $600 while today, the bitcoin alternative has sunk to just over $75. “While investors have long been concerned about the potential for price crashes, these incidents could have significant effects on people’s ability to conduct business,” said Jean-Jacques Dufault, a lecturer in innovation in technology and economics at City University London. “Those working in banking and financial services – something which the crypto currency industry is looking to tap – will see cryptocurrency prices fluctuating, even when measured in small steps. They may also be less willing to lend their digital assets because they don’t know when they may be unavailable.” It’s all in the details Every new cryptocurrency generates a customer alpha, said QuantAsset Strategies’ chief digital officer, Tom Brady. Many more coins will be created and, in the next several years, there will be more tokens created than ever before. So, while prices are bound to fluctuate, what will really change is “the value that those tokens can generate”, he said. “That is what will ultimately drive the price. More efforts should be invested in real-time data analysis that can help identify the optimum strategy to take. If large numbers of (for example) computers are then allowed to accumulate, the transactions will become more complex and help mathematically analyse the network. Once that knowledge is gained, what is normally supposed to be a very expensive process will become very cheap, once again helping drive blockchain asset prices,” he said.


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