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‘My mom texted me’: Bitcoin’s comeback energises long-time proponents

‘My mom texted me’: Bitcoin’s comeback energises long-time proponents
A Bitcoin logo in the window of a cryptocurrency exchange office in Prague, Czech Republic, on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024. (Photo: Milan Jaros/Bloomberg)

From Wall Street to main street, the sudden comeback of Bitcoin is energising investors big and small. Bitcoin briefly topped $69,000 on Tuesday, surpassing the all-time peak it achieved in late 2021.

The biggest digital currency is back in the spotlight with the crypto industry persevering through two years of bankruptcies, lawsuits, and criminal scandals. 

For Anthony Scaramucci, this moment is not yet time to celebrate. The SkyBridge Capital founder said he was at a Starbucks drinking coffee Tuesday morning when he got the notification on bitcoin breaking the previous all-time-high. 

“I’ve been humbled by life. I’ve been humbled by markets,” he said. “The industry is back. I don’t think it’s going to be a straight line up.”

It’s a stark contrast from more than two years ago, when crypto exchange FTX collapsed and its founder Sam Bankman-Fried, a one-time business partner of Scaramucci, faced criminal charges.  

“If you were sitting with me in February 2023, I needed oxygen. I was on the ground. The company was getting hit — the problem with FTX. I had a very large position in bitcoin that was getting crushed, and I was literally having the worst year of my career,” Scaramucci recounted the episode to Bloomberg in an interview in February. 

Still, Skybridge held onto its bitcoin holdings, as well as Ether and Solana.  

Anthony Scaramucci, founder and managing partner of SkyBridge Capital, at the Hope Global Forums annual meeting in Atlanta in December.

Other crypto hedge funds that suffered from FTX’s failure are also making a comeback. Greg Moritz, co-founder and chief operating officer at Alt Tab Capital, said it was “a moment of joy” when bitcoin hit its all-time high on Tuesday. 

Alt Tab had 2% of its assets stuck on FTX. But betting on a confluence of factors that’d boost crypto price, Moritz started to increase the fund’s bitcoin and altcoin positions about four months ago.

“It absolutely required a lot of patience,” he said from his home office in Atlanta. “Even in the most depressing days of the bear market, the best you could do is to safeguard your capital as best as you can and then go and have a stiff drink and realise it will be better in a month or a year.” 

The breakout of bitcoin this year also drew renewed interests from mom-and-pop investors.

 “I’m just happy to see my Telegram chats lighting up, my friends sending me texts asking what to buy again, and my mom texting me to ask if bitcoin is doing well because she saw it on TV,” said Chris Newhouse, an Atlanta-based DeFi analyst at Cumberland Labs. 

Read more: Bitcoin Faces ‘Sell-the-News’ Moment After Setting Record High

Jakob Paulsen, a 27-year-old investor in Amsterdam who first got into crypto in 2019, said he would still like to buy more bitcoin. “I feel kinda bummed out,” he said. “When a price rises, it’s nice to see the portfolio grow, but it’s sad to know that you probably might not be able to buy as much for cheaper prices.”

Matthias Barva, a retail crypto investor based in Norway, expects to see a “correction, and another correction” of the bitcoin price. “There will be some euphoria in the market, but this is really not what we are waiting for,” Barva said. He hopes ultimately that the bitcoin ecosystem will grow and there will be more adoptions of non-centralized wallets around the world. 

Michael Terpin, a crypto investor since 2013 who bought his first bitcoin when it was $120, said he’s holding onto his tokens, in anticipation of what he called a “potential super cycle,” in part driven by an upcoming reduction in bitcoin’s supply growth known as the halving that is adding to the renewed optimism. 

He’s ready for celebrations at an event later on Tuesday in Los Angeles. “I open a bottle of champagne at every halving and every all-time high,” he said.

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