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The Guy With The Drag On Tattoo
A reminder of Luna's total loss will "drag on" forever for Mike Novogratz. It should also serve as a crisp reminder to everyone else that blind conviction doesn't equate to investing acumen.
It was just about six months ago when I wrote an article about some of the absolutely batshit insane statements made by Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky while debating Peter Schiff on the merits of crypto versus gold.
That article was called “Bitcoin: One Hubris-Laden Interview Closer To A Day Of Reckoning” and it wasn’t even a piece I intended on writing.
It was only after I listened to Mashinsky’s “arguments” for crypto during the debate that I felt the need to write it; mainly because I was seriously alarmed by the ease with which Mashinsky appeared to be spreading what I believed to be harmful information to the most susceptible, unsophisticated potential investors.
Lo and behold, six months later, the crypto risk trade has been torched, with the total market cap of all outstanding cryptos plunging from about $3 trillion to about $1.25 trillion. That’s about $1.75 trillion in “assets” that simply disappeared into thin air and may never materialize again.
And although bitcoin may still survive for the medium or longer term, a number of overdue comeuppances have been justly distributed over the last few months - and I believe there’s many more to come.
Among those who received one of the ultimate comeuppances was 57 year old billionaire, perpetual crypto bull and human CNBC chyron Mike Novogratz.
But endless CNBC appearances over the last few years apparently weren’t enough for Novogratz to truly convey his bullishness to the commonfolk for crypto. Novogratz was literally bleeding through with conviction and, as one does, in January he had a tattoo artist memorialize these convictions by getting a Luna tattoo. He promptly Tweeted out a photo of the tattoo: surely, this would show the rest of us normies seeking financial guidance from Twitter and CNBC just how serious Novogratz was about Luna.
“They’ll know this is a big deal now,” Novogratz may have thought to himself.
In the same Tweet he “thanked” Do Kwon (for what, exactly?), the South Korean cryptocurrency developer who co-founded Singapore-based Terraform Labs but more recently was in the news for needing to have his wife placed under police protection after irate investors showed up at his house.
That’s because not even six months after Novogratz jumped the conviction shark, the Terra stablecoin and its sister token Luna (hereinafter referred to as “the digital nothings that provided zero product or service and didn’t even tangibly exist”), in the midst of an overdue market-wide risk off capital redistribution, took a massive shit and promptly became worthless without warning.
Well, they were always worthless - the market just finally decided to price it in. “From May 9 to May 13, at least $55 billion of market cap disappeared,” the Street wrote.
See if you can spot on the chart where it all went wrong.
And the on-air personalities happily giving time to these “experts” are busy pointing one finger while three more point back at them - so don’t expect them to save you.
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Look, the point of this article is not to ridicule CNBC for doing what they always do, nor is it to ridicule Novogratz for his tattoo choice. After all, I watch CNBC occasionally and I have a number of horrifyingly ugly tattoos, including the logo of a company that I used to work for and had conviction in, that eventually went under.
Instead, the purpose is to serve as a reminder that no expert - no matter how much their cup of conviction runneth over - can replace your own common sense. And my common sense has been telling me that nobody knows where the world of cryptocurrencies are going to lead.
Putting aside the fact that I think it’s foolish to have this much conviction in a brand new idea that hasn’t been time tested in the slightest, I think Novogratz serves as a perfect example of why people in this industry – and in future industries that will become trendy and “hot” with Wall Street - simply can’t be relied upon.
After all, if we can’t trust the perpetual CNBC guest who has so much conviction it is literally bleeding out of his skin with his take on crypto currencies, who can we trust?
You have to do your own research for yourself and you have to draw your own conclusions based on common sense.
“My tattoo will be a constant reminder that venture investing requires humility,” Novogratz wrote in an open letter last week. He says that the tattoo will be a learning experience for him.
But even moreso, I hope it serves as a learning experience to everybody else that all of these “experts” – whether it comes to stocks, bonds or especially cryptocurrencies - aren’t infallible. There is no amount of human conviction or number of TV appearances that you can make that "automatically” make you right about what you’re saying.
Just as I have preached for years about the macroeconomy and Keynesian economics, nobody knows what’s going to come next in this unprecedented experiment. That goes not only for the macroeconomy, but also especially for cryptocurrencies.
And there’s no amount of conviction - there’s no serving size of Novogratz…
…that’s going to change my mind.
So be sure to remember Novogratz the next time you see an expert crowing about anything in the financial media.
I guess it may serve as a silver lining for Luna or Terra investors that the worst is already over and that, technically, you can only have an investment go to zero once. The scars will eventually heal and, for former Luna or Terra owners, it could become a valuable learning experience. But for Novogratz – his skin deep reminder of his questionable investment decision - well, that’ll “drag on” forever.
Disclaimer: I have nominal positions in BTC and ETH, as well as several crypto stocks and ETFs that have nominal exposure to crypto. This is not a recommendation to buy or sell any stocks or securities. I own or may own all crypto/stocks I mentioned or linked to in this piece. I often lose money on positions I trade/invest in. I may add any name mentioned in this article and sell any name mentioned in this piece at any time, without further warning. None of this is a solicitation to buy or sell securities. These positions can change immediately as soon as I publish this, with or without notice. You are on your own. Do not make decisions based on my blog. I exist on the fringe. The publisher does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided in this page. These are not the opinions of any of my employers, partners, or associates. I get shit wrong a lot.