Our good friend Chris Burniske was on Squawk Box this morning. I got up and watched it. You can see the video here.
Of course there is interest in the crypto market right now, as it is falling hard. I suspect there are many out there who are enjoying the drop, waiting for the bubble to finish popping and for this whole idea to go away.
One takeaway from watching the segment is how much of a learning curve there still is around this whole space. If you look at the questions Chris fielded this morning, you’ll see a looming gap in understanding of the fundamentals. The questions range from “why do we even need this” to “what is the rational basis for these prices”
It’s a complicated topic, with complicated mechanics, and to make matters worse, the narrative itself has shifted a bunch over time (digital cash, digital gold, decentralized computing, the new internet, etc).
Here is one way to think about it, that feels native to CNBC and the financial markets industry:
Crypto is a market-based system for providing computing services. The “miners” and other participants are just like the participants in other commodities markets. It really is a shift from providing computing services via a corporate/securities/centralized model to an ecosystem/commodities/decentralized model.
If you just hold that idea for a moment, then where Chris was trying to take the conversation (but didn’t exactly manage to — talk TV is tough!) is around the rational pricing of commodities. A simple way to start is by looking at the marginal cost ofproduction, which is one way of looking at commodities pricing. While this does not make sense in a highly speculative bull market, it makes a lot of sense in a flat or bear market, as we seek a basis for understanding where the bottom might be.
Another challenge here is that the utility of cryptoassets like bitcoin ethereum is still being understood, so we do not yet have solid anchors for pricing. In the case of oil, for example, we have industries upon industries using it, establishing consumer value which lets price flow back to the original production. This is still nascent in the crypto space, but is getting clearer every day.
Thank you Chris for working to advance the dialogue.
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