The bitcoin price bear market, labeled “crypto winter” for its debilitating effect on the nascent industry, has seen some $400 billion wiped from the value of the world’s cryptocurrencies as investors get cold feet, worrying that long-awaited institutional investment and mainstream adoption will fail to materialize.
Now, Zhao Dong, a Chinese billionaire who’s one of the world’s largest over-the-counter traders of bitcoin, has said now is the time to stock up on bitcoin because the “only thing you need is patience.”
“For most people, if they don’t pay attention to bitcoin now, they won’t pay much attention to most of the time, so for them, only how many tens of thousands of bitcoins will break them will be noticed again,” Zhao reportedly said. “If you and I believe in the future of bitcoin, so it is best to hold as much as possible when nobody cares.”
Zhao, who has previously predicted the bitcoin price will reach a whopping $50,000 per coin by 2021, was speaking on a WeChat group catchily called “The Public Chain Alliance Crossing The Bulls And Bears Elite Team,” it was reported by local media.
China has become an important country for bitcoin and cryptocurrency in recent years, with some expressing concern that China’s bitcoin mining dominance gives it too much control over the burgeoning digital token. Beijing-based Bitmain Technologies now mines more than half the world’s bitcoins, according to some reports.
Earlier this year Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing doubled down on his bet on bitcoin.
“In the bull market, I don’t persuade people to buy bitcoin, because it seems easy to make quick money but in fact it is not. Now [in the bear market], I start to talk people into buying bitcoin,” Zhao added.
Zhao did warn, however, that the crypto winter would likely drag on throughout 2019, with the bulls not returning to the market until 2021.
Zhao’s comments come after technical data suggested bitcoin could be in for further pain after five weekly bitcoin price declines in a row, with the cryptocurrency’s trading range at its narrowest since October—which last year heralded its sudden fall from over $6,000 to around $3,500 in a matter of days.
The bitcoin price has been falling steadily since it hit an all-time high of almost $20,000 in December 2017, forcing many bitcoin, cryptocurrency and blockchain startups to slash jobs or shut down entirely and leaving investors desperate for signals of which way the market will move next.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrency fever gripped the world in 2017, with some major coins, including Ripple’s XRP, ethereum, and litecoin, seeing price percentage increases that far outstripped bitcoin itself.
Bitcoin’s epic 2017 bull run was largely put down to expectations institutional investment and big bank support for bitcoin would soon arrive. As 2018 dragged on and that investment failed to appear many investors and traders bailed out of their bitcoin and cryptocurrency positions.
Zhao’s comments echo other bitcoin faithful, including Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey, who remain unconcerned by bitcoin’s steady price decline. Dorsey last week reiterated his expectation that bitcoin would eventually become the internets first “native currency.”
“I believe the internet will have a native currency and I don’t know if it’s bitcoin. I think it will be [bitcoin] given all the tests it has been through and the principles behind it, how it was created,” Dorsey told podcaster Joe Rogan, though he didn’t speculate on what this might do to the bitcoin price.
Many bitcoin investors and traders are looking toward things like the highly-anticipated Bakkt bitcoin platform and a U.S. bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) to boost the price, though those expectations have been somewhat dampened lately as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission frets over potential price manipulation.
The Bakkt bitcoin platform, which is being developed with New York Stock Exchange owner Intercontinental Exchange as well as partnerships with coffee shop chain Starbucks and PC giant Microsoft, plans to offer bitcoin futures trading from the first quarter of this year and open bitcoin and cryptocurrencies up to a wider retail market.