The wealth-generating hot streak for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has turned brutally cold.
As prices plunge, companies collapse and skepticism soars, fortunes and jobs are disappearing overnight, and investors' feverish speculation has been replaced by icy calculation, in what industry leaders are referring to as a "crypto winter."
On Monday, the price of bitcoin traded at $20,097, more than 70% below its November peak of around $69,000. Experts say the selloff signals growing trepidation on Wall Street and Main Street about the crypto industry's fundamentals, which right now are looking shaky.
“There was this irrational exuberance,” said Mark Hays at Americans for Financial Reform, a consumer advocacy group. “They did similar things leading up to the 2008 crisis: aggressively market these products, promise returns that were unreasonable, ignore the risks, and would dismiss any critics as folk who just didn’t get it.”