(Disclosure: Mr. McHugh previously owned Bitcoin Cash and now owns Ripple and Stellar. This is not a recommendation to buy or sell any currency.)
A new year brings new beginnings and reflections on what might have been. The following is the story of the 2017 Bitcoin Cash “Flippening” — that wasn’t. Content written as of December 22, two days after the surprise listing.
I was all in. After running $2,500 to $20,000 in two months on two trades, one in Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and the other in Iota, I was back to Bitcoin Cash — all in on “The Flippening”.
“The Flippening” is an event professed by the Bitcoin Cashers at which point the price of Bitcoin Cash (BCH) overtakes the price of Bitcoin (BTC) to become the dominant Bitcoin currency; it’s the flip of the bitcoin — the “Flippening”.
After publishing Bitcoin’s Dark Secret on December 12 on CryptoCoinsNews.com, I noticed coincidences that favored Bitcoin Cash.
On December 15, The U.S. Government announced that it would sell $10 million of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash to avoid loss of value. Granted, this was not the first time the government announced a sale, and it likely will not be the last either. Nevertheless, when Bloomberg announced later that day that it would list Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple alongside Bitcoin, my antennae were up. Conspicuously missing was Bitcoin Cash, the third largest currency by market cap.
Three days later on December 18, hedge fund manager, Bill Miller, declared that his fund was 50% weighted in Bitcoin and that he would seek ways to offset his exposure. Then, Roger Ver went live on YouTube for a two-hour video chat, which spiked Bitcoin Cash from an low of $1,662 to a high of $2,329, while driving down Bitcoin from a open of $18,860 to $17,029 on Binance.
The following morning, on December 19, a press release of yet another early Bitcoin investor had switched to Bitcoin Cash. The same day, we scored the coup de grace — Coinbase had chosen to list Bitcoin Cash.
This amounted to a groundswell of optimism for Bitcoin Cash; our day had come. Bitcoin Cash would supplant Bitcoin and regain the rightful throne to the “Bitcoin” brand. Our momentum had reached an unstoppable crescendo — or so we believed.
Pause for Perspective
Following the negative, albeit predictable response, to my previous article in which I explained how it would be possible to launder the 184 billion counterfeit bitcoin back into the system via SegWit, I started an article comparing Satoshi to Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.
Think about it. They have remarkable similarities. Santa Claus is a jolly fat man who wears a red suit and manages to leave gifts for believers all around the world in a single night. Satoshi, the mystery man who created the Bitcoin phenomenon and is still unknown to this day, spawned Bitcoin millionaires who preach the virtues of Bitcoin. According to the official story, Satoshi also saved Bitcoin from dilution after a hack of 184 billion bitcoin occurred in 2010. (See my article, “Can Terrorists Hack Bitcoin?” for reference.)
As Americans, we love our fairy tales. And yet for some reason, I couldn’t finish the article. Perhaps it’s because one should not throw stones in glass houses.
Parallels to Fixed Football Games
You see; I’m from Detroit. I’ve seen this story before. My Detroit Lions had the Dallas Cowboys on the ropes in the fourth quarter of the 2014 playoffs. Ndamukong Suh and our defensive line dominated the league’s best offensive line. Matthew Stafford led the Lions on one of his signature fourth quarter comebacks, hitting our Tight End, Petitgrew, with a pass just as the defense interfered, resulting in a flag and a first down that would put us in field goal range for the win.
Except it didn’t happen that way.
Instead, the referees inexplicably picked up the flag, declared the pass interference a fair play, failed to throw a flag as Cowboys Wide Receiver Dez Bryant ran onto the field without a helmet, which also would have been a first down, and proceeded to call a phantom penalty against Detroit on the subsequent drive. This was tantamount to stopping our momentum dead in our tracks and giving the victory to the team who was supposed to win: the Dallas Cowboys.
Just in case you’re still not convinced, here is a compilation of Detroit Lions getting screwed by The Man moments. (Warning: adult language.) You may even notice that the same referee appears more than once, two years later, to give it to us yet again.
This story plays out in sports countless times, politics too. Teams somehow manage to cover the spread. People argue over whether a call was right or wrong and those that claim “Conspiracy!” are ridiculed.
Well, this time, for me, it’s different. I realized that I, and others, believed in our own fairy tale — a tale in which we stick it to The Man with good crypto. After all, Bitcoin Cash really is Bitcoin as it was intended to be by none other than Satoshi himself.
Nevertheless, just as we were about to celebrate, the referees threw a flag, only this time they weren’t wearing zebra stripes.
The Main Event: Coinbase Listing
As though trained by martial artist Steven Seagal, Coinbase, a Bitcoin Core advocate, deftly used the Cash momentum against themselves. Coinbase halted trading in Bitcoin Cash only 4 minutes after opening the market. Bitcoin Cash had already bid up to $8,499 for a gain of over 150%. Had the market stayed open, I surmise that Bitcoin Cash would have easily topped Bitcoin’s price that was $15,000 and dropping fast to a low of $14,001. Instead, Coinbase threw a flag and halted the momentum.
“The Flippening” was dead, at least for the moment.
The next day, trading resumed intermittent service, further stalling momentum. When trading finally reopened at 8:30pm, just like the famous Super Bowl blackout that cost the Baltimore Ravens a title, there was little pop. Roger Ver’s 5pm interview on CNBC, an attempt to rally the people’s cause, fell flat. The momentum was lost. Bitcoin Cash would fail to break new highs and trade off in the short term.
(You might also recognize the Super Bowl winning quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, who is now out of football for his protest over how blacks are treated in America. By the way, Mr. Kaepernick, I stand with you.)
“The Flippening,” delayed at best, may now never occur due to lost momentum. In fact, the momentum behind Bitcoin Cash proved to be the ultimate weapon that halted the progress.
So what can a believer and a trader do?
As a trader, I trade what the market gives to me. Coinbase made the market and they took it away. That was and is still out of my control. They make the rules; I just play in their sandbox. So, now I can choose to hold my Bitcoin Cash or look away from the ego-filled forum arguments to find what the market has not yet noticed — a breakout in Ripple.
(As of the original date of this writing on December 22, Ripple traded at $0.80 0 to the current price of over $3.00 as of January 3, 2018.)
Batter Up: Ripple
Ripple is different than most of the cryptocurrencies. Ripple (XRP) has 100 billion total ripples whereas there are just 21 million Bitcoin. Ripple validates a transaction in 3.5 seconds compared to Bitcoin’s 60 minutes and Bitcoin Cash’s 15 minutes. Ripple has nodes around the world and is more decentralized than Bitcoin, now that the miner market has consolidated. Perhaps the biggest difference is Ripple’s partnership with global banks.
Banks use Ripple to exchange money across borders without error, in seconds, instead of days. This saves them a lot of money. To do so, they buy XRP and use the network to convert to the fiat currency of their choice. This also means that as XRP gains, the banks benefit as well.
Ripple is now the second largest currency by market cap and is certainly in line to be listed on Coinbase in the near future, except this time, you and I can bet on a smooth listing.
Why is that?
Because “The Man” is invested in Ripple whereas “he” was not in Bitcoin Cash. You might argue that he’s not invested in Bitcoin either and that may be the case. We’ll have to agree to disagree on that one.
You may call me a disgruntled Detroit Lions fan and you would be correct. It comes with the territory. You may also call me a conspiracy theorist — and again, you would be correct. Life is more interesting when I connect the dots. You may call me these things, but that won’t change the fact that if “The Flippening” happened on the first day of trading, Bitcoin Cash would be Bitcoin, BTC would be defunct, and the 184 billion counterfeit BTC, if you believe they existed, would be worth a lot less.
This movie has played too many times for me to ignore. Don’t fight the Fed. Listen to the sage words of former President George W. Bush, “Fool me once, shame on…shame on you; fool me, can’t get fooled again.”
Yes, Mr. President, this time, I’m trading with you. I’m all in on Ripple.
Joe McHugh is a licensed (crypto) currency trader, political economic analyst, and founder of Earth Loans, a tokenized asset fund of funds platform. Mr. McHugh holds a position in Ripple and Stellar as of the date of this writing.