A rising variety of enterprise leaders and celebrities — e.g., Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey, Alex Ohanian and, most just lately, Ricardo Salinas — have added the Bitcoin hashtag to their Twitter biographies. It hasn’t gone unnoticed. When Elon Musk added #Bitcoin to his bio in late January, Bitcoin soared by 20%.
If certainly a succession of billionaires and tech moguls have taken the Bitcoin pledge — no matter that may entail — what’s their motivation? Are they making an attempt to govern the market, as an example — or promote their model?
May they be simply trying to pull the collective leg of crypto’s true believers? The CEOs, alternatively, might be lethal earnest: signaling the technological future they imagine is coming to move — e.g., world and decentralized.
Regardless of the cause, it appears honest to say that social media has been tilting Bitcoin’s (BTC) worth proposition just lately, and it raises some questions. For instance, are cryptocurrencies extra vulnerable to social media messaging than different monetary belongings?
BTC and social media — Joined on the hip?
Rightly or wrongly, many customers choose BTC’s success by its each day market worth, and that worth appears extra entangled than ever with social media exercise.
“Completely,” Feng Mai, an assistant professor at Stevens Institute of Know-how’s Faculty of Enterprise, commented to Cointelegraph. “My research has proven that Twitter posts from influencers have a direct impact on BTC pricing.” That is for 2 causes, Mai defined: “Its lack of intrinsic worth in comparison with different monetary belongings, and its adopters’ demographics overlapping with social media customers.”
Neil Wilson, chief market analyst for Markets.com buying and selling, added that cryptocurrencies — like another belongings that occupy comparatively small pockets inside the total investing market, e.g., GameStop — appear significantly weak to social media as a result of they’re comparatively illiquid with giant holdings within the arms of comparatively few folks, and in addition as a result of they’ve “a crowd/cult following.”
Lennard Neo, head of analysis at Stack Funds — a crypto index fund supplier — advised Cointelegraph that whereas social media doesn’t change BTC’s “foundational worth proposition,” which stays stable, “the tweets act like accelerators.”
Finn Brunton, professor of science and expertise research on the College of California, Davis and creator of Digital Money: The Unknown Historical past of the Anarchists, Utopians, and Technologists Who Created Cryptocurrency, advised Cointelegraph BTC and social media have been intertwined since Bitcoin’s origins.
Based on him, “Bitcoin has at all times been a social media motion first and a working forex second — pushed by testimonials, stunts, memes and exhortations to HODL and imagine.” In that sense, the value of BTC skyrocketing as a result of a voguish CEO modifies their Twitter bio “is totally on model.”
Is celeb consideration good for BTC?
On the face of it, the well timed addition of #Bitcoin to the Twitter bios of tech CEOs, corresponding to Dorsey, Ohanian and Musk, would appear to be a plus, garnering extra consideration for Bitcoin and ultimately rising acceptance and adoption. Wilson advised Cointelegraph:
“The rising company assist we’re seeing for Bitcoin is essential within the worth resurgence over the previous few months. Tesla’s transfer is the sort of large company assist that bulls are latching on to. Extra company assist equals extra mainstreaming, larger acceptance. Community impact is essential right here.”
“Musk and Tesla embracing Bitcoin is nice information for the cryptocurrency,” Mai added, “in that it lends credence to cryptocurrency as a medium of change, which is among the key capabilities of cash in accordance with economists.”
However don’t these social-media turbo costs additionally make BTC’s worth extra erratic — with volatility lengthy being cited as one of many cryptocurrency’s foremost drawbacks? When billionaire Salinas, Mexico’s third-wealthiest man, added #Bitcoin to his Twitter bio at the beginning of February, as an example, the value of the highest crypto asset surged over $40,000 for the primary time in 23 days.
Mai answered that the entry of huge companies like Tesla greater than offsets any short-term volatility, and the big companies will make Bitcoin much less risky: “The companies that settle for BTC ought to now have extra incentive to stabilize the worth of BTC — they don’t want their income fluctuating considerably day-to-day.”
Concerning the current hash-tagged bios, Brunton, not precisely a BTC bull, commented: “It’s good for Bitcoin in that extra buy-in from wealthy guys equals extra events invested in holding this leaky raft afloat.” In his view, a greater long-term end result, nonetheless, could be for customers emigrate from BTC to cryptos “that work higher, are higher engineered, or have superior implementation.” Bitcoin, he added, “is the alpha rollout of what cryptos might be, so the extra sunk price there may be, the longer we’ll be caught with it.”
Not only a Musk whim?
When Elon Musk added #Bitcoin to his Twitter bio on Jan. 29, the impact on BTC was flammable — the price rallied 14% within the first half-hour. However not all followers had been fully clear in regards to the world’s richest man’s intent. Was he simply joshing together with his 43 million Twitter followers? The addition of a cryptic tweet — “On reflection, it was inevitable” — solely deepened the anomaly.
The image grew to become clearer, nonetheless, on Feb. 8 when it was broadly reported that Tesla had just lately bought $1.5 billion of Bitcoin, which is but to be revealed. Clearly, Musk’s curiosity in BTC had been real. Musk has since eliminated #Bitcoin from his Twitter bio. Wilson advised Cointelegraph:
“Now we all know not solely is Musk on aspect however Tesla is backing on a company degree — the technique was authorised by the board and audit committee. That is necessary since it isn’t only a Musk whim however a ‘critical’ company funding.”
Brunton was much less tolerant of Musk, whom he known as an “A-1 s—poster who additionally occurs to be a billionaire.” That stated, in accordance with him, “#bitcoin is unquestionably a part of the Reddit-style starter pack of tech-baron way of life trappings and shows. That’s a few tradition and a scene, although. It has nothing to do with ‘expertise’ as such.”
Elsewhere, it’s been advised that Bitcoin-hash-tagging CEOs had been simply using social media to advertise “their model as a crypto-friendly agency and getting a ton of free publicity.” Neo, for his half, believes that markets are presently overextended, “and there are positively revolters on the market who’re simply tweeting for ‘enjoyable’ at folks’s bills.” Throughout such occasions, “it’s much more essential that we train warning, make investments rationally and never emotionally,” he advised Cointelegraph.
Is Bitcoin expertise’s new flag?
In the meantime, Balaji Srinivasan, angel investor and co-founder of Coin Heart — a nonprofit crypto coverage advocate — prior to now has suggested that Bitcoin is changing into the brand new “flag of expertise” representing high-echelon financial values corresponding to decentralization and internationalism.
Among the many implicit values in Bitcoin’s expertise, as he wrote elsewhere, are: “internationalist, capitalist, decentralized, hyperdeflationary, networked, encrypted, digital, risky, formidable, and quietly revolutionary.”
So, is that what’s going on with the #Bitcoin motion: CEOs simply waving the brand new “flag of expertise,” wanting to establish themselves with a nonetheless coalescing decentralized future?
“It [BTC] is the flagship of all cryptocurrencies and represents the various values inherent within the expertise,” answered Jay Hao, CEO of OKEx crypto change, although it usually means various things to completely different folks:
“It might symbolize freedom for one particular person, effectivity for one more […] a life raft, a speculative asset, a retailer of worth and so forth. An individual who has seen his life financial savings worn out by hyperinflation and is utilizing BTC as a way of protecting future wealth will see the flag of Bitcoin in a different way from a day dealer or institutional investor.”
Wilson advised Cointelegraph: “I feel Bitcoin has at all times been a motion to an extent — it’s about decentralization and ‘taking again management’ from central banks, governments, and many others.” Dallas Mavericks proprietor Mark Cuban went even additional, telling Forbes in December that Bitcoin is “extra faith than resolution to any drawback.”
A social motion with shared high-level beliefs? Brunton remained skeptical: “Bitcoin is — and has at all times been — a number of conflicting social actions awkwardly kludged collectively round a forex and a transaction infrastructure.” He additional added that beliefs round what Bitcoin is are completely different for folks like speculators, libertarians, anti-statists and so forth, concluding: “To say that anybody holds widespread beliefs by holding BTC is a class error.”
Neo advised Cointelegraph: “Flag or not, to the lots on the market, it isn’t only a matter of funding but additionally a press release that they assist the actual ecosystem or an asset.”
On the journey to mass adoption
Regardless of the rationalization behind the proliferation of #Bitcoin in Twitter bios, most Bitcoinists are in all probability inspired by it, whereas acknowledging that it stays a sideshow at greatest.
As Hao advised Cointelegraph, BTC “has been gaining traction steadily through the years — lengthy earlier than main enterprise executives arrived ‘late to the social gathering.’” The hashtags are a “good gesture,” one other signal that BTC is changing into a motion, however ultimately, Hao added, that is simply one other step alongside the “journey to mass adoption.”