Chances are, if you remember the dot-com crash, it is not fondly. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell a total of 78% peak-to-trough, as companies like Pets.com cratered into oblivion.
Today’s cryptocurrency investors are experiencing similar pain, and there’s no clear end in sight. Bitcoin is down 55% this year, and the decline is now over 70% from top to, well, today. The total value of all tokens has fallen from $830 billion to around $236 billion. Meanwhile, the damage has spread to other tokens. A website called Dead Coins lists 800 other cryptocurrencies that are worth either zero or close to zero.
At its height, Bitcoin was clearly a bubble. Now it’s hard to tell what the future holds. Regulators around the world have stepped up their scrutiny of cryptocurrencies, concerned that they have become a breeding ground for illicit transactions involving drugs and weaponry, along with money laundering, market manipulation and fraud. But bulls point out that the Nasdaq stocks eventually recovered dramatically from their dismal lows—and say that at these prices, or the potentially lower prices to come, these coins manufactured out of thin air might be a bargain.