Think about the emotions you’ve been experiencing over the past year. Fear, uncertainty and doubt (collectively known as FUD) are likely to rank high. Now, consider the possibility that you’ve been deliberately manipulated into feeling that way in order to drive desired outcomes. “FUD” is a common propaganda tactic used to influence perceptions, and the recent goings-on in the cryptocurrency market have highlighted it in action. Look back over the course of the pandemic, and you may see examples there, too.

Many investors will be aware that the price of Bitcoin crashed in mid-May, with one of the biggest single-day drops in history. It was what’s termed ‘market capitulation’ — mass liquidations and selloffs in a short period of time. What caused it? If you were paying attention, you would’ve seen the news about Tesla no longer accepting Bitcoin payments, China banning Bitcoin transactions and Bitcoin mining, and cryptocurrency regulatory uncertainty in India. Plus, numerous racy reports of

“Bitcoin’s wild gyrations.”

Never mind that Tesla still holds Bitcoin on its balance sheet, and China first announced the Bitcoin ban in 2013 (followed by several times since). It’s perfect FUD material for destabilising the market. And, as it turns out, it coincided with a shakeout at the end of what technical analysts identified to be a carefully orchestrated, textbook Wyckoff distribution that had been underway in the market for months. Through coordinated control of supply and demand, this classic manipulation technique enables influential Bitcoin owners to maximise profits and buy back in at lower prices.

The plot thickens when you’re aware that certain specialist service agencies receive substantial bounties from large institutional investor clients to dump (or pump) the market according to need. They do this by carrying out strategic paid news campaigns, followed by timed selloffs or buy-ups on selected exchanges using algorithms. As I watched in dismay as the crypto crash and its aftermath played out, I couldn’t help thinking it seemed awfully similar to the past year of the pandemic that has left people feeling scared and confused. We have constantly heard about the “killer virus”, “deadly variants”, “spiralling cases” (never mind that around 85% are asymptomatic in India), “piles of dead bodies”, and places “plunged into lockdown” versus the need to be “safe” and “protected”. Couple this with ongoing mixed messaging over masks, vaccines, early treatments, and how the virus spreads. No masks, double masks, masks still for the vaccinated, masks only for the unvaccinated, droplet transmission, aerosol transmission, indoor transmission, outdoor transmission, asymptomatic transmission, herd immunity only through vaccination (yes, the WHO changed its definition), herd immunity unachievable through vaccination, influencers being paid to discredit vaccines. The list could go on!

Nevertheless, one thing has remained constant. The global narrative that Covid-19 isn’t a treatable illness. The WHO only supports the use of steroids and vaccines. When Goa recommended cheap and effective Ivermectin as prophylaxis and early treatment for adults, headlines declaring “WHO warns against use of Ivermectin for Covid-19” flooded the media the next day. Funnily, the WHO remained noticeably silent when people were clamouring for costly remdesivir.

FUD sells, and it can spread as swiftly as the virus. Yet, it can be overcome with knowledge, preparation and strategy. The problem is that panic quickly overwhelms the capacity to think critically, evaluate, and to listen to one’s intuition. How many people actually pause to really research and consider what’s happening around them? It’s often necessary to dig deep.

In the wise words of Carl Jung, “If you cannot understand why someone did something, look at the consequences—and infer the motivation.”

As for the cryptocurrency market, it’s nearing completion of a long bull run and will eventually go back up once the “whales” have filled their bags with low-priced coins. After all, there’s money to be made.

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