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The Biggest Misconceptions About Cryptocurrency Markets

Alex Paulson
Alex Paulson

Crypto and Forex professional trader, analyst, contributor.


Like any maturing financial market, the cryptocurrency one has a lot of myths and misconceptions about it, which often lead to confusion and even financial losses. In this article, we decided to debunk the most widespread fallacies regarding crypto, with the special emphasis being made on probably the biggest of them all, the negative impact on the environment.

Buy/Sell Bitcoin

Despite the fact that Bitcoin and altcoins have made tremendous progress in terms of the adoption of coins themselves and the underlying blockchain technology in many different industries, the debates about their usefulness didn't cease. While many myths about crypto have been successfully dismantled by the active members of the crypto community through various awareness programs, like the ones initiated by Paxful, CoinSwitch's Kuber, and Moneysense, the critics still have one ace card up their sleeves which they pull out every time something happens that improves crypto's image - the environmental hazardousness of mining caused by its ever-increasing consumption of electricity, a large portion of which is derived from fossil fuels.

Cryptocurrency mining constitutes an environmental hazard

These accusations can hit especially hard when coming from influential individuals like Elon Musk, who had substantiated Tesla's decision to suspend BTC payments by its allegedly negative impact on the environment. That somewhat unexpected announcement that Musk made via a Twitter post in the middle of May triggered the biggest crisis on the cryptocurrency market since 2018. Such a strong emphasis on the pollution issue creates a popular myth in the minds of ordinary and not tech-savvy citizens that all cryptocurrencies pose a threat to the environment. But that can't be further away from the truth. In reality, the only cryptocurrencies that may indeed exert a negative impact on the environment are those that are produced (mined) through the Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus mechanism that requires large amounts of electricity to maintain the network. 

The reason why PoW is so gluttonous for electricity is that the miners need to constantly compete for the right to approve transactions on the network by keeping their equipment constantly running in order not to miss the chance when the machine solves the arithmetic puzzles correctly, thus hashes and confirms the transaction and earns its owner some coins as the reward for its contributions towards keeping the network sustainable. This creates a situation where tons of electricity gets wasted on fruitless computations while still producing a noticeable carbon footprint. According to CoinMarketCap, the biggest PoW-based cryptocurrencies by market capitalization are Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Dogecoin (DOGE), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Litecoin (LTC). One of the main reasons why PoW is still widely used for crypto mining is that it still remains the top solution when it comes to network security since the use of this particular algorithm renders DDoS attacks impossible.

The networks that utilize the PoS mechanism, such as Cardano (ADA), Tezos (XTZ), and Algorand (ALGO), consume up to 99% less electricity, thus deal little to no damage to the environment. Other cryptos like XRP use proprietary consensus mechanisms, like a distributed agreement protocol, where the power consumption is practically negligible. According to the latest estimates, IOTA, XRP, and Cardano consume 0.00011, 0.0079, and 0.5479 KWh of electricity per transaction, respectively, whereas Bitcoin devours 707 KWh to confirm a transaction, with Ethereum being not far behind with 62.56 KWh. Other estimates show that BTC consumes up to 950 KWh, while producing nearly 30 million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year, which is way more than XRP's emission that amounts to 270 metric tons.

The PoS-based networks consume significantly less electricity, and pose practically no danger to the environment because they use staked coins as the proving resource, while validators, who exercise the same function as miners in PoW networks, are chosen to confirm a given transaction on the basis of the size of one's stake, also called collateral. During this process, no electricity goes to waste, which is why the PoS networks are far less demanding for electric power and thus a lot more eco-friendly than its counterpart. The share of PoW cryptocurrencies will change dramatically after Ethereum will have made the transition to this protocol within the framework of the Ethereum 2.0 upgrade. And since ETH is the second-largest and the one of most actively mined cryptocurrency, the transition to PoS would make the entire industry more eco-friendly and decrease the validity of the "environmental hazard" narrative that has been overused by crypto skeptics.

But while the switch to PoS is beneficial from the ecological perspective, it might do more harm than good from the point of network security and its decentralization, and also carry the threat of the creation of virtual oligopolies where entire blockchain networks are controlled groups of users with largest stakes, thus creating significant wealth and governance disparities.

But that is the topic for another discussion. It's clear that the crypto industry makes its own "contribution" to the ruination of the environment, but the extent of that impact is far less significant than presented by the critics. Bitcoin indeed remains the largest "polluter" purely because of the sheer size of its network and the resulting consumption intensity, but the "doom stories" tend to be very exaggerated, as the figures below will show.    

It must be noted that there is currently no means for directly measuring the exact electricity consumption of the Bitcoin network or any other PoW network for that matter. The reason being that the transparent data related to crypto's energy consumption can be derived only from the official mining pools, while there are a lot of miners who operate anonymously or pseudonymously, which makes it next to impossible to calculate even the approximate power usage. Besides, miners might use equipment of different energy efficiency during certain market cycles that have a different impact on mining revenues.

For instance, at the time when the market rallies, which results in revenue growth, the miners tend to brush off the dust from older equipment that was lying idly in warehouses and connect it to the network, thus creating a temporary surge in energy consumption, which can't be forecasted. Therefore, all calculations related to Bitcoin's appetite for electricity are based on theoretical models that are heavily reliant on educated assumptions, not hard facts and precise figures.

Then we have the figures which show that Bitcoin's annual consumption of electricity exceeds that of small nations. For instance, there is a whole bunch of data that suggest that the sustainability of the BTC network is ensured by the use of electric power on the level with the annual consumption in such countries as Portugal, Belgium, and Finland. According to the latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Bitcoin requires around 81.5 TWh per year to function at the current level; at the same time, Belgium takes up 82.1 TWh, while Finland consumes 84.2 TWh. There are nations like Chile and Bangladesh that eat up even less electricity than Bitcoin, 75 TWh and 70.6 TWh, respectively. These are the figures that crypto negativists use to propagate their agenda.

But such comparisons are hypocritical in their nature because they compare figures without giving consideration to additional contexts such as geographic, population, and economic factors that impact the consumption while also concealing the fact that some megalopolises like New York and Tokyo utilize almost twice as much electricity as Bitcoin. For instance, according to the report by the U.S. Department of Energy, the New York metropolitan area requires around over 140 TWh per year, while the figures for the Tokyo region go even higher to 283.7 TWh per year. On a global scale, Bitcoin's share of total electricity consumption remains minuscule. According to the calculations made by the International Energy Agency, the entire world produces 26,730 TWh of electricity per year, while consuming 22,315 TWh, with BTC's share in that being only 0.37%. When it comes to the overall energy production, there are 167,716 TWh of energy produced per year, 115,575 TWh of which are consumed - Bitcoin's share in that barely exceeds 0.07%. When it comes to industrial consumption, gold, which is considered to be the universal store of value, takes 131 TWh per year, while BTC uses the mentioned 81.5 TWh. Interestingly, the air conditioning systems throughout the world require 2199 TWh on a yearly basis, while household and industrial fridges in the U.S. alone eat up to 104 TWh. These figures obviously nullify the argument about the voracious nature of Bitcoin, especially when considering the fact that the said volume of electricity is necessary to serve over 120 million cryptocurrency users worldwide, which is more than a population of the aforementioned small nations combined: Finland has the population of around 6 million, while Belgium reportedly has around 12 million citizens.

Then we have the figures related to the so-called stranded, or excessive, energy assets that are just being wasted on a yearly basis without doing any good for the society or economy of the corresponding country, though the production of this energy is also associated with environmental pollution. For instance, the estimated electricity losses in the U.S. alone amount to 206 TWh (according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration), which would be enough to power the entire BTC network for 2.5 years. The figures get even more interesting when we compare the energy losses from natural gas flaring, which can go up to 688 TWh annually, sufficient to sustain the Bitcoin network for a whopping 8.4 years. Not to mention the carbon footprint from flaring, which, according to some estimates, exceeds that of the entire aviation industry. This comes to show that contrary to the popular myth, Bitcoin is far more energy-efficient than many other industries, given the average amount of energy used to serve a single crypto user.

Sure, the PoW algorithm is the most wasteful of all consensus algorithms present across the industry, but that pales in comparison to energy waste seen in oil and gas industries that, although becoming redundant, still constitute a vital part of the global economy. Surely, in the eyes of its critics, Bitcoin is just a trinket in the hands of anarchy-minded computer geeks, though, in reality, this technological solution has the potential to benefit the entire humanity in ways beyond mere peer-to-peer transactions, so having it at our disposal is definitely worth spending those 81.5 TWh of electricity that in other circumstances might have gone to waste.

No one is trying to deny the fact that mining, PoW mining, in particular, has a certain negative effect on the environment, but that is a fair price to pay for the benefit of having access to the first truly secure and decentralized system. It's not going to create holes in the atmosphere through which the deadly rays of space radiation would penetrate and destroy every living creature on Earth. And the negative comparisons with the electricity consumption in some countries are downright ridiculous as if the mining industry would cause a power deficiency of sorts. It's scientifically proven that mankind needs to consume more energy, including electricity, in order to develop and make a transition to the next technological level. It means that there is nothing ominous about consuming more energy; the question is rather how to increase the share of green energy and reduce its waste so that it could be redistributed for other purposes. 

To further debunk the misconception about Bitcoin being overly hazardous to the environment, we would like to share the results of the recent survey conducted by the Bitcoin Mining Council (BMC), with the main focus being made on the so-called sustainable power mix. It must be noted that their findings do not reflect the situation across the whole industry because, as already mentioned, it's virtually impossible to gather the data from the entire Bitcoin network, so the surveyors have made their conclusions on the basis of 32% of that network, which is far from being conclusive but still provides much food for thought. According to BMC's findings, the contemporary mining industry uses electricity, 67% of which is derived from the sustainable power mix that includes solar, hydro, wind, and geothermal sources. The share of geothermal energy sources is likely to increase in the near-term future as El Salvador, the first country to recognize BTC as a legal tender, has definitive plans to use volcanic energy, which is present in abundance in this Central American country, to mine Bitcoin.

The BMC also notes that the share of sustainable energy used to acquire BTC has increased to approximately 56% over Q2 2021, which is partly due to the mass exodus of miners from China in the wake of the recent crypto and mining ban that shook the industry to its core. This exodus should further incentivize the use of clean energy for mining purely because of its cheapness in comparison to the hazardous sources, and the fact that the environmental concern remains one of the few obstacles on crypto's way to mass adoption, which would ultimately result in significant price appreciation across the entire cryptocurrency market and subsequently take the revenues from mining up a notch.

To summarize, it's clear that the narrative about crypto's harmful effect on the environment is another boogeyman story told by global power brokers to gullible non-coiners, which is reminiscent of the bad rap that cannabis had for decades until the popular myths were debunked and the real benefits were brought to light. Bitcoin is the creation of the new phase of technological progress that has its focus on sustainable energy sources, and that's the way where the mining industry is heading. In a few years' time, there will be no need to dispel this widely-propagated myth because it's highly likely that mining would be nearly 100% green.             

One can get rich from crypto effortlessly

The myth about crypto being the goose that lays golden eggs is probably the second most popular misconception about digital currencies after their environmental impact. The nascent crypto investors are often led to believe that all they need to do to get the Lambo is to find the altcoin that holds the ticket to the Moon, stock up on it, and then wait for the price to fly to pocket a few million.

And while history knows several cases when ordinary people acquired small fortunes thanks to holding an altcoin, the reality dictates that the overwhelming majority of traders actually lose money when dealing with the crypto market on a regular basis. There is one about Glauber Contessoto, who goes by the nickname SlumDOGE Millionaire on Twitter, who had invested $250,000 in DOGE back in February when the coin was worth around $0.045, inspired - who would have thought - by no other than Elon Musk, the self-proclaimed Dogefather. Contessoto is a music industry worker and an active Reddit user who got fascinated by DOGE when it was actively promoted through different social media outlets. It must be noted that the guy took a huge risk when he decided to invest such a considerable sum in the meme coin: apart from clearing out all his bank accounts, he had also sold his Tesla and Uber stocks and even borrowed money from the Robinhood platform on margin, which is a highly risky endeavor in itself. We don't know what gods Contessoto was praying to, but he got very lucky as DOGE had skyrocketed to $0.45 in a matter of a week, ultimately making him a Dogecoin millionaire.

Nevertheless, the man decided against taking profits at the peak of the rally. Instead, he intends to hold his position until DOGE reaches $10 and only then sell about 10% of the stack.

However, an average crypto enthusiast ought to understand that Contessoto's story is rather an exception than the rule in this business. The media always popularizes success stories that happen from time to time, but for most crypto traders and investors, making decent money from crypto is a tough task that requires an abundant knowledge of the subject, as well as having certain psychological attributes in order to be able to sit through market downfalls without panic selling. There is also the FOMO factor that contributes to buying the assets at what turns out to be the top of the rally.

There are numerous stories where people lost a ton of money after investing in that very same DOGE in the heat of the hype. Just type in "steamers lose all their money on Dogecoin" in a YouTube search to see how a desperate guy lights up a cigarette while watching his life saving melting away while the chart was posting a huge red candle. These people aren't embarrassed to showcase their losses to the entire Internet community, but this of how many wannabe millionaires got rekt in these volatile markets but didn't demonstrate their grief to the public, a behavioral pattern which is described in psychology as "the survivorship bias." If all those stories were unveiled, the success to failure ratio would be around 1:1000, and that is the harsh reality of the crypto markets. Besides, the success stories are often used for manipulations and scams that intent to lure gullible investors into a certain crypto project with the promise of quick riches. Don't get us wrong, you can become a crypto millionaire through diligent work on your trading skills and market timing, but the notion that crypto equals easy money is definitely a huge myth.     

Day trading and leverage trading are the best ways to make profits from crypto

Like with most financial instruments, there are basically two approaches to dealing with one’s cryptocurrency portfolio, the first of which is holding, which means keeping the coins in a digital wallet or an exchange for a long period of time, possibly years, and selling them at the top of the major market cycle. Holding doesn’t require one to monitor the markets on a regular basis and react to temporary downfalls. Trading, on the other hand, is the process that requires active participation in market developments with the goal of selling at the top of the upswing and buying when a substantial dip occurs.

There are several types of trading styles, namely positional trading, swing trading, day trading, and scalping, all of which presume different frequency with which a trader engages with the market. Positional trading is similar to holding as a trader may hold his position for weeks or months; swing trading sees traders capitalizing on major market moves (swings) that might occur a few times a week; day trading requires speculators to devote a lot of time to analyzing the markets and executing trades on a daily basis, meaning that a trader buys and sells coins every day, rarely holding his positions overnight. Scalping implies the execution of multiple trades on short time frames, an approach that is definitely not suitable for novices.

The most appealing concept about day trading is that it theoretically allows one to profit from this activity on a daily basis instead of having to arm oneself with patience and wait for months before frying the big fish. There is no point in hiding the fact that day trading indeed presents far more profit-making opportunities, though it also brings about a fair share of chances for losses, especially during volatile market conditions. This is especially relevant for the cryptocurrency markets, the behavior of which differs significantly from that showcased by the stock or Forex markets which are far more mature and predictable. For that reason, it’s much more challenging to trade on time frames that are customarily used by day traders (4-hour and down to 15-minute time frames) than if a crypto holder was to focus on weekly and monthly time frames that confirm the general direction of the trend and are much more efficient when trying to spot the genuine market reversal.

Moreover, successful day trading requires a great deal of knowledge of technical and fundamental analysis, as well as the constant monitoring of crypto-related news, something that an average crypto owner with a nine-to-five job can’t do properly. It’s a money-making activity that requires one’s full attention and is nothing like buying this or that coin in the morning and pocketing cool profits a few hours later, something that many “trading gurus” on social media try to present as proper day trading.

Those who consider this style of trading need to realize that it is more stressful, time and energy-consuming than a job at the office, though potentially more rewarding. You might be able to reach the point where you won’t have to be glued to the monitors all day long and devote more time to your family or hobbies, but it would come only after years of self-discipline, combined with lots of trials and tribulations. And there is still no guarantee that the combined profits from day trading would exceed those that could have been obtained through holding or positional trading. Several studies confirm that the dollar-cost averaging strategy, which implies an investor buying a certain amount of crypto with same time intervals, for instance, $100 worth of BTC on the 1st of every month, is actually more effective than day trading, given one doesn’t fail to sell close to the market top or at least at the initial stage of the correction.

Trading fees are also a factor that has to be considered when deciding between holding and day trading as they can bite off a significant chunk of the profits, especially if a trader has the proclivity to overtrade, something that is a common plague among day traders who strive to pocket some money every day. Also, the desire for immediate and sizable profits pushes traders into making trades with leverage, which is a dangerous path to embark on, especially if a trader doesn’t have a lot of skills and experience in that field. Levelaring means borrowing a certain amount of crypto assets against one’s current holding in order to increase one’s exposure to the market and take on the bigger position without owning that particular sum of money. For example, if you own $100 worth of BTC and get leverage at 100 to 1, you get to manage the position of $100,000 in BTC , though it also exposes you to a hundred times more risk. Given that any cryptocurrency market is capable of fluctuating far more than 10% on every given day, leveraging leaves you open to extreme losses if your bet goes sour, though it could also magnify your returns. There have been numerous instances where traders with overleveraged positions had blown up their accounts on a single trade and got a margin call from a broker or an exchange, demanding to cover the losses. In some cases, the losses greatly exceed the amount of money in the account, which led to an unlucky market speculator having to sell his property to pay off the debt.

Trading with leverage has always been aggressively advertised because it’s a great way for exchange platforms to prey on inexperienced traders, who are blinded by greed and the desire for quick profits, through the leveraged position liquidation mechanisms. In fact, there is a broad range of evidence that confirms that retail traders who fall for the promises of instant riches through using high leverage are more susceptible to being liquidated in one of crypto market’s violent moves. The use of high leverage is more appropriate for large financial institutions like hedge funds, and in some cases, large cryptocurrency mining pools, who have enough knowledge and capital to hedge their positions and remain market neutral. But even big players can screw up big time when they are overleveraged, the situation which is portrayed vividly in the movie titled “Margin Call.” 

To summarize, day trading and trading with leverage are legitimate activities that could be profitable for selected individuals or trading firms, but it’s definitely not the best way to make money on the cryptocurrency market for those who haven’t mastered the art of position sizing and risk management. It’s another crypto myth, and many fall for it after being bombarded with ads or getting “inspired” by trading gurus who are most likely getting paid by the exchanges to promote their services. What’s worse is that this misconception about crypto trading might lead to the ruination of one’s financial wellbeing and even personal tragedies, as suicides are common among those who got a margin call and realized that they’d lost everything. 

Crypto markets are moved by retail traders

Those new to the crypto market are often led to believe that all the developments there are instigated by masses of retail traders who drive the prices by actively buying or selling once they spot the appropriate pattern on the charts or after getting the bullish news from various media outlets. It's a widely spread myth that because of their collective size, retail traders are capable of determining the direction of the market.

While it might have been the truth before 2018 when crypto hadn't gone mainstream yet and was largely considered a plaything for nerds, but as BTC rose to a status of a global financial instrument, it began to attract the attention of movers and shakers from traditional markets that have nearly infinite capital to push around. In current realities, the majority of markets, especially those that represent the more liquid cryptocurrencies, are controlled by large investment institutions like hedge funds that are commonly referred to as whales.

This fact has been proven through numerous research, particularly the one conducted by Chainalysis that studied the exchange deposit activity of as many as 340,000 active crypto traders. They found out that nearly 96% of all transfers made to the exchange platforms on a weekly basis were from retail traders. But the catch here is that the whales control the liquidity of the market since they account for the staggering 85% of all dollar value that was sent to those platforms. In other words, only 4% of traders on the cryptocurrency market are responsible for 85% of liquidity present on those markets at any given time. Interestingly, Chainalysis discovered that those 4% were the driving force behind the infamous 2020 market crash.

Retail traders are under the delusion that the markets are driven by news headlines and social sentiment, but it's that 4% that decide whether the price of BTC or any other cryptocurrency pops up, falls down, or goes sideways, regardless of the surrounding noise. Moreover, large institutions have mustered so much strength within the cryptocurrency market that they resort to outright market manipulations, like the one we have described in our previous article dedicated to the future of Bitcoin after the recent crash. It doesn't mean that you should abandon cryptocurrency trading altogether because of the inability to compete with the big boys. It just comes to show that that notion about the crypto market being driven by "the people" is a dated myth that has been debunked by financial institutions themselves that don't hide their appetite for crypto. This situation is now common for all tradeable markets; you just have to adapt to it and stop approaching trading from the perspective of a retail trader and think more like a whale. 

Author: Alex Paulson for


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Top Cryptocurrencies with Price Predictions

# Crypto Prediction Accuracy CVIX Price 24h 7d Market Cap 7d price change
1 Bitcoin (BTC) BTC Bitcoin predictions 83.6% 19 $27 117.78 1.52% -0.23% $525 695 120 933 BTC 7 days price change
2 Ethereum (ETH) ETH Ethereum predictions 94% 5 $1 850.21 1.08% 1.69% $222 500 512 215 ETH 7 days price change
3 Tether (USDT) USDT Tether predictions 93.6% 1 $1.000333 -0.01% -0.01% $83 154 797 365 USDT 7 days price change
4 Binance Coin (BNB) BNB Binance Coin predictions 93.6% 4 $308.85 0.69% -0.59% $48 135 911 381 BNB 7 days price change
5 USD Coin (USDC) USDC USD Coin predictions 91.6% 1 $1.000039 -0.01% -0.01% $29 066 829 891 USDC 7 days price change
6 XRP (XRP) XRP XRP predictions 86.4% 25 $0.472955 1.16% 0.70% $24 585 809 728 XRP 7 days price change
7 Cardano (ADA) ADA Cardano predictions 85.6% 20 $0.372773 2.47% 1.84% $12 999 954 414 ADA 7 days price change
8 Lido stETH (STETH) STETH Lido stETH predictions 93.6% 1 $2 941.39 -0.40% -3.32% $10 258 752 564 STETH 7 days price change
9 Dogecoin (DOGE) DOGE Dogecoin predictions 83.2% 31 $0.072941 2.45% -1.13% $10 177 041 648 DOGE 7 days price change
10 Polygon (MATIC) MATIC Polygon predictions 70.4% 56 $0.929847 1.84% 6.19% $8 628 490 910 MATIC 7 days price change
11 Solana (SOL) SOL Solana predictions 77.2% 38 $20.64 6.40% 1.71% $8 178 958 995 SOL 7 days price change
12 Wrapped TRON (WTRX) WTRX Wrapped TRON predictions 80% 33 $0.077433 2.29% 6.74% $7 873 132 353 WTRX 7 days price change
13 TRON (TRX) TRX TRON predictions 82.8% 33 $0.077698 3.03% 7.15% $7 014 264 945 TRX 7 days price change
14 Litecoin (LTC) LTC Litecoin predictions 82.8% 35 $89.78 2.68% -2.62% $6 555 157 361 LTC 7 days price change
15 Polkadot (DOT) DOT Polkadot predictions 82.4% 22 $5.38 2.54% -0.52% $6 392 787 042 DOT 7 days price change

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