Skip to main content

We've Reached The "Irony Is Dead" Phase Of The Crypto Crash

When are tulip jokes not tulip jokes?
  • Author:
  • Updated:

Well, Thursday is not shaping up to be a great day for the crypto crowd although there's more than enough time for things to turn around because after all, these things trade 24-7, around the clock, around the globe, so it's literally impossible to determine when one day ends and the next one begins.


As of this writing, Bitcoin is languishing around $9,000 and the proximate cause for Thursday's malaise appears to be comments from India’s finance minister Arun Jaitley, who said this about cryptocurrencies during a budget speech:

The government does not consider cryptocurrencies legal tender or coin and will take all measures to eliminate use of these cryptoassets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payment system.

That's right. India is going to "eliminate" the use of these (non)assets because they are "not legal tender". This is another one of those times when I get to remind you that your opinion on this simply doesn't matter, because whether you agree with Jaitley or not, by virtue of the fact that he basically is government, he has the power to move the market simply by declaring it bullshit. All you can do is sit helplessly by as Bitcoin declines even further from its December highs and extends its losses from January.

Of course speculation in cryptocurrencies isn't just confined to cryptocurrencies themselves. You can also ride this wave up (and now down) by trading in the equity of companies that have decided the best way to balloon their stock prices is simply to "pivot" to crypto. This absurd "strategy" has been documented exhaustively in these pages and pretty much everywhere else.

Riot Blockchain (and the Blimpie shop) was the poster child for the effort to rebrand unrelated businesses as blockchain enterprises, but by November, everyone was doing it. As we put it last month: 

The digital gold rush transformed iced tea bottlers into tech enterprises, made crypto companies out of bra manufacturers and in one particularly hilarious case, prompted the maker of a bedwetting inhibitor called the “UrinStopper Patch” to get out of the piss prevention business in favor of blockchain.

And then there was Longfin and the Ziddu coins, a story that's quite simply in a league of its own when it comes to manifest insanity.

Well as it turns out, not all of the companies who have recently executed the crypto "pivot" are new to strategic name changes, because as Bloomberg observes in an especially amusing piece from Thursday, "Bitcoin Services" (apparently they didn't even try when it comes to disabusing people of the notion that they're shamelessly trying to milk the crypto craze for everything it's worth) has changed its name at least five times since 2002. Here's how that "evolution" played out (via Bloomberg):

Bitcoin Services started out in 1997 as JLL Miami Enterprises, according to an annual report, before becoming BMX Holdings Inc. in 2002 and Direct Music Group a year later. From 2004 to 2006, the organization operated as Cell Bio-Systems Inc.

After "Cell Bio-Systems" they rebranded themselves again and there wasn't a lot of interest in the company as of March 2016. It was trading for (roughly) 2 pennies and that's on days when there was actually a willing buyer and a willing seller. But all of that started to change when the company decided to remake itself as "a provider of online-based consumer transaction services and software, providing escrow services for Bitcoin traders."

It took a while for things to really get crankin', but from January 2017 through the end of November, "Bitcoin Services" had risen by more than 15,000%. It's since come back to down to earth, falling from $0.50 at the peak to less than a dime as of Thursday. But the real punchline is this (again from Bloomberg):

It also registered the highest daily volume in its history, trading more than 120 million shares on Nov. 29, compared with an average of slightly over 7 million since the beginning of 2016.

If it's not immediately clear to you how absurd that is, allow me to demonstrate with this simple chart (click to enlarge it):


At multiple points, "Bitcoin Services" was witnessing more volume than Apple.

When I said that was the punchline, I actually lied. I saved the punchline for the end. As noted, the company had five other names prior to calling itself "Bitcoin Services". Four of them are listed above. The fifth name, under which the company operated from 2007-2016, was "Tulip BioMed."

Tulips. You can't make this shit up.