Around this time last year there was hardly a braai in SA at which a conversation about bitcoin wasn’t taking place. It was an understandable frenzy. After all, the cryptocurrency had jumped 17-fold in 2017 to just over $19,000. But, as most investors know, when every man and his dog are talking about something (on the southernmost tip of Africa no less!) it’s a pretty good sign that a bubble is about to burst. And in 2018 bitcoin went the way of the Dutch tulip. The price of a single bitcoin hit an all-time high of just over $19,000 in December 2017 and then began plunging. And it kept plunging — by about 80%, to $3,400 a year later.

Wounded bitcoin evangelists will argue that the principle behind bitcoin is solid. It’s a universal world currency that can in theory be used by anyone and moved anywhere, says Wayne McCurrie of FNB Wealth & Investments. "But people weren’t buying it to use it, they were buying it purely for speculation. Nothing only ever goes up. They lost a lot...

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