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VICTORIA BISCHOFF: Bitcoin mania is spiralling out of control

Here at Money Mail, we have made no bones about being deeply sceptical of cryptocurrency.

It has proven to be incredibly volatile, and is more akin to gambling than sensible, long-term investing. 

As we’ve seen over the past week, it takes only one comment by Tesla founder Elon Musk or Donald Trump for the value of Bitcoin to plunge overnight.

High risk: Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have proven to be incredibly volatile, and is more akin to gambling than sensible, long-term investing

Yet, wherever I go, if people aren’t talking about Covid, they are talking about the crypto-craze.

At a wedding recently, I was stunned how many people admitted to having bought into these digital currencies. 

And I was horrified to learn a friend’s colleague had bet his house deposit on Bitcoin despite never having invested in the stock market before.

It seems as though everyone has heard of a friend of a friend who has been able to get on the property ladder or give up work after making millions. 

Then, fuelled by the fear of missing out (FOMO), they have ploughed in, assuming they will make a quick fortune, too. 

It is true that these digital coins have made some people – and trading platforms – very rich indeed. 

But if you saw someone win big at a casino after risking £100,000 on black, you surely wouldn’t rush off to the nearest cash machine.

Yet Bitcoin mania continues to spiral out of control.

Anyone who has bought cryptocurrency will not hear a bad word said about it — because they know they need others to buy into the fantasy to keep pushing up the price.

Around 12,000 Bitcoin enthusiasts flocked to the biggest conference of its kind in Miami last week. In one video, an American broadcaster and high-profile Bitcoin holder was screaming ‘We’re not selling’ to a buzzing crowd cheering wildly, before saying something very rude about Elon Musk which I won’t repeat here.

This is not behaviour you’d associate with a serious investment opportunity. It’s more like a cult — one that could soon end in tears.

So if you’re tempted to dive in, ask yourself why you think the price of cryptocurrency will go up. 

As we reveal today, experts say that the Bitcoin phenomenon carries all the warning signs of a bubble set to burst.

Cryptocurrency has no intrinsic value. It’s only valuable because people think it is.

Yes, it might still go up over time. But it might also crash further, especially over the coming summer months. Do you really like the sound of those odds?

And, as with every single bubble in history, it will implode when people cotton on to how foolish the whole thing is. When that happens, it will be ordinary investors who pay the price.

Cash in hand

On Monday, the Post Office launched a major campaign to ‘Save our Cash’. It is calling on ministers to bring forward legislation to make cash a legal right for the millions who depend on it.

But access to cash is just one part of the problem.

Since the start of the pandemic, scores of retailers have introduced a ban on notes and coins. They claim this is to protect customers and staff from Covid, despite assurances from experts that the risk is minimal.

Just last week, I was picking up a prescription from my local hospital and spotted a worrying sign that read: ‘Due to current circumstances we are only accepting card payments’. 

This is unacceptable when paying for essential items such as medical supplies.

If you’ve been turned away when trying to pay with cash, write to us at moneymail@dailymail.co.uk or Money Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT.

Car rip-off fees

Last week, I rather cynically suggested insurers may be plotting ways to boost their bottom line after the City watchdog ordered them to stop exploiting loyal customers at renewal time.

Hey presto! Enter rip-off admin charges. Money Mail reader John Campbell, from Essex, said he was recently quoted a £30 ‘renewal fee’ by his car insurer.

While renewal fees are not new, they have been relatively uncommon up until now. So we will be asking every insurer this week if they charge an admin fee to renew a home or car insurance policy, how much it is and when it was introduced. 

And know that we will be watching closely to see if this becomes a sneaky new trend.

v.bischoff@dailymail.co.uk

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