The mainstream arrival of blockchain technology has created a rising tide that is lifting all boats. Very similar to the behavior the market witnessed during the dot-com bubble, companies are simply releasing press releases with the word “blockchain” and their stocks are going crazy.
Some companies are adding “blockchain” to their name. Long Island Iced Tea Corp. has officially changed its name to Long Blockchain Corp (NASDAQ:LTEA). The iced tea maker is now focusing on partnering with or investing in blockchain-related companies. Nothing has materialized so far (outside of the company raising some funds), and yet LTEA stock has tripled since the announcement.
Some companies are saying they are exploring blockchain-related opportunities. Others are supporting blockchain technology within their existing business frameworks. Even some companies are scrapping their whole business model to focus on blockchain.
Just look at Overstock.com Inc (NASDAQ:OSTK), Riot Blockchain Inc (NASDAQ:RIOT), Longfin Corp (NASDAQ:LFIN) and Pareteum Corp (NYSEAMERICAN:TEUM). If a company even tangentially mentions blockchain, their stock takes off like a rocket ship.
This is all too similar to the dot-com bubble of the 1990’s. And I think this blockchain rally will end in a similar fashion: a big pop.
Avoid Blockchain Stocks… For Now
By and large, I’m wary of these blockchain stocks.
Not because I’m wary of blockchain technology. I think the decentralization themes underpinning blockchain technology are the building blocks of the future. These themes have a broad array of applications which could revolutionize the way many industries function.
It has become common knowledge that blockchain principles can be applied to the financial world. Just look at bitcoin.
But there are also numerous other applications. Think the healthcare industry, where blockchain can be used to create a more secure and confidential storage method for health records. Think the music industry, where blockchain can be used to create a comprehensive and accurate decentralized database of music rights and royalty payments. Or think the Internet-of-Things industry, where blockchain can be used to securely encrypt smart device data.
The applications are seemingly limitless. The effect blockchain technology has on our society over the next decade could very well be similar to the effect the internet had on our society over the past decade. Consequently, I am quite bullish on blockchain as a technology.
But I’m bearish on blockchain stocks as a whole… for now.
With so many random blockchain stocks emerging out of seemingly nowhere, it’s almost a guarantee that not all of them will succeed. Plus, they are nearly impossible to differentiate from one another at such an early stage. Again, this is very similar to the dot-com bubble set-up in the 1990’s.
The end result of the dot-com bubble was that even though the internet took off over the next 20 years, many dot-com stocks failed. A few succeeded, but it took them a while to emerge as secular winners.
Thus, even if blockchain takes off over the next 20 years, most of those blockchain stocks appearing out of thin air will fail. Some will succeed, but why rush to invest in them now? Yes, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has taken off like a rocket ship as a result of the internet, but it was a $90 stock at the peak of the dot-com bubble in 1999.
It was also a $90 stock a decade later.
In other words, buying AMZN stock at the peak of the dot-com bubble wasn’t really a smart move. Waiting, getting more information, separating out the winners from the losers and, then, buying AMZN stock a decade later was the smart move.
Bottom Line on Blockchain Stocks
Even if you’re bullish on blockchain technology (like I am), there is no reason to get suckered into the mania and buy blockchain stocks here, after they’ve had meteoric runs.
Exercise patience. Wait for more information. Slowly start to parse out the blockchain winners from the blockchain losers.
And then start buying.
For now, just sit back and enjoy the show.
As of this writing, Luke Lango as long AMZN.