Barclays says the crypto craze spread much like an epidemiologist would expect a virus to propagate.
- Barclays analysts took a deep dive into the bitcoin and cryptocurrency craze as part of its annual Equity Gilt Report.
- The team says all bitcoin investors fall into one of three categories.
- They also said the spread of crypto is analogous to how an infectious virus spreads through populations.
Bitcoin investors can all be categorized into three distinct groups, Barclays says.
As part of the bank's comparison between the crypto craze and the spread of infectious disease, a team of analysts led by Joseph Abate says both viral phenomenons lump people into three unique categories:
- The susceptible
- The infected
- The immune
"Like the infection analogy, the population divides into three groups: 'susceptible' individuals who are vulnerable but not yet infected; 'infected' individuals; and those who are 'immune.,'" the report said. "Also like infection, transmission – especially to those with 'fear of missing out' – is by word-of-month, via blogs, news reports and personal anecdotes."
Barclays estimates that awareness of bitcoin is nearing a peak, and that 90% of people who reside in developed economies are familiar with the cryptocurrency, "indicating increased immunity."
Continuing their comparison, as more and more non-infected people become exposed to the bitcoin virus, the chances of another price surge are fleeting, Barclays says.
"Most potential 'hosts' (Bitcoin investors) in developed economies already are aware of Bitcoin (have been exposed to the 'virus'); 2) only a small share of developed populations are susceptible to speculation ('infection'); and 3) the falling ratio of current to prior holders suggests a rising 'recovered' share of the population," the bank said.
"As a result, we believe the speculative froth phase of crypto currency investment – and perhaps peak prices – may have passed."
More from Barclay's 2018 Equity Gilt Report: