The Novo Abides
Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East|1 January, 2019

Mike Novogratz, former Goldman Sachs partner and the loudest crypto bull on Wall Street, has made and lost a fortune on Bitcoin. He’s still all-in.

Erik Schatzker

No one on Wall Street embraced cryptocurrencies with as much gusto as legendary trader Mike Novogratz. After Jamie Dimon called Bitcoin a “fraud” in September 2017, Novo, as he’s known, predicted, correctly, it would hit $10,000 and keep climbing. The former hedge fund manager and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner became an unlikely hero of the crypto movement and a billionaire on paper. Emboldened, Novogratz announced he was starting a cryptocurrency merchant bank, Galaxy Digital Holdings Ltd. But as he was raising money for the firm in January, Bitcoin began its historic plunge. Galaxy has since reported $136 million in trading losses. Novogratz is undeterred.

You’ve become something of a poster boy for the crypto bubble and the bust. What’s that been like?

For a while, I had a series of tremendously good calls. I was the pretty face of crypto. Now I’m the ugly face.

You told me three months before Bitcoin peaked that crypto was going to be the biggest bubble of our lifetime. Did you think it was going to be the worst bear market in modern history?

It’s a fair question. We thought it was a bear market. I went into it thinking in the long run crypto is going to be a real structural shift in the world and I can just hedge my portfolio. And to be fair, we did a really great job not losing money the first 60 percent down. What you forget is that a market like Bitcoin that’s down 84 percent has dropped 60 percent—and then another 60 percent. That’s where the pain happens. You start buying Ether again, because it’s only $400 after being at $1,300. But then it drops to $100, and you’ve lost 75 percent of your money. We haven’t done horribly in that context, but we’re still down.

You should have made money on the way down?

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