The Psychology on How to Thrive in Crypto Bull Runs, with Daniel Roberts

Words by
Mike Klein
March 20, 2024


Cryptocurrency bull runs are characterized by high volatility, rapid price appreciation, and increased media attention.

FOMO can lead to impulsive decision-making during bull runs, underlining the importance of thorough research, a contrarian approach, and a long-term perspective.

Media narratives surrounding crypto have evolved from skepticism to more nuanced coverage, but still play a significant role in shaping investor sentiment.

Evaluating a project's product-market fit and user acquisition strategies is crucial to identifying sustainable investments and avoiding projects with short-term hype but lack long-term potential.

Successful navigation of crypto bull runs requires a disciplined approach that prioritizes risk management through diversification, thorough due diligence, and maintaining a long-term outlook while resisting emotional decision-making.

Cryptocurrency markets, like traditional financial markets, experience cycles of growth and decline, often referred to as bull and bear markets. But the volatility and magnitude of these cycles in the crypto space can be significantly more pronounced. If you've been on the inside, you understand that if companies were priced in real time, their prices would fluctuate just as wildly, especially early-stage ones.

Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, has experienced several notable bull runs since its inception. The most significant bull run occurred in 2017, with Bitcoin's price surging from around $1,000 in January to nearly $20,000 by that December. This represents a staggering 1,900% increase in just one year. The S&P 500, a benchmark for the traditional stock market, has experienced bull markets lasting an average of 3.8 years since 1932, with an average cumulative return of 140%.

The pandemic ushered in another considerable bull run, when retail investors flooded the market with free time and stimulus checks, and pushed Bitcoin all the way to a peak of $64,000. In early 2024,  U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) approved the first U.S.-listed Bitcoin Spot Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs), allowing more traditional investors to get exposure without opening a crypto wallet. At the time of writing, Bitcoin is back up at $67,000 and Ethereum at $3,600, and with sentiment riding high once more, it’s clear that we’ve entered another bull run.

The intensity and frequency of cryptocurrency bull runs can be attributed to several factors, including the developing nature of the market, the 24/7 trading cycle, and the highly speculative and emotional behavior of market participants. As journalist Daniel Roberts, my guest on this week’s episode of Contrarian, pointed out, "crypto is part of no one's everyday life unless they're intentionally going to Crypto Island. It's not something you're gonna run into." This reminds us that cryptocurrency investing is still a relatively niche activity, primarily driven by individuals actively seeking exposure to this asset class.

Understanding the dynamics of bull runs is crucial for new investors entering the cryptocurrency space. The allure of quick profits during these periods can be tempting, but it is essential to recognize the inherent risks and volatility associated with investing in cryptocurrencies. The beauty of a liquid market is that people think they can sell all their Bitcoin and ETH and put it in one coin that I might mention on the phone, which is not even an applicable strategy in the sense of what we're doing behind the scenes or what I'm doing with my portfolio. This underscores the importance of conducting thorough research, diversifying one's portfolio, and maintaining a long-term perspective when navigating cryptocurrency bull runs.

In this article we get into the mechanics and characteristics of crypto bull runs, in the hopes of helping you grab it safely by the horns. If you’re interested in watching the full video-interview with Daniel, check it out here:

The Psychology of FOMO in Crypto Bull Runs

FOMO is a powerful force that drives many investors to make rash decisions during cryptocurrency bull runs. As prices skyrocket and media coverage intensifies, the pressure to act quickly can be overwhelming, leading to impulsive trades and increased risk-taking. However, this behavior often stems from a lack of understanding of the underlying technology and the projects.

To make truly informed investment decisions in the crypto space, diving deep into the ecosystem and genuinely understanding each project's value proposition is absolutely essential. We’re talking 40-60 hours of research per week, for at least a year or two. This also requires a contrarian approach, ignoring short-term price fluctuations and focusing on long-term potential. Experienced investors and fund managers understand the importance of thorough research, portfolio diversification, and a patient, disciplined mindset. Newer, less experienced investors often do not.

The crypto industry's communication style, which often relies on technical jargon and inside jokes, is hindering mainstream adoption. By framing crypto assets as early-stage startups, we can draw parallels to the venture capital world, where value is built over time. This narrative shift could help bridge the gap between the crypto community and traditional finance, fostering greater understanding and legitimacy.

Ultimately, the key to navigating the emotional rollercoaster of crypto bull runs is maintaining a level head and resisting the urge to get caught up in the hype. By staying focused on the fundamentals, conducting thorough research, and maintaining a long-term perspective, investors can avoid the pitfalls of FOMO and make more rational, informed decisions. In the wild west of crypto, it's essential to remember that slow and steady often wins the race.

If you’re excited by the returns that crypto can provide but not excited for the amount of diligence and work that is required to make informed investment decisions, shoot me an email at to discuss managing your capital in the space.

The Evolution of Media Narratives in Crypto Bull Runs

In the early stages of crypto adoption, media coverage was often skeptical and dismissive, focusing on the speculative nature of the market and the potential for scams and fraudulent activities. This negative coverage likely contributed to the hesitancy of many traditional investors to enter the space while also fueling the sense of exclusivity and counterculture appeal that attracted early adopters.

However, media narratives have shifted as crypto bull runs have gained momentum and mainstream attention. The 2017 Bitcoin bull run, in particular, marked a turning point in media coverage, with major publications and news networks providing daily updates on soaring prices and the growing number of investors jumping on the bandwagon. This increased visibility likely contributed to the FOMO that drove many new investors to enter the market, further fueling the bull run.

As the crypto market has matured and experienced subsequent bull runs, media coverage has become more nuanced and diverse. While some outlets continue to emphasize the speculative nature of the market and the potential for bubbles and crashes, others have begun to explore the underlying technology and its potential applications beyond pure investment. The growing institutional interest in cryptocurrencies has also lent credibility to the asset class, leading to more balanced and informed media coverage.

Despite these evolutions, media narratives continue to play a significant role in shaping investor sentiment during crypto bull runs. Positive coverage and stories of overnight millionaires can fuel FOMO and lead to an influx of new investors, while negative coverage and warnings of bubbles and crashes can contribute to market volatility and sell-offs. As such, investors must approach media coverage critically, seeking diverse perspectives and basing their investment decisions on thorough research and a long-term outlook rather than short-term hype and speculation.

Evaluating Crypto Projects: Market Fit & User Acquisition

During a crypto bull run, investors must look beyond the hype and carefully evaluate the fundamentals of the projects they are considering. One crucial factor to assess is the project's product-market fit, which refers to the degree to which a product or service satisfies a strong market demand. In crypto, a project with a strong product-market fit addresses a real-world problem or need, has a clear target audience, and offers a compelling solution that sets it apart from competitors.

Projects without a clear product-market fit are at a higher risk of failure, regardless of their short-term price performance. These projects may generate initial excitement and attract investment based on speculative potential. Still, they are unlikely to achieve long-term success without a solid foundation of real-world utility and demand. To evaluate a project's product-market fit, investors should carefully research the problem the project aims to solve, assess the strength of its target market, and compare its solution to existing alternatives. By focusing on projects with demonstrated market demand and a competitive edge, investors can reduce risk exposure and position themselves for long-term gains.

Another trap during crypto bull runs is the prevalence of incentivized user acquisition strategies, such as airdrops and points systems. These tactics can effectively generate short-term buzz and attract users but often fail to create genuine, long-lasting engagement. Projects that rely heavily on incentives to drive adoption may experience a surge in activity during the initial distribution phase. Still, this growth can quickly evaporate once the rewards dry up.

To avoid falling victim to projects with unsustainable user acquisition strategies, investors should prioritize projects with organic growth and real-world utility. Look for evidence of genuine user adoption, such as active community engagement, partnerships with established brands, and a growing ecosystem of developers and applications. Projects that demonstrate real value and staying power beyond the initial hype and speculation are more likely to weather market fluctuations and deliver long-term returns. By taking a discerning approach and focusing on projects with strong product-market fit and sustainable user growth, investors can navigate the complexities of crypto bull runs with greater confidence and success.

Again, if you’re excited by the returns that crypto can provide but not excited for the amount of diligence and work that is required to make informed investment decisions, shoot me an email at to discuss managing your capital in the space.

Strategies for Navigating Crypto Bull Runs as a New Investor

Cryptocurrency bull runs present significant opportunities and risks, particularly for new investors. To navigate these market cycles successfully, adopting a disciplined approach that prioritizes risk management, thorough research, and a long-term perspective is crucial.

Diversification helps mitigate risk by spreading exposure across various assets and sectors. Conducting thorough due diligence, looking beyond surface-level hype, and utilizing reliable information sources are essential for making informed decisions. Maintaining a long-term perspective and emotional discipline is vital to weathering market volatility.

By embracing these strategies and maintaining a disciplined, informed approach, new investors can successfully navigate the challenges and opportunities of crypto bull runs. As the market matures, those who prioritize fundamental analysis, risk management, and a long-term outlook will be best positioned to reap the rewards of crypto.

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