The Bitcoin (BTC -0.60%) bears are out in force. With the digital currency trading around $16,900, fears of more FTX contagion, recession, inflation, and China geopolitical risk could push it down past $15,000. Understandably, even the most die-hard buy-the-dip Bitcoin investors are getting concerned right now.

Right now, $16,900 represents a significant retreat from a previous support level of $20,000 that Bitcoin maintained over the summer. So far, so good. As long as you're buying it now, you're still buying the dip. But now comes the big moment of truth: Do you buy if it drops below $15,000?

The worst-case scenario for Bitcoin

Until the FTX market contagion, $15,500 was supposed to be the worst-case scenario for Bitcoin. But then came FTX, and now there's a new worst-case scenario: $6,000. This would represent a huge 65% decline from current levels, and would inevitably bring out more Bitcoin bears. It would also lead to a final mass surrender and run to the exits from its investors, or a total market capitulation.

Gold Bitcoins on a stock trading screen.

Image source: Getty Images.

Previous Bitcoin bear markets have required this panic before Bitcoin could hit a final bottom. In short, there needs to be a point of such intense pain in the crypto market that even the most stoic Bitcoin investor decides to wave the white flag. Most likely, the market needs one last final move downward to get total, full capitulation. Only when Bitcoin hits a final bottom can we expect to see another long-term rally.

Buy the dip -- and the double-dip

The silver lining in all this is that Bitcoin at $6,000 would still be double the 2018 bear market bottom. If you are buying it at $6,000, then, you would be setting yourself up for some potential exciting price gains in the coming months.

For example, consider the price projections of California-based crypto hedge fund Pantera Capital. It has set a price target of $149,000 for Bitcoin, based on its expected performance around its next halving event, scheduled for 2024. According to this model, Bitcoin will hit rock bottom by the end of 2022, to be followed by a gradual recovery in 2023, before a huge acceleration in gains by 2024. Pantera Capital projects the crypto will hit $36,000 by 2024 before skyrocketing to $149,000 afterward.

Granted, this price projection of $149,000 is probably at the high end of the range of what most investors are expecting. But even if Bitcoin only retraces its path to $20,000, investors who buy this bottom would be looking at incredible gains. This might not be highly probable, but it is certainly in the range of possibilities; Bitcoin was still trading near $20,000 in mid-June after the first market downturn triggered by Terra Luna (LUNA -2.42%).

Bear market millionaires

There is a popular saying in crypto circles: "Bear markets are where millionaires are made." That's when normal, everyday investors are able to scoop up valuable crypto assets at rock-bottom prices. Buying Bitcoin at $6,000 and then waiting patiently for it to appreciate in price to $149,000 is the type of investing move that could make you a millionaire. 

Yes, this is a very risky investment strategy, especially given the crypto's historical volatility. And, yes, you will need to buy and hold through some real pain for it to work. The final market capitulation for Bitcoin will be head-spinning and stomach-churning. But when that day comes -- when every one of your neighbors says you're crazy for investing in Bitcoin -- that's when the market will be at an absolute bottom.

Total capitulation in the crypto market sounds terrible, except that it's not. It's just a feature of the system. It helps to remove all selling pressure from the marketplace. All risk-averse investors are replaced by risk-tolerant and risk-seeking investors, and the market has no place to go but up. That's why I remain long-term bullish on Bitcoin. I'm buying the dip -- and I'm especially buying the double-dip when it drops below $15,000.