For the last couple of months Bitcoin has been on a tear, and as it grabbed more and more headlines I’ve heard more and more of the same. “I should have bought Bitcoin when you first told me about it, now its at $1,000!” seemed to be an all too common statement. A certain euphoria ensues following these dramatic price increases and more and more people ask where can I get some?
Yet when the price suddenly drops, and Bitcoin levels out, the questions cease. The euphoria is gone and the would be newcomers abandon their pursuit of Bitcoin as it “just doesn’t look that good right now.” But here’s the thing, Bitcoin looks great right now. Buying a week or so ago at an all-time high would have been considered by many to be an ill-advised investment. On the other hand this recent low doesn’t look too bad.
Last Time ’round
In April of this year Bitcoin suddenly found itself in the spotlight as it began to gain acceptance by a number of new and large businesses. What followed was a dramatic increase in price. Where it had been steadily trading at around $12-$14 months earlier, Bitcoin rose quickly to a price of $260+ dropping back down and eventually settling around $100 for the next several months. Now if you were to just consider where Bitcoin’s price had come from, $12 to $100, you’d see it had had a huge increase. However, that doesn’t generate as many pageviews and ad impressions as focusing on short-term price drops.
What’s Driving This
An increase in trading volume on Chinese markets has been seen as driving much of the most recent gains in Bitcoin’s price. Zero fee trading coupled with certain Chinese-US economic dynamics resulted in a large increase in price via the Chinese Bitcoin markets. However, recent statements made by certain Chinese government agencies that assert that Chinese currency can’t be openly traded on exchanges for Bitcoin, are leading to a large sell off in China. Bitcoin had become a sort of new investment vehicle for some in China, which these assertions seem to be putting an end to.
Conversely government bodies in the United States, as well as some other western governments, seem to be taking a cautioned yet more welcoming approach to the cryptocurrency. In any event, the short term trend is a sharp decrease in price following bad news in China. The Chinese markets are still well below their counterparts elsewhere in the world, and are likely to continue to drag them down. For the time being at least, Bitcoin is not all the rage in China.
Personally I enjoy the period between Bitcoin rushes. When Bitcoin is rising dramatically, as it has been in recent weeks, the major Bitcoin communities become inundated with short-term profit seekers as well as a deluge of trolls. Conversely, the majority of the time the major Bitcoin communities are relatively calm places with groups of developers and entrepreneurs collaborating on new projects. The news is more relevant as sensational and often poorly written content gives way to more informed discussion. To put it bluntly, I’m looking forward to the coming calm so we can get back to the business of building new things into and around Bitcoin.
I don’t often speculate as to the price of Bitcoin on this site. My primary goals are to inform others of how to use cryptographic technologies and to experiment with them myself. In fact this is only the second such post I’ve made regarding when might be a good time to buy Bitcoin (The other having been just after the April high). With that said I have no crystal ball, and can’t say that Bitcoin is at the lowest price it will be at over the next several days/weeks/months. It may very well be that Bitcoin goes lower, or that some unexpected good news comes along and it goes much higher.
However, Bitcoin still does appear to be a good bet in the long term. Having emerged from recent government hearings labelled (mostly) as being a potentially important financial technology is a very strong indicator for the long term. What’s more is that there are many startups as well as traditional businesses seeking to do business in Bitcoin, and use its unique attributes to create a host of new services and products. While Bitcoin’s price has good reason to be down in the short term (i.e. Chinese sell off), there are also many indicators it will be strong in the long term.
As always I’d advise that you do your own research before investing large sums of money into any endeavor, especially very new technologies. And remember, you don’t have to invest in whole Bitcoins, even just a few bitcents or millibits gets you in the game!
And in case you were wondering… Where and How to Purchase Bitcoin