If you zoom right into the all-time Bitcoin price chart, it’s easy to get disheartened at recent prices. After all, if you take the performance of the number one digital asset from the start of the year to today, the graph is one of a steady decline.
However, zoom right out, and it’s difficult to argue with the general trajectory. Sure, it’s not straight up, but find an asset that doesn’t have corrections from time to time. Markets get overextended and need to let off a little (or a lot of) steam. That’s all we’re seeing right now from Bitcoin (BTC). In terms of fundamentals, the asset has never been stronger.
It’s certainly not ideal to have bought it in the $7,000 – $19,000 range. However, you have only lost anything if you sell. Here’s hoping you took the advice of literally everyone in the space – don’t invest more than you can afford to lose.
In a bear market such as the one we’re currently experiencing, it would be a good idea to remind folks of the swingy past of Bitcoin and how it always ends up going the direction we all hope it will do.
The Early Days
In the early days, Bitcoin (BTC) was valued way below a dollar. In fact, it’s difficult to say how much it was “worth” because no one was buying and selling it. People would swap many thousands of Bitcoins for software on cryptography forums or just send them around to each other to marvel at the beauty and simplicity of the blockchain.
The lack of miners on the network meant that the difficulty of adding blocks to the chain was incredibly low. This enabled the very first converts to successfully mine Bitcoin using their laptops and desktops.
In February of 2011, the Silk Road dark web marketplace was launched. Bitcoin was the favored currency on the site. Later in the year, mass attention was brought to the Silk Road and Bitcoin from both Gawker magazine and Senator Charles Schumer. As well as these developments, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and WikiLeaks started to accept Bitcoin in 2011 too.
It was in February that the price first broke a dollar. By June, there was a buying of Bitcoin like there had never been before. The price shot from around $0.30 on January 1 to a then-massive $29 on June 8. It then dramatically corrected and fell sharply down to around $2.20. Many claimed “Bitcoin was dead” – does any of this sound familiar?
The bear market lasted until November of 2011. It then started to increase again. It did so slowly throughout 2012.
The First Mass-Media Attention
Although many blogs and websites had covered Bitcoin as we moved in 2013, there had been no true mass-media attention yet. This would change quickly, however. As 2013 started, the price of Bitcoin was around $12.50. By April, it had surged to $266. This was largely driven by positive news events that were beginning to creep more into the mainstream. An attempted hard fork and some issues with the largest exchange at the time, Mt. Gox, stopped the price from going truly parabolic at this time, however.
These were just minor hiccups. As 2013 rolled along, more positive news came. Many more companies began to accept Bitcoin as a means of payment. Even one university allowed students to pay their fees using Bitcoin. Moreover, several courts deemed Bitcoin a unit of account. This legitimized Bitcoin for many. Although most still hadn’t heard about Bitcoin at this point, those who had were sufficiently excited to send the asset into full-blown bubble territory. In later November, Bitcoin’s price crossed $1,000 for the first time. By December 4, it hit its then-all-time high of $1,147.
The euphoria didn’t last, however. On December 5, The People’s Bank of China announced that they were banning all Chinese institutions from using Bitcoin. This caused panic in the market and the price suddenly dropped.
To add to this, Mt. Gox experienced massive difficulties themselves. This would result in the largest exchange declaring itself bankrupt. Understandably, many who had lost the investments they’d kept stored on the site were reluctant to get back into the market and reports surrounding this news event further soured the general feeling in the market.
The Multi-Year Bears
Bitcoin fell out of the mainstream news again for the next couple of years. Although more companies declared interest in accepting Bitcoin, the price continued to fall. Over the course of 2014 and into 2015, it tumbled all the way back to about $230 a coin and stayed around this price until it began to build momentum again in the second part of 2016. The price continued to increase into 2017.
A Bullish 2017
A fresh wave of optimism hit the cryptocurrency markets in 2017. Bitcoin (BTC) started the year at around $1,000. Positive news events like a temporary end to the scaling debate with the SegWit upgrade activation in summer spurred this on. There were plenty of others too. Japan legislated to accept Bitcoin as a legal payment method, those who felt that Bitcoin needed larger blocks were finally able to leave the community and form their own with Bitcoin Cash, and the CBOE and CME futures contracts looked to legitimize cryptocurrency investment for institutional money managers. The price surged throughout 2017 on all this news and more. At times, it corrected slightly on negative events such as China’s September hostility towards digital currencies. However, the trend was unmistakably upwards.
In the latter part of 2017, the price of Bitcoin really caught mass media attention. Every week giants like CNBC, Bloomberg, and Business Insider had news pieces on recent all-time highs for the asset. This caused a strong sense of “fear of missing out” amongst inexperienced investors hearing about Bitcoin for the first or second time. It was the “dumb money” of these novice investors that sent Bitcoin into parabolic territory in November and December. It actually rocketed from around $10,000 on December 1 all the way up to its current all-time high of a few hundred dollars off $20,000 by the 17th.
This Year and the Future
December 17 is still Bitcoin’s all-time high point. The following day, the CME futures contracts were launched. Those used to the volatile nature sold just before the launch. Many of those who piled into Bitcoin in November and December saw what should have been a slight correction in the price and sold up too. This caused the price to drop suddenly, causing more people to sell up and thus drop the price even more.
Since December 2017, there has been little but good news for Bitcoin. There are renewed hopes for the SEC licensed exchange traded fund, there is greater regulatory clarity around the world, and the development of the Lightning Network as well as Liquid Network continues. However, the market is still smarting from being burned so badly at the start of the year. It remains unclear if we truly have reached the bottom of the crash, although the rate of bleeding seems to have slowed considerably.
So, what of the future? Many analysts still hold that new all-time highs are coming this year. Fundstrat’s Tom Lee remains bullish and TenX CEO Julian Hosp maintains that a $60,000 Bitcoin is still possible. Meanwhile, the Winklevoss twins that own the Gemini exchange platform firmly believe that a multi-trillion-dollar market cap is in Bitcoin’s future. However, as we move into the second part of 2018, the Bitcoin (BTC) price will need to do some rather spectacular things as it did last year if these predictions are to come true.