Bitcoin has always been subject to price volatility ever since it first appeared; a more recent development in the story of the world’s first and most famous cryptocurrency is reputation volatility, a factor which seems to have become especially prominent since the beginning of 2017. In that year bitcoin enjoyed success after success; the price rose through the psychologically significant $10,000 barrier and then in December, the $20,000 barrier. Futures in the cryptocurrency were proposed, various other signs of corporate acceptance appeared to be in the offing, and there was a torrent of positive publicity. It was in 2017 that people first began to talk about the inevitability of the success of this virtual currency.
If we move forward only two short months we find a very different picture. Bitcoin is no longer being spoken of as sure-fire success; in fact, is said to be dying or actually dead. The voices of caution active even in the 2017 year of miracles, who spoke of bubbles and even used the word ‘fraud’ on occasion, seem to have been vindicated as bitcoin loses 25% of its value in just three days. Observers compare what has happened to the dot-com bubble of the early years of the new millennium. We must, however, ask ourselves whether the voices of doom are any more accurate than the super-optimists were in 2017.
In fact, there is a cause for saying that bitcoin could be a good investment in early 2018, though this statement would have to be hedged about with many provisos. The sort of investor who helped the price of bitcoin sky-rocket in 2017 will probably not find the cryptocurrency to be an attractive investment now or in the near future. They may well have bought the cryptocurrency in the hope of tripling or quadrupling their investments in a few weeks, and they may also have been motivated by the Fear Of Missing Out or FOMO factor. Many of these investors have suffered losses and will not be back anytime soon.
However, there are many other sorts of investors. The true believer in the philosophy behind cryptocurrencies, who hopes to see nationless currencies without borders, owned by the users and not beholden to the political decisions of Central Banks, may well be relieved to see the back of the FOMO crowd. Similarly, the people who believe in the Blockchain technology behind bitcoin will not have had their faith destroyed, though they may well be suffering hardships from the abrupt correction in prices. Then there are the investors who use bitcoin to balance their portfolios, relying on the atypical behaviour of the cryptocurrency, in the same way, that others use gold to diversify their portfolios, may also feel that, now the dust has settled they can get back to using their favourite cryptocurrency in the way they did before the bubble. In fact, it may be a good idea to buy bitcoin, but make sure you have the right reasons to do so.
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