The last few months have been a roller coaster of a ride for Bitcoin investors. At its peak in December last year, a single bitcoin was worth close to $20, 000, but after a volatile first quarter to 2018, we are now seeing bitcoin trading below $7000 and hovering close to its lowest point since November 2017, having fallen more than 65 percent since its December peak Having plummeted from $11, 500 a month ago, we are now seeing a battle between the bulls and the bears for Bitcoin’s future.
At the end of the last year, massive interest in the crypto world sparked a dramatic rise in prices. This spike in prices was recently described by a Barclays economist as an ‘infection’ which has now been treated.
“We developed a theoretical model of an asset price with a pool of speculative investors and compared it with actual bitcoin price behaviour to see what it might imply for the future dynamics.”
“The model has clear parallels with compartmental models of the spread of an infectious disease in epidemiology.”
Only this week, Bloomberg reported that according to Bank of America Corp. the greatest bubble in history is now popping. On Sunday, the bank published a piece with comparisons for Bitcoin to the famous financial fads in history. Included in the comparison chart were the Mississippi Company and South Sea Company in the 18th century, the US stocks 1929, the Dutch tulip mania in 1637 and the Gold rush of the 19th century. The chart showed that the Bitcoin bubble is far greater than any financial mania bubble in history. When Bitcoin peaked, its price was almost 60 times more than three years before. To put that in perspective, Dutch tulip prices (previously considered as the biggest bubble of all time) only increased around 40 times in the same period.
However, the comparison is not entirely fair. Seven years ago, you could buy a single bitcoin for $0.10. Bitcoin’s price leapt 120-fold in 2010 and 2011, to approximately $11 a bitcoin, before falling hard and its sharp increase in 2013 and 2014 was also far steeper than the recent bullish gains.
Not everyone is agreement that the bubble is bursting. One crypto fund manager, Timothy Enneking, managing director of Crypto Asset Management, LP, said that the Bear market in the crypto world was “largely over”. As well as citing a normal price correction, Enneking also pointed out that bitcoin’s share of the overall cryptocurrency market has declined from 45.7 percent on December 20th to today’s 44.3 percent. The decline in bitcoin dominance has coincided with a decline in price.
However, what is apparent is that despite the constant stream of mixed crypto-currency news, right at this moment we have reached a stalemate between the bulls and the bears. Much will depend on regulation. Whether Bitcoin and other digital coins will be treated as commodities instead of currencies, will more than likely have a deciding factor on Bitcoins future. How long we will see this range bound trading continue, unable to break past the psychological barrier of $7500, remains to be seen. What we do know however, is that this rollercoaster will keep on going with more unpredictability and volatility ahead.