December 8, 2017
Amid warnings of bubbles and infernos, currency hits new high of $16,660, crashes, then recovers to $15,350 as London closed
Bitcoin rounded off a week of frenzied investor speculation with a day of whipsaw trading that knocked nearly 20% off its value at one point, but still left the cryptocurrency changing hands at more than $15,000 (£11,000).
The currency, which was likened to Dante’s Inferno by one senior banker this week, rocketed to a new high of $16,660 overnight before slumping to $13,482 by midday on Friday. As the London markets were closing, bitcoin had recovered some of its losses to trade at $15,350 – having started the week at $10,875 and the year at $966.
Bitcoin is the first, and the biggest, “cryptocurrency” – a decentralised tradable digital asset. Whether it’s a bad investment is the $97bn question (literally, since that’s the current value of all bitcoins in existence). Bitcoin can only be used as a medium of exchange and in practice has been far more important for the dark economy than it has for most legitimate uses. The lack of any central authority makes bitcoin remarkably resilient to censorship, corruption – or regulation. That means it has attracted a range of backers, from libertarian monetarists who enjoy the idea of a currency with no inflation and no central bank, to drug dealers who like the fact that it’s hard (but not impossible) to trace a bitcoin transaction back to a physical person.
Related: Everything you wanted to know about bitcoin but were afraid to ask
Source: The Guardian