Although cryptocurrencies have traditionally had rather volatile values, bitcoin’s has been near unprecedented over the past few months. It went from being worth $1,000 at the start of 2017, to $5,000 in November, to close to $20,000 just over a month later — prompting many to ask whether the cryptocurrency bubble is about to burst. It’s since fallen and has fluctuated between $12,000 and $16,000 in the weeks that followed, but today’s dip is the largest we’ve seen in some time.
At the time of writing, a single bitcoin is worth around $9,900, representing a fall of nearly $3,000 in the last 24 hours alone. The start of this latest crash took place on Monday, January 15, where it began to tumble from just under $14,000. It’s bounced up and down since then but slowly trended down to the low point of $9,430, according to Coindesk.
This latest drop has also pulled down some of the other most successful cryptocurrencies. Ethereum, the No. 2 cryptocurrency in the world, lost more than 20 percent of its value in the last 24 hours, dipping to $870 per ether at the time of writing. Ripple has followed suit, with a near 25 percent correction and litecoin is at its lowest rate in months.
Some of this downturn has lead to some sad stories appearing on social media. Those who spent more than they could afford to lose during the December peak are now watching their investments dwindle and disappear. We would always recommend you do your reading before investing anything in something as volatile as cryptocurrencies, and only invest what you can afford to lose.
That said, not everyone has lost hope. If you look at segments of the web like the bitcoin subreddit, most simply see this as a great time to invest. Graph comparisons of bitcoin’s rise and fall over the past few years have shown that historic peaks are usually followed by seemingly catastrophic drops in return, only to gradually increase to new heights again in the following months.
Considering bitcoin hit a peak of $10,000 at the start of December, few long-term investors are concerned about a return to that still heady value.