Any number of events could send markets crashing downward and investors into this alternative safe-haven currency.
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- Failed Bitcoin Exchange Mt. Gox May Yet Be Revived
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- Bitcoin Prices Whipsawed by Looming China Crackdown – But Not for Long
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- Where Are the Mt. Gox Bitcoins?
Investors who live in a "five-day" world have a mighty short collective memory. In the markets, 38 days might as well be 100 years.
Certainly no one in the financial media is looking back to June 24, 2016, anymore. As you'll see, that could be a costly mistake.
Of course, that's the day after the United Kingdom's historic European Union membership referendum ended in a shocking "Leave" result, the day that saw global markets plunge by more than 5% in most cases, wiping out trillions in wealth, and sending the pound sterling to multi-decade lows.
Then again, since U.S. markets have gone on a historic rocket ride in the weeks since, with all indexes repeatedly crushing record highs, it's understandable that investors have "forgotten" the Brexit's initial shock and moved on.
Now that might be okay... if only for the fact that Britain hasn't actually done anything yet. The real Brexit - the day the UK grabs its bags and steps out of the EU's door - is yet to come, and there are ominous signs that things could get downright ugly as that day approaches. It has the potential to make the Brexit vote shock look tame by comparison.
Not only has venture capital investing in Bitcoin failed to slow even as the price of the digital currency has slumped, but now some big Wall Street names have hopped on the bandwagon.
On Tuesday Bitcoin payments and wallet platform Coinbase announced it had raised $75 million in Series C funding. That's more than double the previous amount of venture capital invested in a Bitcoin company.
But this time it wasn't just the usual Bitcoin-friendly VC firms backing Coinbase.
Now that Bitcoin has shown it can survive a variety of disasters - including an unsavory association with illegal drug buying and the bankruptcy of its biggest exchange - more investors are going to want to jump into the digital currency.
But that means figuring out how to buy bitcoins.
An investor group called Sunlot Holdings is seeking to revive the failed Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox has made a deal with the claimants in two class action lawsuits on a proposed settlement.
It's the last best chance for the 127,000 customers of Mt. Gox to recover any of their lost money, which amounted to 750,000 bitcoins.
The reason why the Bitcoin price is falling today is a familiar one: China.
After climbing back to $500 last Thursday, the Bitcoin price started to tumble on news that the People's Bank of China had privately told banks and payment companies to cease all interaction with digital currency companies such as Bitcoin exchanges.
The bankrupt Mt. Gox Bitcoin exchange took another step toward oblivion when the Tokyo District Court dismissed its application for civil rehabilitation and steered it on a path to liquidation.
That news is of concern to the 127,000 Mt. Gox customers who had money stuck in accounts there - liquidation usually reduces any restitution.
But the Japanese administrator taking over the Mt. Gox assets left open a possibility that at some point could allow the failed exchange to pay back customers.
After plunging to six-month lows, just last Friday, Bitcoin prices have rebounded 40%. And that's on a day when the Chinese Bitcoin exchanges were supposed to get cut off from their bank accounts.
It seems that, for better or for worse, events in China are driving the price of Bitcoin.
Some in the mainstream media would have you believe that most of those investing in Bitcoin are naïve and unsophisticated fools who don't recognize a bubble when they see one.
But that doesn't explain why some big names in venture capital are pouring millions of dollars into the digital currency, or why Wall Street is growing increasingly interested.
Reports that the People's Bank of China (PBOC) planned to shut down the bank accounts of Chinese Bitcoin exchanges became all too real today (Thursday), as the exchanges began receiving official notices from their respective banks.
The news sent the Bitcoin price today falling as much as 12.4% to a low of $385.32, adding to the losses that started after the first rumors leaked out several weeks ago. Bitcoin prices have fallen from more than $600 in mid-March and more than $800 at the start of the year.
The Bitcoin market ended the week as it began - trying to sort out how far the Chinese central bank will go in its crackdown on the Chinese exchanges, and how that might affect Bitcoin prices everywhere else in the world.
Mainstream Chinese news outlet Caixin Online was the first to report last week that the People's Bank of China (PBOC) was planning to force Chinese banks to close any accounts they have with Bitcoin exchanges by April 15.
In fact, pretty much all the Bitcoin stocks that have appeared so far are penny stocks. Larger start-ups, like Bitcoin ATM companies Robocoin and Lamassu, may go public at some point, but until then we're left with the Bitcoin penny stocks.
As the rumors of a crackdown by the People's Bank of China have solidified over the past few days, Bitcoin prices have been hit hard.
Last week, we told you that China's central bank was rumored to be planning to force Chinese banks to close any accounts they have with Bitcoin exchanges by April 15.
Bitcoin prices plunged this week on reports that the People's Bank of China (PBOC) was planning to block banks from providing accounts to Bitcoin-based businesses.
The CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index dropped from about $585 on Wednesday to as low as $477 on Thursday, though by Friday Bitcoin prices were hovering around the $500 level.