The value of bitcoin has seen significant losses over the last week, following a period of relative stability. A hack on a major South Korean exchange, as well as a new study suggesting it’s 2017 highs were artificially inflated, saw the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency fall below $7,000 to a seven-month low.
The volatile cryptocurrency’s price has shifted wildly ever since mid-December – when it hit a record high of more than $19,850 (£14,214) – with frequent heavy drops and speedy recoveries. Its price plummet back to earth in January and February, as governments and central banks around the world raised the spectre of future regulation.
Bitcoin’s value plummeted again shortly before Christmas, dropping by almost $2,000 (£1,449) in just an hour at one point, and almost slipping below the $11,000 mark (£7,970).
It then bounced back, before tumbling again in mid-January, recovering again, and plummeting at the start of February before levelling out for the rest of the month.
March saw bitcoin’s price drop below $10,000, reaching a low of $6,500 before rebounding above $7,000.
Aside from the looming prospect of regulation, a series of high-profile thefts have also had a hand in the sudden rapid dips in value bitcoin and its rivals have experienced – the most recent of which was a failed raid on the Binance cryptocurrency exchange.
Google’s announcement that it would ban cryptocurrency advertising from its pages from June on the grounds that it considers it “deceptive content” was also a major blow to the sector.
Recent goings-on have demonstrated just how quickly things can change for investors.
It is worth $6,485 as of Thusday morning, according to the Coinbase exchange.
Its value is down by 0.5 per cent per cent since this time yesterday and down by about 15 per cent week-on-week. Bitcoin’s value is down by around 26 per cent from what it was one month ago.
Bitcoin’s rise last year meanwhile led to increasing amounts of interest in other digital currencies, such as ethereum, litecoin and ripple XRP – all of which have performed well recently – and more and more people are now looking to invest in digital currencies.
Numerous financial experts have advised potential investors to avoid getting involved with bitcoin, and the US Securities and Exchange Commission has told people to “exercise caution” and be wary of scammers.
But others have speculated that it could eventually rise towards the $1m (£724,549) mark.
Bitcoin has no central bank and is not linked to or regulated by any state.
An anonymised record of every bitcoin transaction is stored on a huge public ledger known as a blockchain.
However, transactions made with the cryptocurrency are irreversible, which makes investors in bitcoin attractive targets for cybercriminals.
This article is being regularly updated to reflect bitcoin’s latest value.
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