ORDecember 17 The bitcoin price on CoinMarketCap, a cryptocurrency exchange, was approaching $ 20,000. True believers hoped it was only the beginning. An analyst at a Danish investment bank predicted that the bitcoin could be worth $ 100,000 by the end of 2018. The year is not yet finished. But how L & # 39; economist it went into print, the bitcoin price was $ 4,223, and it tended to go down (see chart). Where bitcoin goes, other cryptocurrencies follow. Ether, the second most popular cryptocurrency, drops from $ 1,432 in January to $ 120 today.
All this marks the deflation of the third bubble of the cryptocurrency (the others were in 2011 and 2013). The trigger is not clear. Explaining the movements of deep and liquid markets is difficult at the best of times. The cryptocurrency markets are neither one nor the other. A popular theory is that the offer of brave buyers willing to take a punt has now been exhausted.
Regulatory interest may be another reason. Cryptocurrencies have long been a haven for scammers. Now the law has begun to pay attention. The Justice Department of America is investigating price manipulation in cryptocurrencies, which is widely considered widespread.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), another American regulator, is studying several initial offers of coins (ICOS). This is a cash-flow rally that sells cryptocurrencies to investors, who hope that their value will increase in the future; they raised $ 7.3 billion this year. Some ICOThese are definitive scams, in which companies vanish once the tokens have been sold. But also honest ICOs could be illegal. On November 8th the SEC appointed the founder of EtherDelta, an exchange of cryptocurrency, with the management of an unregistered stock exchange.
In general, bitcoin is still far from its notional goal of becoming a digital alternative to ordinary money. The technical weakness and the volatility that makes it attractive to speculators means that it is difficult to use bitcoins to actually buy things. Morgan Stanley, a bank, found that only three of the 500 largest online retailers accepted it in 2017, compared to five in the previous year.
Bettors will be wondering how much lower the price may be. Nobody knows, but hope is born eternal. Smartereum, a cryptocurrency website, is seriously discussing whether the bitcoin could rebound to $ 50,000, or even $ 100,000, before the year is exhausted. Caveat emptor.