The bitcoin bonanza failed to carry into the new year as the much-vaunted cryptocurrency lost more than a third of value in just a few days of trading.
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Bitcoin investors lost almost a third of their money while they celebrated over the holiday.
Bitcoin prices peaked at $19,343 on December 16, but collapsed to $12,629 by December 30, although the virtual currency has recovered to $16,016 in the intervening time.
A year ago, bitcoin was worth just over $900, which has meant blistering growth in 2017 punctuated by equally as shattering falls in value.
Analysts expect bitcoin to rally over the weekend to perhaps break the $18,000 ceiling again.
The highs and lows of bitcoin are giving investors a rollercoaster ride as their fortunes rise and fall with the market throughout the day.
Bitcoin trading is characterised by heady highs and fast falls from grace.
Someone holding 1,000 bitcoins in January 2017 would have cryptocurrency on deposit worth $905,000.
This shot up to $19.34 million in December, when bitcoin peaked, but has dropped to $16 million over the past few days.
Guessing when to cash in those chips can make a significant impact on someone’s wealth in a matter of hours.
How many bitcoin billionaires are out there?
Some suggest around 200, although this seems rather a high estimate considering that the bitcoin market capitalisation is only $235 billion.
The real figure is likely much lower – perhaps between 30 and 50.
No one really knows who is making money from bitcoin. Transactions are confidential, and many investors have several accounts that are not cross-linked to avoid alerting tax authorities.
Chances are the bitcoin feeding frenzy has spawned few wealthy investors, but a lot of would-be fortune seekers have lost money big time chasing their dream.
In a strange week, the Bank of England has pulled out of developing a cryptocurrency fearing that such a move could undermine the UK banking system, while Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has redoubled his country’s efforts to introduce one to avoid the impact of economic sanctions.
Other countries are known to be investigating whether to take their currencies online, but so far no one has had the courage to lead the way.
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