Bitcoin prices appeared to rally a bit Monday afternoon after a prolonged slide that sent largest cryptocurrency by market cap tumbling 80 percent below its all-time high. Going into the Thanksgiving weekend, bitcoin had already taken a beating, with the price dipping below $5,000 per coin for the first time since last October.
At one point, bitcoin was down more than 40 percent for the month, according to a reading from Marketwatch, enough to mark a 14 month low. By around 2 p.m. it appeared to have leveled out a bit, hovering around $3,800 per coin, according to CoinMarketCap.
Bitcoin’s slide was confusing because it continued despite some encouraging signals from news that broke over the holiday. Though there are still lots of kinks to work out, payments processors and vendors are getting closer to figuring out how to process crypto transactions on a large scale. Even decidedly non-innovative entities like tax collectors have started to accept bitcoin payments, with the state of Ohio notably becoming one of the first major jurisdictions to let businesses pay some of their taxes in bitcoin.
Large scale mining operations have also started to take their chips off the table, reported Bloomberg, which paradoxically may have been good individual miners and even the system as a whole assuming the miners throwing in the towel free up room for better, more committed operations to take their place.
Has Bitcoin Finally Emerged From Its Rout?
While it has overtones of a publicity stunt — in an interview about the decision, Ohio’s Treasurer said it was important for the state to be perceived as a leader in Blockchain — Ohio’s decision to accept bitcoin for some tax payments is something of a watershed moment. For one, it could finally help put to rest the lingering perception that crypto is still largely the domain of aggressive libertarians and law-breakers. Letting businesses pay taxes in bitcoin might also incentivize them to begin accepting bitcoin payments from consumers, too.
Bitcoin proponents still seem to think that the rout could get better before it gets worse. Union Ventures’ Fred Wilson recently wrote a blog post about the topic suggesting as much, drawing the oft-repeated comparison to the dotcom crash which pounded now venerable internet companies like Amazon to the brink of extinction.
“Most everyone in big companies wrote the Internet sector off, cancelling their Internet efforts as a fool’s errand,” Wilson wrote. “But those who stayed were rewarded.”
Then again, the fate of bitcoin speculators may have less to do with its adoption or progress than it does with the fate of the economy as a whole. Bitcoin’s travails have notably mirrored a tough month for the technology industry as a whole, indicated by a corresponding slide in tech stocks. That could suggest that bitcoin’s price is just as susceptible to swings in optimism about emerging industries as a whole as it is the other factors — its newness, its 24/7 trading cycle, its decentralization — that already make trading bitcoin a wild ride.