Bitcoin value charts were a roller coaster this week, as the cryptocurrency broke records one moment and then fell precipitously the next. But it mostly kept climbing and climbing. As of Friday afternoon, bitcoin is up about 45 percent from Sunday morning.
Despite fears of a looming bubble burst, investors have been speculating wildly, many preparing for the Chicago Board Operations Exchange’s inauguration as the first traditional exchange to offer bitcoin futures this coming Sunday.
Here is a look back at the week in bitcoin:
It was a day of milestones as bitcoin’s value reached a record high of close to $11,800. Major outlets also began reporting that the Winklevoss twins, who famously sued Mark Zuckerberg for allegedly stealing the idea for Facebook, had become the world’s first bitcoin billionaires. They spent $11 million on the cryptocurrency in 2013, a portion of the $65 million settlement they received from the social network in 2008.
News of a coming crackdown from regulators in the European Union and United Kingdom aimed at countering the potential use of bitcoin for laundering money, evading taxes, and abetting terrorism brought the value down below $11,000.
The Security and Exchange Commission also announced charges against PlexCorps, an initial coin-offering company that manages a cryptocurrency called PlexCoin, for allegedly violating registration regulations and making unrealistic promises to investors in selling about $15 million in coins. The SEC and IRS have suggested they will be devoting more resources to monitoring cryptocurrencies and are warning investors to watch out for fraudulent offers during the craze.
Bitcoin beat its Sunday record, with its value topping $12,000, bringing the market value for the currency to around $213 billion. The Reserve Bank of India again issued a forceful warning to investors about the risks of trading the cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin’s high climbed past $14,000. But it wasn’t all positive news.
NiceHash, a service that mines bitcoins, announced that about 4,700 coins had been stolen from its digital wallet after someone hacked into its payment system, resulting in a loss of approximately $70 million. Steam, a popular game-purchasing platform, also announced that it would no longer be accepting bitcoin as payment due to high transaction fees and volatility. It once again raised the concern that bitcoin is still basically useless for making payments.
Bitcoin again broke its record, rising above $19,000, before falling more than 20 percent to about $15,000.
Coinbase, one of the most intuitive digital cryptocurrency exchanges, became the most downloaded item on Apple’s App Store chart. The app was installed more than 575,000 times in the first week of December. It was only downloaded 177,000 times in the first week of November. The influx of new users, though, caused some issues with functions such as logins. CEO Brian Armstrong warned customers that periods of high trading volume could bring more outages in the future.
Bitcoin plummeted more than $3,000 in 10 hours—from a high of about $17,000 to a low of about $14,000. By late afternoon on Friday, it had mostly hovered about $16,000. Coinbase fell down to second place on the App Store chart.
Even with the drops, early adopters are still in strong position—bitcoin was worth less than $1,000 in January—as long as they still have their passwords.