January 9, 2017
The BTC price edged toward an all-time high last week, topping $1,100. While this peak was followed by a drop related to news out of China, 2016 was a year of highs, particularly in the past few months.
The last time Bitcoin passed the $1,100 mark was in 2013, which begs comparison to last week’s rally. Both were spurred by bullish sentiment among investors and traders. And in both cases, the uptick was followed by an easing owed to developments in China.
In 2013, the BTC price reached its highest point to date during the four-month period between 6 September and 6 January. The jump was very sudden, with prices rising by more than $600 in a two-week period. BPI data show that the price stayed above $1,000 for only 10 days, and quickly dropped to the $600-$700 level.
Contrast this with the 2016-2017 rally, most notably the three months between 7 October and 7 January. Here we see a more gradual climb, which gained momentum toward the end of December, when prices approached $1,000.
Apart from price data, a look at volume data in 2013 and 2016 is also useful. It reveals two very different bitcoin ecosystems: Trading volume was much lower in 2013. Also, it was largely confined to defunct bitcoin exchange Mt Gox, which is now considered fraudulent. One might suspect price manipulation was in play.
Today bitcoin exchanges such as SpicePay serve traders and other kinds of users, including a growing number of merchants and wealthy investors. More people are exchanging Bitcoin, and with greater public interest, more people are using it. The ecosystem is more developed. Blockchain technology has become far more useful as a payment network, remittance route and investment vehicle.
Another big-picture difference is that the market is more mature. Since 2013 there has been dramatic growth in the bitcoin and blockchain industry. Geopolitical forces now have an impact on the price of bitcoin, as discussed in previous posts. Bitcoin today is a fully viable virtual currency, active and relevant in the scheme of real-world events.