Bitcoin, the red-hot cryptocurrency, had a wild run in
Here’s a look back at some of the significant events
that drove big price swings in the market known for extreme
To say bitcoin had a wild 2017 would be an understatement. The
digital currency, which started the year under $1,000, has
skyrocketed by more than 1,300% to more than $14,500 by December
29 — a rise that’s grabbed the attention of Wall
That climb was marked by extreme volatility, multiple splits in
its network, and naysayers who derided it as a fraud and toy for
Yet, as we enter the new year it appears the digital currency
will continue to mature as a recognized asset class on Wall
Street. Already bitcoin futures have begun to trade on major
markets — allowing investors to bet on its price without
holding the coin itself. As for its future price, some bulls see
it going higher than $20,000 in 2018.
Here’s a look back at bitcoin’s journey in 2017:
- January 11. Anxieties over China
crackdown. Bitcoin kicked off 2017 on a negative note.
The coin got demolished
after China announced it had begun investigating bitcoin
exchanges in Beijing and Shanghai on suspicion of market
manipulation, money laundering, unauthorized financing and
other issues. The selling followed reports that the People’s
Bank of China warned investors to exercise caution when
investing in virtual currencies.
Back then, more than 90% of bitcoin trading occurred in Chinese
yuan and bears rushed the market sending bitcoin down to a low
of $786 from a high on January 3 near $1,300.
- March 10. SEC denies permission for a
bitcoin ETF. Bitcoin retested its old gains after
anxieties over China wore-off. That came to a halt when the
Securities and Exchange Commission
denied a bid for a bitcoin-linked exchange-traded fund by Tyler
and Cameron Winklevoss. The SEC
cited the fact that bitcoin is traded on unregulated markets,
which means the SEC wouldn’t be able to prevent fraud or
Bitcoin went from trading near $1,300 on March 6 to a low of
$935 on March 24.
- April 1. Japan declares bitcoin legal
currency. Some good news came in April
when Japan declared bitcoin a legal currency. At the time,
bitcoin’s year-to-date gains were only 19%. Today, Japan is
among the strongest markets for bitcoin. Forty
percent of bitcoin trading between October and November was
conducted in yen, according to a Nikkei report cited in a
note by Masao Muraki, a global financial strategist at Deutsche
- August 1. The big bitcoin split. Bitcoin
had a relatively quiet run from April to early July. That ended
when anxieties over a potential split in bitcoin’s underlying
blockchain network began to worry investors. After it hit a
high above $3,000 a coin on July 11 it slid to a low near
$1,900 on July 18. The divide was between coiners who thought
the blocks in bitcoin’s network should be bigger to process
more information and help it scale faster.
On August 1 the network split, resulting in the creation of
bitcoin cash, a sort of clone of the original
Ultimately, investors shrugged off the split and bitcoin
marched higher close to $5,000 a coin.
- September 4. China bans ICOs. Bitcoin
came crashing down after China
banned initial coin offerings on September 4. The
fundraising method is a twist on the initial public offering
process and has helped companies raise over $4 billion by
offering their own tokens, according to some estimates.
Bitcoin crashed to $3,226. But then, with the exception of a
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon called bitcoin a fraud, it was off
to the races.
Bitcoin picked up steam,
despite a wide crackdown on exchanges in China, hitting
$5,000 on October 13. By November 8 it hit close to $7,500 a
- Dec 1. CFTC approves bitcoin
futures. Bitcoin’s fall run was outdone by a
rally following the
Commodities Futures Trading Commission approval of requests
by two exchange groups, CME Group and Cboe Global Markets, to
launch bitcoin futures. The new two markets, which launched on
December 10 and 18 respectively, allow
investors to bet on the future price of bitcoin without
actually touching the coin. It has drawn in a number of
traditional players in financial services, such as brokerages
TD Ameritrade and E*Trade, into the crypto-world.
Bitcoin skyrocketed from around $10,000 a coin when the news
broke to a high just below $20,000 on December 18. It has since
corrected and is trading around $15,000. As for the future
price of the coin, Fundstrat’s Tom Lee raised his price target
for bitcoin in mid-2018 from $11,500 to $20,000.
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