The bitcoin price crashed below $200 on the CoinDesk USD Bitcoin Price Index earlier today, dropping to $179.13 before rebounding.
Unsurprisingly, the price collapse has set off a whirlwind of conversation about the future of the bitcoin network, both within and outside the community.
Regular bitcoiners have been reeling at what the news means for their digital currency holdings, while traders have welcomed the return to volatility and exchange volumes have surged to their highest levels since November 2014.
At press time the price stood at $184.
While the $200 mark is likely a significant mental threshold for many bitcoin investors, the lower price is also notable, as it comes in just under ¥1,000 Chinese yuan – the currency credited with being involved in over half of the total bitcoin trade.
Acknowledging the extreme price movements, prominent figures from within the bitcoin community took to Twitter to share their thoughts.
With prices dropping but difficulty still high, many miners are at crisis point.
Author and advocate Andreas Antonopoulos sent out the following prophetic tweet two days ago.
Evolution of the dynamic difficulty of bitcoin mining as the price declines and profits turn into losses. A difficulty plateau coming?
— AndreasMAntonopoulos (@aantonop) January 12, 2015
His tweet, although brief, created a flurry of debate among his followers:
— Barry Silbert (@barrysilbert) January 13, 2015
Silbert’s blunt message was followed by one from Roger Ver, a prominent investor in various bitcoin startups, who referenced the Silk Road Trial’s possible effect on the price fluctuation.
I suspect the Bitcoin price has been dropping in anticipation of the Feds selling 100K more bitcoins in light of the #SilkRoadTrial news.
— Roger Ver (@rogerkver) January 14, 2015
The Wall Street Journal‘s tech columnist, Christopher Mims, was quick to link the effect of recent events elsewhere in the financial world and the price decline.
This morning there was panic selling in copper-linked stocks, the Ruble and Bitcoin. The connection is obvious.
— Christopher Mims (@mims) January 14, 2015
Marc van der Chijs, a big bitcoin believer, seemed to be monitoring the situation closely.
— Marc van der Chijs (@chijs) January 14, 2015
Some even saw the funny side, with Erol Kazan, a technology and digital platform expert, sharing a humorous take on the affairs.
Bitcoin today pic.twitter.com/wlxxeBiusI
— Erol Kazan (@ErolKazan) January 14, 2015
Charlie Shrem, former BitInstant CEO and Payza consultant, predicted that things are likely to get far worse.
— Charlie Shrem (@CharlieShrem) January 14, 2015
To keep things in perspective, Antonopoulos reflected on the fact that bitcoin will continue to work as a payment system regardless of its price drop.
I first got really excited about bitcoin when it was $5 each. It worked then. It works now, plus 500 startups and $250m in seed capital
— AndreasMAntonopoulos (@aantonop) January 14, 2015
Image by Tom Sharkey for CoinDesk