2016 may have been a dynamic year for the price of bitcoin, but 2017 is shaping up to be a dramatic one already.
Bitcoin's race past $1,000 (and subsequent gyrations above and below that line) have already sparked headlines (both good and bad) worldwide, as today's dramatic fall from above $1,100 drove a massive influx of interest in the the digital currency.
If you’re just tuning in to the action, you may be wondering how things got to this point in the first place.
Here's the blow-by-blow for 2017 thus far:
Bitcoin tops $1,000
The year got started with a bang on 1st January, when the price of bitcoin crossed the $1,000 mark.
After spending the day approaching that level – climbing as high as $999 before settling back down – the price climbed to its then-highest point since January 2014.
The movement was notable given less-than-average trade volume figures at the time. Conversely, in the days before, bitcoin prices had approached (but not quite exceeded) $1,000.
Bitcoin eyes all-time highs
Things began heating up within a few short days.
As reported by CoinDesk on 4th January, early trading this week saw the digital currency’s price drift ever higher after crossing the $1,000 line.
A high of $1,060 meant that the price was inching closer to its all-time high of $1,165.89, reached on 30th November, 2013, according to data from the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index (BPI).
It was during this time as well that mainstream media sources, including The New York Times and The Washington Post began taking note, which continues to today
Bitcoin closes in
The price, as may be expected, continued to climb that day.
Bitcoin shot above the $1,100 line in late-day trading on 4th January, quickly spiking to as much as $1,129.28 before settling back. CNY-denominated markets saw sharp gains that day as well, surging more than 23%.
A notable development at that point was the emergence of sell-side pressure in markets like Bitfinex.
As reported at the time, there were more sell orders than buy orders between the $1,137 and $1,140 – potentially foreshadowing the developments to come.
Sell orders slow rally
4th January continued to surprise with heightened volatility, with markets seeing some of the day’s gains lost before re-reaching them once more as trading continued.
The day saw prices climb as high as $1,141.05 during the session, the highest total since 5th December, 2013, according to BPI data. Yet prices fell as low as $1,087.53 before climbing once more, signaling that there could be more volatility to come.
It was here that at least some observers – who previously had indicated broadly bullish sentiment – began to suspect that a market pullback was on the horizon.
Bitcoin bounces back
Today, opened with significant gains, as the price climbed as high as $1,153.02 – well within striking distance of the all-time BPI high.
As reported this morning, the market behavior seen seemed to follow a pattern previously exhibited the day prior. That is to say, sharp movements upward before consolidation.
One noticeable change was a shift to more buy orders on exchanges like Bitfinex, potentially signaling that the price of bitcoin would climb even further.
Bitcoin pulls back
This morning’s dramatic price plunge, however, would cast a shadow on those bullish sentiments.
Just hours after climbing closer to the all-time high set in 2013, market averages suddenly tumbled. Markets had been fluctuating between the $1,080 and $1,070 lines, according to BPI data, before falling to as low as $887.47.
Overall, USD-denominated markets fell as much 23%, with CNY-denominated markets tumbling more than 15% as well.
However, in the hours since, the price of bitcoin has recovered. At press time, the average market price is $978.25.
Developers keep on working
Of course, we'd be remiss to note that bitcoin is an open-source technology – meaning, tweaks to its core protocol are ongoing.
Amidst all the ups and downs, a number of bug fixes were released that showcase how bitcoin could continue to evolve and become more useful, even in the face of challenges.
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