UPDATE (14th February, 08:35 GMT):
The price of bitcoin on Mt. Gox registered a daily low this morning at 03:00 GMT of $302, but has since rebounded to $383.
After a few days of shaky stability, the price of bitcoin continued to fall on 13th February across major exchanges as fear, uncertainty and doubt spread throughout the bitcoin community.
The most direct contributor to the day’s decline was the revelation that more than 4,500 BTC were reported stolen from online black market Silk Road 2.0, which failed to adequately respond to transaction malleability issues that were earlier reported by Mt. Gox, Bitstamp and other exchanges.
Message board discussions suggest that fears of a sudden sell-off by the thieves or that the market would dive steeply as it did following the closure of Silk Road in October were the most likely causes of concern, though others disagreed that the event could inspire market movements.
Some community members blamed the escalating bad news from the industry.
Over the last week, bitcoin has seen its most high-profile exchanges experience service issues due to DDoS attacks, a potential major market outlaw the currency and the state of its once-largest exchange Mt. Gox deteriorate, even as it tried to calm users.
Major exchanges see declines
Thursday saw faith in Mt. Gox decline, as prices dropped more than 30% below those observed on other exchanges. The decrease in price suggests that CEO Mark Karpeles’ statements to the press have done little to encourage users to keep investing in the exchange.
Data from Bitcoin Charts shows the price reached a low of $451.10 on 13th February, a figure that was less than its 18th December low of $455, when prices nosedived on the news that China, the market then responsible for driving bitcoin price growth, would be severely limited by regulation.
At press time, prices were down across major bitcoin exchanges such as Bitstamp, BTC-e and Mt. Gox, though none saw the same lows as Mt. Gox.
BTC-e’s low of $580.10 remained $160 higher than its 18th December low of $420.
Similarly, Bitstamp declined, but observed the highest total among the exchanges – $601.54, nearly double its post-China low of $382.20.
Speculation as to a central cause of the decline was rampant, though, any one conclusion proved elusive. Rather, the wide variety of negative stories, coupled with the range of reporting may provide the best explanation for why even bitcoin enthusiasts converted BTC for fiat.
For example, TechCrunch reported that as much as 88,000 BTC had been stolen from Silk Road 2, before amending this figure to over 4,000:
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) February 13, 2014
Though, it was far from the only source to report varying estimates of the total loss. For example, Forbes suggested that between 41,000 and 88,000 BTC had been initially stolen.
The result was that an increasing number of reddit threads seemed dedicated simply to finding the positive news in light of these recent setbacks.
These commenters chose instead to chose on how many investors are still excited about the bitcoin ecosystem despite its price fluctuations, and that interest in bitcoin continues to rise despite the recent string of negative news.
What’s your biggest takeaway from the day’s events? Weigh in below.